The bench

© Wendy Marijnissen - Walter sleeping in the park

Last sunday as I was going over to my friends place, I walked through the city park and came across Walter.

He intrigued me because he was laying so peacefully on the bench resting on his bottle of water, hat covering his face against the bright sun. Soaking up the beams as to warm up his body, totally at ease and relaxed. I felt horrible to disturb him, but felt I needed to ask his permission to take his photograph, which I did.  After taking his picture, he sat up and told me his heartbreaking story.

Just after Easter he became homeless and was now waiting do die…This statement shocked me big time, and I asked him why he was so willing to say goodbye to life and how come he was seemingly still enjoying this moment in the sunshine.

He told me he used to be a guitarist but now because of his arm he was not able to make music anymore. His brother was also a musician and after his brother’s death some years back, he wanted to know what his brother must have felt and so he started to experiment with near-death experiences.  Slowly step by step going further into this process coming to a moment that he was ready to die. His landlady stopped this, called the police and he was taken to a mental hospital where after a few weeks of treatment he was put out on the street. In the meantime having lost his home and all his possessions. He now mainly sleeps in the park. He told me stories of how this world of the park changes from day to night, it not being a place to hang around in after sun set as it is taken over by drug users prostitutes and homeless people, while during the day people jog, families play on the grass and young couples make out on then benches.

 

2 thoughts on “The bench

  1. That’s a heartbreaking story. Thanks for sharing🙂

  2. This is a sad story, but I can relate to it on some level because I’m homeless too. However, my situation is different. The photography almost shows the subject is in a world of contentment

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