A walk with Lád’a 

it was Christmas night in Prague. Lád’a was sitting all alone seeing the crowd passing by in the main square. I approached him and asked whether he was fancy for a walk. He agreed. I asked him how he ended up homeless. He told me after his wife passed away, everything went down.

having a walk with a homeless was always what I wanted to do. Don’t get me wrong, I merely think that having a pure conversation where people aren’t overly focused on mannerisms is quite rare nowadays. I asked L whether he had eaten anything, and he said he had some cakes in the morning. We went to a Vietnamese restaurant, but it was closed. I took him to a McDonald’s nearby. I told him to sit and wait while I was ordering. 3 minutes later, as I was struggling with the order machine, L walked out and said “They don’t like having me here, they stare at me. I smell bad”. I tried to convince him “Everyone is equal here. Please go back inside, it’s not a big deal”. Since L was still trying to show me that “He doesn’t belong to a fancy place”, I said, “So perhaps I will order and we could find somewhere outside?”, and he was totally in for that.

I took the order and we went to find a public space to eat. There was a big and beautifully sparkling Christmas tree out of nowhere. We sat down, we picked up our cokes, and we cheered. I asked L whether he could write me some words of wisdom since he is 20 years older than me. I know that he’s been through a lot, and perhaps he has a lot to tell a youngster. He gave me 2 pages of texts. We spent Christmas night together on the street having a fried chicken feast. The language barrier was there. The sparkling lights from the Christmas tree were beautiful. Ah yes, the stare from strangers again, but who cares?

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This photo is Copyright by Vinh Tran. All rights reserved.