The door bell never rings when everyone is home.
So when it interrupted the insistence of percussive rain on colour bond awnings, and grass that was aching, and fruit trees that were singing, the humans in this house, cocooned off from the world raised their antennas.
I walked to the door to be met by the army of curious children that make my progeny. ‘Who is it dad?’ they asked as I reached for the keys to unlock the security screen.
There, was a man in a rain jacket, holding a folder.
My defences went up, my defences are always up but they went up another notch. I braced into fighting stance subtly, I reached into my pocket and clicked the top of a pen so the tip was out, clutched it firmly in one hand so it could be like a shank if needs be. I unlocked the door and opened it. You can’t be too sure in this day and age of scammers and thieves and I was already eyeing the targets I would strike before he could flinch, making sure I was in an advantageous position.
He greeted me and introduced himself. Andrew was his name and he was trying to sell me something. Usually, I am blunt and straight to the point with door to door knockers. But Andrew was different. He reminded me of another Andy I knew, in facial features, complexion, voice and as mentioned, even the name.
I was overcome with a sense of familiarity and my guard came down slightly as my heart softened to his circumstance.
Here was a broken man, a father, a man at his wits ends trying to make a buck and support his family. Was he the owner of the business he was trying to introduce, nah, it didn’t fit, he spoke with too much detachment from it for it to be his. He was definitely a man trying hard. A man busting his balls to provide. He seemed intelligent, just a stroke of bad luck perhaps. Perhaps laid off a job he knew for too long for him to know anything else and had answered a local paper advertisement promising superior commissions and hopes of making thousands of dollars – with full training provided.
He was selling solar power panels, which piqued my interest somewhat whilst at the same time the cautious side of me reminding me to not give too much away and to research before giving my personal information out.
Still, the transaction only interested me from the standpoint of poetic interaction.
I was psychoanalysing him in his every gesture, tone, body language, and sentences, but his heavy shoulders and tired voice were the most appealing to me.
I could smell a days work on him. He was exhausted and it showed in the folder he had opened with notes scribbled on there on scattered pieces of paper, with pamphlets stacked underneath. As he reached for one, I noticed he had a tally sheet in the traditional four straight lines with a stroke across them to mark the fifth. He had about 20 or more of those scribbled down. Was that all today’s work, or was it for the week?
I asked him to give me a contact number. I didn’t want to break him more with rejection, but perhaps leave a little hope that he was achieving some kind of milestone. I’ve tasted the bitterness of rejection, I’ve wallowed in the brokenness of wondering where the next dollar was going to come from to feed my children, to keep the electricity on, to put fuel in my car.
All I hope now is I can look up this company he supposedly represents and they are legitimate, and I can help Andrew make a dollar, or two and not have to worry for at least one week about food, electricity or fuel. To be able to go home and hold his children with conviction.