The kindness of strangers

strangers who became friends in Hout Bay
(click on the picture to enlarge it)

There’s a quotation in A Streetcar Named Desire, the play and film based on the play by Tennessee Williams I’ve often related to : "I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers", says Blanche Dubois, Stella’s sister in a tragic scene as she is being taken to a mental asylum. I don’t know if there’s a hospital waiting for me when I get back to France –or a psychiatrist for that matter. But I intend to have a specialist’s insight on my disappearance. Yes, I have already written about it, but I really think this disappearance is the closest thing there is to suicidal. Anyway, in this personal journey, I’ve met wonderful people who have been very kind to me. I might at times have seemed to self-indulge in depression. I left France being depressed, I don’t see how that depression could have vanished. I am sorry, Lezanne –if you ever read this– but I still disagree with you, depression doesn’t go away because you decide to get up and do something with your day. Sometimes it is beyond understanding, logic or willingness. However, your countless efforts to lift me up, to make me meet your friends, have made me more optimistic on human generosity. And should your French become better or worse when I leave this country, I will be the only person to blame.

It is amazing how quickly strangers become friends. Jonathan didn’t ask me a thing on the reasons why I was in such a despairing state – no matter how hard I tried to hide it, he knew I needed kindness. I have met his mum and dad, his friends too. They proved me that South-Africans can be warm and welcoming and… more concerned about my welfare than their wardrobe : proof is the two pairs of jeans Jonathan gave me.

Oh no! I didn’t ask anyone for charity! It’s just that I can’t tell I’m a regular visitor when I’m not. I can’t tell I’m just hanging around, enjoying the wonders of South-Africa when I’m on a recovery journey.

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1 comment:

subrosa said...

Bonsoir. There was a film made in 1987 with Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins called 84 Charing Cross Road.

It involved a London bookshop and over an arch within was written 'Be kind to strangers less they be angels in disguise'.

Your post reminded me of it. Good film it was too.