I haven't been posting anything new in a while. I'm sorry, but this time I actually have a somewhat legit reason for not being able to write.
When I was walking through the forest the other day on a path that I rarely follow, I met this shabby looking man in a wheelchair (this was before it began to snow. Thankfully, the snow's melting right now). A forest doesn't really seem like the ideal place for someone in a wheelchair to be in what with how it's so difficult to move when there's branches and stuff in the way, but this path is pretty clean and it lies close to a few houses. But I still thought it was odd to see the man in this environment and wanted to ask him about it, though being a little shy I almost walked past him without doing so but he then took the initiative and began to talk with me before I had the chance to flee.
He wondered if I came here often, he said that he didn't see many youngsters out and about (it's true, there's not many children/young people in these parts) these days. I told him that I recently began taking strolls in the forest now and then, he nodded, and proceeded to tell me that he was a birdwatcher. I'm sure he could see the flame in my eyes which he had sparked with this statement and I began to tell him that I was interested in bird watching too - I told him that I had a friend in the Americas who was the one responsible for making me interested in birds, but that I'd never really done any serious attempt at bird watching, which is true. I've only managed to take a few pictures so far and I haven't come across any interesting birds on my walks.
The man, who told me his name was Andreas, then began to talk about his past. Five years ago he was in an accident which made him paralysed from the waist down. He used to be quite the healthy man, jogging and working out regularly together with a group of friends whenever he didn't go bird watching, but when he became confined to his wheelchair he abruptly stopped with all those exercises. It wasn't like he would be unable to train because he had been deemed unable to use his legs, but he lost all his will to do anything with the rest of his body. The only thing that was fun was bird watching. He could still birdwatch, even if things were now somewhat more difficult. I then realised that the reason as to why he looked shabby wasn't because he was a shady figure, what I saw in front of me was the remains of a man that used to be what most people strive for. It's not like he wasn't clean, but he didn't seem to care much about his exterior at all; his hair was long, he had some stubble and his clothes were neither torn nor dirty, but they looked old. He dressed in what was comfortable rather in what he thought made him look good (though what do I know, maybe he thought his clothes were nice looking, but I got the impression that he didn't care about such trifles). I would never have guessed that he was 30 years old. I'm no good at determining people's ages but he looked like he was at least in his middle forties.
Immediately after the accident he stopped hanging out with the friends he used to work out with simply because they forgot about him. Andreas didn't seem to blame them, he actually defended them when I implied that it was mean of them to break all contact with him. He explained it as their relationships had disappeared, and this because they had no means of which they could see each other regularly. Yes, they could've met outside the gym but they wouldn't have much to talk about except for training, and seeing as he didn't have any motivation when it came to that anymore it would've just been boring for him. They had just been friends inside the gym, nothing more, nothing less. He's still seeing his bird watching friends though but nowadays he spends most of his time inside, reading about birds or watching shows about them or anything else he can do in order to kill time. I thought that sounded like a boring kind of life, without having any true friends to come visit you and not having much else to do... but then it hit me that I don't really have any friends to hang out with or all that many interests, either.
Well, he asked me if I wanted to join the bird watching club since anyone can join, no matter what age you are or what experience you have. I said that it would be fun and asked him about the details, I also gave him my e-mail so we could have some contact and he would tell me when they were going to meet next time since they had yet to decide a new date. So when the time comes I'm going to go to meet up with him at his house, which location he pointed out between the trees.
I told my parents about this and they're still a bit angry at me - it's funny, their mood can change to indifference to anger in the blink of an eye, this time they were rather indifferent. My mother said I should be careful, I didn't know who this guy was. I replied that I doubted he would do anything to me, and even if he did try anything I don't think he would have much of a chance since I could easily outrun him. I know one shouldn't look down on people (... figuratively speaking) in wheelchairs, or anyone else that's "handicapped", because they can be just as nice or evil as those who deem themselves normal. I think they both seemed fairly happy that I was actually socialising with someone, but it's difficult to tell when someone's eyebrows are always gathered into a frown.
Man, this became longer than I expected.