He was standing against the wall crying his eyes out. He was a man in his mid forties, and something was clearly terribly wrong.
It was about 9.30pm, and there was nobody else nearby.
I kept walking.
I stopped at the junction just up ahead and swithered for a long time. Should I go back, and see what was wrong? Should I rush home (not far) and find Beloved Other and see if between us we might be able to ask what was wrong. Should I just keep going and go home and worry.
I chose the latter.
I don’t know, yet, what was right.
The wider context is that just a few days ago, I was headbutted, and Patient Colleague was punched by somebody who had come into the church (not, I hasten to add a member!) and was very angry with us. And I must immediately say that we are both fine. Sadly, police had to be involved, but they are being great, and the person involved has not been back.
But although physically I am fine, and I thought that in all other ways I was fine, that non-encounter has made it abundantly obvious that I am not; it’s not that I used to find it easy to approach people I don’t know in the street. But at the moment, it is not even an option – not even in the midst of great distress. Actually, espcially in times of great distress, since that is the time somebody is particularly volatile, and that’s what I am wary of.
I am still worried about that man.
But I know, at the moment, there is nothing else I could have done.
I hope this situation doesn’t last too long.