A beautiful piece written by Ellen Best, I normally don’t share posts unless I find them deep, moving and exceptional. So this was a must share whereby I am sharing her beautifully written piece and image. You can find the original post by her on Ellen Best.
A fancy dress parade was to follow the carnival. The Carnival comprised of floats and majorettes, brass bands, boy scouts, tumble tots and brownies not forgetting the women’s institute and the natty knitters. The music blared from speakers followed by dancing dwarves; who were following snow white on her bed. The shop doorways lined with stalls, mulled wine, hot soup, cards, gifts and all manner of cakes and crafts for sale.
They paraded through the town twice, full of fun and revelry. The floats were to be judged and prizes given, collections for the hospice and the homeless had been going on several days before, and at the event. The parade culminated in the turning on of the Christmas lights; by some vacant reality television star that no one remembered.
As a watcher, I stood out, not dressed fancy or otherwise, in fact, all the clothes I owned were on my person. I hoped as one of the aforementioned recipients of the collections I would be given a few bits… to ease my bones in the late Autumnal weather, knowing it was only going to get colder and harder sleeping rough…
I thought of the cost of all the lights, music and costumes, I weighed up the fuel spent and calculated how much the prizes would be. In a previous time, I was a numbers man, a number cruncher and balancer of books. I wandered through the park where finally the tractors rested their wheels and the children were reunited with parents and teachers. Backs were slapped, kisses freely given and received. Many prizes were happily accepted and some tears were shed in tiredness. Pride shone from the faces of people in fluorescent tabards who were clutching stuffed buckets of dosh.
I bent down and picked up a leaf, I twirled it in between frozen fingers, a beautiful Sycamore leaf as big as a tea plate. The leaf was golden and rust, as if kissed by the turn of autumn its last disguise , before withering away. From my spot, I watched as a photographer took snaps of all, he could see and a journalist took notes… then they spied me. I lifted the leaf to my face so to hide, as a voice asked “Excuse me can I take a shot… what have you come as”? I stayed still my identity hidden from all but me. “Me,” I said,” I have come as autumn”. A look of confusion crossed his brow, he took the shot and slowly walked away. The girl tapped her pad with a chewed pencil she slowly nodded my way. Disappearing into the crowd, glancing back once or twice as she went until finally, though I knew she was there somewhere, she was lost, like me, anonymous, unseen.
I wasn’t given the soup or mulled wine, I was scowled at when I asked for a sleeping bag or a scarf. In fact, I was not looked in the eye by anyone… I wondered what people thought their money would do, how much it would help a man like me, down on his luck, shabby and cold wearing a disguise like autumn.
By Ellen Best