street life

lost girl

lost girl
Written by Cathoel Jorss,

Last night a lost soul brushed past me on the street and I could feel the black, sucking wind. She was very beautiful, extremely young, just-enormous eyes. Bare feet and ankles swollen like stumps. Bruises. Old bruises. She was leaving the curb as I reached it to cross the street, making a decision, counting out some kind of breath or strange fairytale with soft beats of her hand on the air. She crossed halfway and came back. Same again. Described a formal square on the asphalt with sober steps, watching her own feet, slightly smiling. In the middle she balanced herself on the white lines and turned to open her arms at the approaching traffic imploringly. I said, We have to help that girl. She cannot have heard me but her gaze focussed on me vaguely, like air. She came back over the road and put herself beside me, very close, her head yearning towards this source of passing kindness with a tilting raise of the chin. I stood beside her. I said, Kommst du mit uns? and invited her to cross the street. Now it was safe. The traffic gathered at a distance, thrumming bulls. She was so surrounded by the sense of imminent threat, or so it seemed to me, it was like she was towing a thunderstorm on a kite string.

She looked into my eyes like a dog. A slow blink. “Alles ok?” I said. “No,” she said, very quietly, in English, very distinctly. I said, “Do you need help?” She sort of spread her hands on the air, two floating castles. Helplessness, helplessness: mine, hers, ours. A young girl like a flower, a roaring jungle infected with needles, coins, tricks. We crossed the road without her, her attention dissolved from me as love dissolves. I looked back and two friends had surrounded her, they carried her back in their intent to the side of the road. She was reasoning with them. In the park one of the African dealers caught my eye and I smiled and he smiled. Then he looked self-conscious, shy. “Are you laughing at me?” “No!” I said. “I’m smiling at you, because you’re beautiful.” He walked on a couple of paces alongside. “That,” he said, thoughtfully, “is a really nice thing.” The girl in my mind made a feint at the traffic from the roadside again, describing circles and air squares all paved in asphalt, more than a dog but less than her altered self, a welter of physical injuries, little fiend no doubt who would steal and shame and was lost in helplessness, waiting for her accident, a ghost already.

9 comments on “lost girl

  1. This morning I remembered this beautiful wastrel from Berlin, and wondered what has become of her.

    Cathoel Jorss July 11, 2014 at 11:17 am
  2. Oh Cathoel, your words bring tears to my eyes….. It’s good that there are many of us who work to effect positive influence on nature and sentience around us….. But sometimes it can seem our capacity to influence in a world of crisis pain and cruelty is soon behind what we might wish….

    Mark July 11, 2014 at 11:32 am
  3. It’s overwhelming some days, isn’t it, Mark? It may have been completely my own projection but this girl seemed to me frail and almost hung round with ghosts. Who’s going to be most attracted to a young woman alone in a big city, helpless with junk? My guess would be: exploitative people.

    Cathoel Jorss July 11, 2014 at 5:55 pm
  4. Wonderful Stories and great insight, Love from Oz… Berlin is on my list of places to visit… Seamus D

    Seamus Duffy March 30, 2017 at 10:52 pm
  5. Berlin needs to give you bouquets, Cathoel

    Alison Lambert April 6, 2017 at 1:43 am
  6. After a gruelling time trying to get the Ausländerbehörde to let me stay on a few precious more months, my eyes filled with tears at this beautiful thought. Thanks, Alison

    Cathoel Jorss April 13, 2017 at 8:40 am

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *