I was collecting birthday dates from all the regulars last night and April, whom I mentioned a few weeks ago when her son was missing in action in Afghanistan, told me that her birthday was April 23rd. 'St George's Day,' I commented.
'I don't know what day I was born on,' she said, 'but that was the date they found me on the doorstep of the children's home. And that's why they called me April.'
She's currently waiting for the final blood test to check that she is clear of hepatitis C. She caught it not from sharing needles but from the bowl the heroin was heated in. 'I was just unlucky,' she said.
The thing about April is that she always has a smile for everyone. If the things that have happened to her had happened to me I'd be a miserable so'n'so, blaming everyone and God, feeling hard-done-by and making sure everyone knew that. But not April. She's just a little dwt of a women but she shines like a 1000 watt bulb.
Sean started the study last night by asking if what had happened to Ruth, Naomi and Boaz was pure luck or whether it had been the result of the people they were and the choices they made. He suggested that Naomi, in spite of the tragedies that happened to her, loved God and he quoted the words of Jesus who, when asked what were the most important commandments, said, 'Love God and love your neighbour as yourself.'
Right at the very end of the study a man came in. I'd not seen him before but I believe he goes along to the Thursday night coffee bar. He listened a little to what was being said and then chimed up, 'See, I think if you love God and treat others well, you'll be all right,' unknowingly echoing the words of Christ from the start.
I say unknowingly but he told me later he'd attended a Catholic school. He also said he was a recovering alcoholic - although I suspect recovering alcoholics aren't supposed to drink and he was off to buy four cans to have at bedtime. (Although he might have meant cans of coke ...)
But if I'd judged on first impression, which I am wont to do, I'd have watched him stumbling in and struggling to focus properly, and I'd have shrugged and written him off as just another drunk. Instead of an intelligent man with a story to tell of his belief in God. I don't know his other story, the one about how he came to be an alcoholic, but there'll be reasons; there always are.
Oh, and I've finally posted the monologues from the story of Ruth over on my other blog.