Ok, I have a friend, right…. Charlie… When I hear a metal trolley wheeling its way down my street, I instinctively look over to check if it is Charlie passing through my ‘hood!
The first time I made Charlie some fried beans and eggs and toast and a mug of Ricoffy, he told me, “God bless you, God bless, God bless you.”
I said something to the effect of “Sorry, man, Charlie, but I’m not sure about God right now. It’s a weird time.”
“Oh, so you’re one of those atheists?”
“I’m not sure. Let’s just say for now I believe in love.”
“Sure thing, man.”
He’s never told me God will bless me again.
And he only ever asks after my day.
When he visits, I usually whip up whatever I have on the ready… and generally try and keep a tin of butter beans and some organic eggs for a fry-up in my larder. Just in case Charlie wheels by.
I’ve also asked frequently if we could arrange for an interview. But he’s a worldly man and his travels take him places in his day, so I never know when to expect him. Most days, beyond making him some chow and a warm cuppa (or a cool drink of Oros during our dry spells!), I’m usually frantically working on deadlines and wish I had more time for him.
But the last time I saw him, I thought, fine. No interview. I know what I need to of this beautiful human being and I know what I want you, my readers, to know… I know this because on his last visit, he gave me one final lesson on Charlie.
I heard his metal trolley. He called up to me. It had been a rough night and I was crying over my morning cup of coffee. I tried to put on a brave face for Charlie, but when he asked how I was, well, you know how it goes…. My face just crumpled there and then.
“No, no, it’s fine, ma’am. See you another day.”
Pull yourself towards yourself, Jocelyn.
“I’ll bring you coffee and some fruit and toast now now, Charlie. Just hang ten. I’m coming…”
After he’d eaten, he had the following to say before he left.
“You’re going to be okay. Just don’t do anything stupid. I want to see you again.”
I promised I wouldn’t.
So here are the three things you need to know of Charlie:
1. Charlie is whipsmart.
2. Charlie has never asked a thing of me.
3. Charlie cares about me.