The first time I went to see D at the graveyard, a thin drawn face full of the lines of a tough life came towards me. It was heartbreaking to see him dissolve into tears as he saw me approaching. I remembered back to a young, cheeky chap full of life who seemed to almost live at our house. My parents loved him, especially my dad who exchanged lots of jokes and ‘banter’. Many a tournament on our mini snooker table was had. My brother taught him to play guitar, and few will have picked it up so quickly. Before long he was writing his own songs which I still remember now.
He was always telling us stories that seemed too far fetched to believe.. Some were true, some were not. The one in which he saved a drowning person from the sea proved true when we read about it in the paper. He received a bravery award for that. The one where he was marrying an older woman was also true. We attended a very unusual wedding reception. The marriage lasted two weeks.
My brother and D used to play the occasional gig in a run down pub. I enjoyed watching. I remember his alcoholic father turning up at one of these gigs and yelling out a lot. You see, D was from a difficult background. His mum was abusive and uncaring, dad alcoholic.. And I now know he was being abused by a neighbour. Our house was his escape, and we were delighted to have his company.
At some point D introduced my bro to another guitar playing, song writing friend. My brother hit it off with him (B) and as time went on, a disagreement between D and B meant my brother had to choose between them and B was chosen. He and D drifted apart.. D became a life guard but at about that time was also becoming addicted to heroin.
A combination of his girlfriend and sister introduced him to this delightful life destroying habit. I might add that his sister is now dead as a result.
I can’t speak of what has happened in the interim years.. I wasn’t in his life other than some contact on Facebook. But I know he completed rehab and got clean. I bought him a guitar a few years ago as I could see he was struggling and I wanted to reignite his gift of songwriting. He was delighted, but he doesn’t have that guitar now.
I was in Malta when I saw on fb that he was homeless. I contacted him straight away and arranged to go and see him as soon as I got back to the UK. He told me he had gone on prescription methadone because he was afraid he would relapse.
So, I arrived at the graveyard in which his tent was hidden. His beautiful dog S was the first to greet me.. And then I saw D standing there dissolving into tears at the sight of me. All I could do was hug him. That was all I could do.
I took him to meet my brother for a drink and then home for a shower and to catch up with my parents. I bought him food and then had to take him back to his graveyard. It broke my heart to leave them there. But my parents were not happy to have him staying in our house at such a difficult time.. And they were sure that if he stayed one night he would want to stay more and more. My decision would have been different, but it’s not my house.
There are a few things I find incredible about his situation.
1. He ended up in a graveyard out of town from just walking and hoping to find somewhere to hide his tent. By incredible chance, a friend from his old aikido classes lives directly across the road, a stones throw from his tent. So he has been able to pop in and get support from her.
2. His tent was visible from the path, but he was not asked to move.
3. He happened to meet the lady who lives in the cottage at the edge of the graveyard, and she has let him move his tent into her garden and use her shed with electrics.
I feel like someone is watching over him. He says his faith in humanity has been restored.
I’ve visited him a number of times, and I’ve been trying hard to help him raise funds and fund a room to rent. We went to see a room last night which he loved.. But we have to wait to hear. Fingers crossed please..