I was walking to the train station in order to get to school in London when suddenly there was a decent looking young lad shouting in my direction. I had not met him before and I was a tad surprised that someone was making an attempt to chat with me, seeing as the local people are usually quite reserved. So, I smiled at him and greeted him back. The guy said something that I was not able to catch and then carried on walking in front of me. I did not pay him much attention but he suddenly turned and quickly walked back to me. He kept gibbering on about so many things at the same time which was rather difficult for a Thai person like me who was not then used to the native accent. I found him incomprehensible and confusing. Nevertheless, not wishing to be rude, I just nodded my head in agreement with whatever came out of his mouth, even though I could not understand what he was talking about. I introduced myself as a Thai person who had come to the UK to study and asked him whether he had ever been to Thailand. By then, we had been walking alongside each other for a few minutes, when again he abruptly turned away from me and looked at his surroundings, standing quite still. I ignored him and kept on walking to the station. Then a few seconds later he caught up with me again and carried on talking to me about anything and everything. I asked him again if he knew Thailand. I also told him which part of Thailand I came from and asked if he knew any Thai beaches. But he did not seem to grasp what I had just said to him and he still babbled about something entirely irrelevant to our conversation. And then I decided to ask which school or university he went to. Suprisingly, he understood what I had just asked him. And he replied that he did not go to school because of his schizophrenia. It took me a few brief moments to understand what he meant. Because of this, I was beginning to feel apprehensive about carrying on this conversation, but I still tried to be diplomatic; at the same time, my brain told me to walk away from this chit chat and I did. Luckily the guy seemed to be interested in other things, looking around and running back and forth between me and some imagined object in the distance. I felt the need to speed up as quickly as I could to get out of his way. I kept on walking and had almost reached the town centre before I noticed that he was marching off in another direction.
Many months later I saw the news about a schizophrenic who had stabbed someone to death. Thankfully, the guy I met was not in that bad state of mind. And later I met him a second time, but this time, I kept out of his way and tried to get as far away from him as I could. I know that it is not his fault that he is what he is. Still, I find it hard to deal with people like this. I walked away and he looked at me for a fleeting moment and then turned back. I doubt he remembered that we had had an earlier conversation together. If he had not been unstable, he would have come across as an ordinary, decent bloke or even an agreeable person and I might have had the opportunity to make a new friend. Maybe.