A few days ago, I went out for a walk with three of the youth from our Crisis Program. It was an interesting group. One of the girls brought her longboard with her and used long stretches of quiet road as an opportunity to get some practice riding it. She was getting pretty good. Another one of the youth kept rather quiet, but I was still happy to have him with us. He rarely comes out of his room, and this was his first walk with us since the COVID-19 precautions came into effect. The third youth had just finished a 14-day quarantine, and as such, was so bubbly and happy to be outside on such a beautiful day.
We made our way across Pacific Street towards the park, and a young man was walking towards us in the other direction. We made eye contact. He looked vaguely familiar – but I couldn’t quite figure out why. As we walked past each other, he smiled, and only after getting to the other side of the road did I finally make the connection.
He used to stay at Covenant House Vancouver, but had left years ago now. I remember him well! He was an amazing young person and very creative. One night, during storytime, he asked that instead of reading from one of our books like normal, if I could read a story he had written. I nodded and he quickly ran off to his room to grab a notebook. He handed it to me, and everyone sat down, got comfortable, and prepared to listen. His story was really well written, but also absolutely terrifying! I remember it well, because that night it gave me nightmares. Even now, thinking about it, it still gives me chills – like something from Edgar Allen Poe or H.P. Lovecraft. What a great story.
I know that during his stay with us, that young man struggled with mental health. After he left, I would often wonder how he was doing. So, it was really nice to see him during this walk, even for a brief moment. He looks like he’s doing well.
We got to the beach in time to enjoy an incredible sunset. For about 15 minutes, we stayed there in silence, some of us sitting quietly on the sand and others walking peacefully along the water’s edge. It started to get dark, so we decided it was time to head back home.
As we were walking under the Granville Bridge, one of the youth pointed upwards at a huge chandelier hanging underneath the overpass. She said that, apparently, the chandelier lights up at 9pm every night. It was only a few minutes ‘til 9, and none of us had seen the chandelier lit up before, so we decided to wait around to see it in action. At 9pm sharp, the chandelier dropped down, and slowly began to twirl – it’s warm lights glowing softly as it spun. It was such a beautiful sight! Before we knew it, we had been there watching it for 10 minutes. We were so entranced that we lost track of time.
We made our way back to the shelter, washed our hands, and went back upstairs. It was quite a lovely evening.