After taking an expensive taxi to the Atlanta Bus Station, I walked inside to the Kiosk to print out my ticket. The machine wasn’t working properly, so I went to the desk. The sweet customer service printed off my ticket and made sure which gate I knew to get in. I went to sit down in the waiting area. I had five hours until my bus left.
I sat down next to this guy who appeared to be sleeping. I don’t know if he was, but it didn’t look like he had much. After a bit, he sat up, and I noticed he had tattoos on his face. One of chain links on his head, I didn’t understand. Even though I have tattoos, and love them, I don’t think I could manage it on my face.
When he sat up, he smiled at me, so I smiled back. Then, I asked him where he was going, he said Arizona. I was pleased, I used to live there, and told him I did. He asked about Arizona, and that’s when I found out about him. See, this man was a circus performer. Yep, sure was. It seems he started when he was seven.
By my guesstimation, he was probably late forties or early fifties. And, he said he got cancer in his insides, and needed to recuperate. He also told me he was homeless and didn’t want to go to a homeless shelter. After my experience, I understood completely. He explained he had money, but didn’t have an id.
I knew of at least one organization in Arizona that helped people, and I wrote down the name of it. Since my computer didn’t seem to want to work, there wasn’t any way for me to look up information. He thanked me for my help, and asked if I wanted to get lunch. I figured I might as well, this man was animated in a way I enjoy. He was full of life when he spoke, and I was enjoying our conversation.
See, this man told me that most people don’t talk with him, and he was grateful that I reached out to him. He told me had money, just no id, and didn’t think he could get a hotel room. He had an id from a homeless shelter he showed me, and he offered to buy me lunch. This man carried one of my bags, while we walked down the street from the Greyhound Station to a little Caribbean Restaurant down the street.
We both stuck out like sore thumbs with our tattoos, but everyone was very sweet to us. The food was excellent, and this man and I got to talk for a while. It turned out that his father trained him in acrobatics from a small age, and someone came to his parents house and saw him perform. From there, this man joined the circus.
We talked some more, and ate our lunch. He paid, I didn’t order much, I wasn’t all that hungry in the heat. I just enjoyed the company. He carried my bag back to the Greyhound station and we sat down. At this point, by some miracle, my computer started working okay. So, I looked up a few organizations in Arizona, and wrote them down on a piece of paper for him.
Then, while I was at it, I looked up a few casting agencies. See, this man told me he had been in a couple of movies dressed up as a clown. I happen to believe him because there was nothing in his behavior to indicate he was lying. He practiced balancing acts, and showed off some of his “skills” in the bus station. I saw him, it was impressive given my lack of grace.
We talked some more, and then some guy walked up to him. They spoke for a while, and this circus performer reached into his wallet and gave the man money. He came back after talking with this guy, and told me the guy needed more money for a bus ticket and had a baby. I was impressed, fully, with this circus performers attitude towards life. When he came back, we talked of God, we talked of life, and we talked of his plight.
He talked of sleeping in the streets, and had nothing more than a shopping bag with some clothes in it. He talked of being rousted by police, and not in an angry way. He understood why they were rousting him, he was just tired and wanted to sleep though. He had money, that was for sure. He could have gotten a hotel if he had id.
It’s difficult to get id when you’re homeless, shoot my id is expired. And, trust that it’s been a hassle to get one. I have a place to live, but the documents I needed down here? I didn’t have them all. I actually just got my birth certificate the last time I was in Michigan. I have a home for them to send me my id, this guy had none.
Sure the homeless shelters will help you, but you have to put up with a lot in homeless shelters. And, as a person with a mental illness, being around that many frustrated people at the same time is heart wrenching. Not to mention, you have to worry about people possibly stealing your things. It’s not like they give you lockers to lock up your personal belongings. Anything of value? You have to guard with your life, even when you’re sleeping.
I hugged this circus performer good bye when we parted. He was a good guy who was chivalrous, and caring. I hope he finds his way in Arizona, he was very good to me in the bus station in Atlanta and I’ll never forget his name or face. Thank you, Mr Clown, you were my hero that day.
The day was July 19, 2016
Thank you for reading
I’m a NonBinary “Cat Person” Who Puts Humanity/Animals/EcoSystem First. In the past, I’ve worked with those with Developmental Disabilities and Autism. And, in many different Service Industries.
Though I have no degree, I’ve been writing my whole life as a way to cope with PTSD from the Traumas I suffered as a Young Person.
I’m Fifty One, Divorced Three Times, Lost Both My Parents By the Time I Was 21.
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter – @Enigma51423634
YouTube – deblynrob
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