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Illustration: Jim Boraas


"Night Walkers” by Darian Kovacs
Illustration: Jim Boraas

I had an interesting night. I walked my friend to the bus stop after dinner and met a guy named Billy who had this amazingly large shopping cart. The cart was full of clothes, cans, boxes of tape rolls; it even had a mountain bike attached to the side held by yellow fraying rope. As we waited at the bus stop for the bus to come, Billy was behind us chatting it up with people. I only assumed he'd be asking for change. I was wrong. He was actually offering people change.  He then came up to my friend and I and offered us change. He was so friendly and open. Who knows what type of magic he was riding, or maybe that was just his personality. My friend declined the offer for change but Billy insisted. He ended up jumping up in the bus and paying for the ride.

So my friend left and I stayed with Billy watching and then helping him give away change. People responded just as if he was asking for change. I think they just assumed he was asking, not giving. It was the funniest thing offering people change and them giving such curt responses or else bizarre looks if they actually caught what was being said.

We walked down Granville Street together offering change and I watched him pick up cigarette butts and put them in a cup in his cart, put garbage away in the garbage cans, search every garbage for cans or bottles that people had neglected to recycle. The most impressive part was when he found someone's wallet in the garbage (already empty of cash). He proceeded to wrap up the cards in clear tape with the driver's license on the front. He dropped it in a Canada Post bin so Canada Post would deliver it all to the address on the driver's license. This was some girl’s birth certificate, driver's license, gift cards, care card...I mean, c'mon....shit, look at what he found! It was amazing. He said he finds these often, often lost or people are robbed and the thief leaves the remains to be found or lost forever.

The interesting thing with the wallet was that it was full of mould. Billy didn't like mould. He had me take an old McDonalds cup full of melted ice and fountain pop and pour it over his hands while he furiously rubbed them together to ensure their cleanliness. He told me mould can kill you.

I really should have taken photos or videos of this night...but oh well...memories.

We kept walking and he proceeded to sweep the streets for resources and kept the streets proper and clean. All night long, walking. Cleaning. Searching. Laughing. Talking. Offering change. If someone was sitting down on the curb asking for change, he was the first to give it.

I thought, "Am I just lonely? Do I just not want to go back to where I'm staying and be alone?"

No.

I really felt connected with Billy.
I wanted to be with him.
He reminded me of me.
Of who I really am.
All his possessions sat in a cart.
He reminded me of a simpler life.
Reminded me of how important everyone is. How his work and life are so valuable and beautiful in the scheme of things.

I could simply be with him. He made me feel at home.

 

 
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