It's been a while...
In a Christian hostel in Amsterdam, rather outside on the street in front of it, stark and wet grey dawns come and go... my hands, sheathed in red rubber, pick up trash, cigarette butts and chewed-up chicken wings from the cold brick, depositing into the black garbage bag.. my eyes scan the ground for gum, receipts, spliff filters, discarded cans and bottles..
i work with a mother and son from Hungary, but i dont know work the way that they know work... although we all work to survive.. they work to exist
they have no home to return to
Tomas, as we smoked Golden Gate cigarettes in the small courtyard, explained that he had some other prospects coming up
"On twenty-nine, i try for work at.. Burger King?" strong features, clear eyes that spoke dignity and lucid hardship, caught between memory and the approaching future..
"My father, says be send money. But no money." He took a drag and looked up at the rooftops and trees.
The topic changes. "You like action movie? Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Dolph Lundgren, Stallone?"
"Yes, I like them very much. Good movies." I forgot to say that i started talking to Tomas because he was whistling the Terminator 2 theme as he worked down the hall from me. I was elated.
"You like rock music? Scorpions, Guns and Roses, Pink Floyd?"
"Yeah man, awesome rock music. Very cool."
He looked up to the rooftops, clear, vigilant. "Yes. Rock music."
He suddenly turned to me with a need to communicate in his eyes:
"Them, the girl... they are... Prisoner of God!" His eyes strained to explain to me, but i understood.
"Ha ha. Yes, prisoners of God. It is very strange." I smiled.
He laughed heartily. "I believe in mother, father... for them, father is God!" He threw up his hands, uncomprehending.
How could you love an abstract concept more than your family? I could relate to his confusion.
4 days earlier, I had checked out of Bob's Youth Hostel in the heart of Amsterdam's red light district.
I ate the egg and bread breakfast, savored the tea. And asked a question of the New Zealander manning the desk.
"If you had to spend a few nights on the streets, where would you do it?"
He eyed me. "You are out of money?"
"Yeah. 4 days til my flight home. Any ideas?"
"Well, if teh weather was good I would say just make it to the westerpark, but its gonna be shit rain for days mate. Might try this homeless shelter." He marked it on a tourist map.
* * *
to be continued... so many tales to tell