Still life, Castlefield


The car window smashed, the briefcase (leather, old-style) taken, the wallet emptied. And now these fragments of a life are scattered on the damp grass by the canal.

A Bible in Portuguese: O Senhor é o meu pastor; nada me faltará.
A spray of breath freshener: He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.
An empty wallet: He leadeth me beside the still waters.
An album of family photos: A Refrigera a minha alma.
A tax demand: Guia-me nas veredas da justiça por amor do seu nome.
A hospital appointment letter: Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.
A notebook of Bible passages: For thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
A calculator: Preparas uma mesa perante mim na presença dos meus inimigos.
A booklet of tickets: Unges com óleo a minha cabeça, o meu cálice transborda.
A red cloth pouch: Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.
Religious pamphlets, also in Portuguese: And I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

I gather them up, these unfoolish things, and put them back in the briefcase. The pamphlets and some of the pages of the Bible are sodden. I find a business card and call the number on it. I explain how I found them, where I found them, and I tell him the wallet was empty. I want him to know that I am not a repentant thief but a restorer of goods. I trust in his faith and the parable of the Good Samaritan. I think he believes me.