Wentworthville is an interesting suburb. Some people love it, some people hate it and most people don’t even know it exists.
When I was younger I used to ride my bike through its many streets, venturing out to Toongabbie creek which never really looked that pleasant. I used to count the amount of trolleys embedded in the mud and try to locate the fish beneath the brown, sometimes black water. In saying that, there were endless fields of exuberant greenery and forests that harboured my attempts at building a cubby house (where the final result was always a chair stuck at an odd angle in the lowest and strongest fork of a tree).
One day when I was 10 or 11, I noticed an elderly man walking near the station – he was wearing a faded navy blue beanie which nearly covered his eyes, a tattered brown jacket, chino pants and frayed black boat shoes. He was Middle Eastern, visibly thin and carried around a satchel bag which sat comfortably on his left shoulder. At the time I didn’t feel like scootering on the road, so I followed the footpath and before I knew it, I was waiting patiently and awkwardly behind him. I noticed that he was highly focussed on the aesthetics of every house that he walked past. Being a curious kid, I rode my scooter at a speed of less than 2km/hr to see what he was up to. After a while, he paused beside a rose bush, reached over the fence, took a handful of roses and placed them gently in his satchel. From there, house by house, he continued to pick flowers and fill up his bag. Captivated, yet increasingly restless, I swerved off the path and took off.
When I got home, I couldn’t help but think about what I had just witnessed. I had two burning questions dancing around in my mind. Who was he? Why was he picking flowers?
Since then, I’ve seen the same man, dressed in the same attire, doing the same thing on at least 15 occasions...as recent as yesterday morning.
I’ll never know why he constantly fills his bag with flowers because I’ve realised that it’s better that way. It’s better to be uncertain. A few of my neighbours aren’t happy with him raiding their precious gardens, but I say let him keep going. Maybe he puts them around his own house and replaces them every week? Maybe he hands them to a loved one, or maintains them in memory of a loved one? Maybe he simply has an appreciation for the beautiful and ornate things in life?
In the end, the reason I’m blogging this experience is because it’s a poignant reminder of how our public world can be so different to our private world. People can judge the flower picker and write him off as a thief, or admire him for what he does – but the truth is, they don’t know who he is and what’s going on in his mind. I genuinely believe in the importance of humans not having two sides to their story. My hope is that if people are feeling broken on the inside...that they tell someone instead of wearing a face and putting on a smile. If emotions are suppressed and locked away, they can’t be dealt with and are much harder to overcome.
Quote Bank: “People function on the basis of their world view more consistently than even they themselves may realise. The problem is not outward things. The problem is having, and then acting upon, the right world view – the world view which gives men and women the truth of what is.” – Francis A. Schaeffer