Anakana Schofield – Author of Bina, Martin John and Malarky

Today when I walked to the garden my leg hurt so much that I had no idea what I would do if the gardener who helped me bring water yesterday was not there. Around the bend I spied him. Huge relief. Followed by intrepidation at the thought of how I’d have managed without that help.

There was also another guy there, a bit of a lost soul who’d wandered in. His odour suggested he’d been sleeping rough.  It became apparent he was experiencing pretty serious auditory hallucinations, but he found a bucket and began randomly hurling water on various parts of the land. Eventually he ventured near my plot, so I offered him some beans. He was eager, but then when he went to eat one he undertook a dissection on it. Some aspect of the plant disturbed him and he couldn’t eat it. He seemed harmless, but was plagued by noises or voices talking to him and I wanted to ask him about his situation, but decided against it because if he reacted poorly or aggressively I basically could not run away.

The other gardener returned with more water and we agreed I’d leave when he left.

As I hobbled home I tried to imagine how you’d get that young man to access the medical system or services. Who was he? Did he stand up from the breakfast table one day and just walk out from his family, take a bus from some town to the city? Did he stop taking medication? He was so disorientated, he struggled to understand conversation. He appeared hungry yet he couldn’t eat. He was kinda happy in the garden doing a bit of watering, but I am not sure he really knew where he was.

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