Self-Prescribed Truth Serum

The Daily Prompt of September 30th posed this challenge: You’ve come into possession of one vial of truth serum. Who would you give it to (with the person’s consent, of course) — and what questions would you ask?

I read a few posts in reply to the Daily Prompt and Estelea’s blog wrote the one, which I enjoyed the most. After that I didn’t feel like I had anything to say; I had already discussed ‘truth’ at length on another one of last week’s posts. I posted on another theme instead.

I changed my mind. Here is why.

This afternoon I had just crossed a street to go to the post office, when I saw an old woman trying to go to the opposite side, unsuccessfully.

She caught my full attention. She was dirty, dressing ragged and torn clothes and she looked so frail, hardly able to walk straight and find her direction as her spine had the curved shape of an arch, which forced her head to constantly face the floor.

Most people looked away from her except for another elderly woman and myself. I parked my bike and approached her, while hearing the elderly lady repeatedly tell me that she wished she could go there but she needed help herself.

I helped the ragged lady get to the other side of the street, and she suddenly asked me to bring her home, pointing to a street nearby. We walked very slowly while she explained the way. I was in doubt if she had a house or was delusional.

She tried to hold my hand and that disturbed me, as I saw her hands and long nails blackened by dirt. I kept holding her arm but had to surrender – for noticing her difficulties to walk – by lending an extra support and offering my hand as well.

I looked around for a police officer to help me bringing her to a shelter. None was in sight. A few minutes later we arrived at an apartment building. She asked me to open the door but while I helped her to reach the entry corridor, she thanked me and bid farewell, taking keys from a bag and making clear I should leave. I stayed a few seconds watching her to make sure she could reach her own door.

I walked back to my destination with mixed feelings; I wanted to wash my hands and felt ashamed for that. I felt sad and shocked to stumble upon an uncared for, handicapped, lonely, elderly lady, who seemed to have a half-dead, forgotten, existence.

I didn’t feel proud of myself for having landed a little help; this was too little and irrelevant. Coming back to my own world, instead of taking a lasting action to change her situation, would mean taking responsibility to help someone. Other than that, that was just a feel good moment.

That is the truth, without a serum…

People who go out of their way to help others, act like the remarkable woman that you may want to read about on another post I wrote some months ago.

Photo by Christopher Michel 17.02.14
Photo by Christopher Michel 17.02.14

Christopher Michel


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Sharing sights & insights captured with diverse angles. Ex-corporate, now my own boss. Cycling, hiking, cooking, reading, yoga, writing and photography, are no longer only hobbies listed on my resume. It's what I do when I want.

5 thoughts on “Self-Prescribed Truth Serum

  1. I can relate to what you are saying. Sometimes I have felt that hesitation before getting involved. At least the women had an apartment. I wonder if there is any social service agency around to help.


    1. Yes, here in Holland the elderly is well taken care of and the government offers plenty of support to them. When they cannot take care of themselves alone, they move to an elderly house were they are assisted by social workers. If they stay at home, someone will be there on a daily basis to provide the necessary help (food, etc). I wonder how could she be living like that unless she is still living with another family member. As I know where she lives, I am going to contact the city hall to find out what they can do for her.

      Liked by 2 people

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