Join our Lenten Campaign 2024.
Note: This is part of a new serial fiction series focusing on the life of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, following the life of a fictional character as he encounters the saint. New chapters are released every Sunday! Click here for the previous chapter(s).
“Giorgio!! Hold on!!!”
Both Matteo and Luca scrambled to the edge of the boulder to grab Giorgio’s hand. He was hanging there above the valley below. One wrong move and he would fall thousands of feet to his death.
Luca was the first to reach Giorgio, lying flat across the boulder as he reached with both arms to pull him up.
“Matteo! Quick, tie that rope we brought around my waist and pull back. I don’t want Giorgio to pull us all down with him!”
Matteo rushed over and quickly tied the rope, using all his energy to help the rescue effort.
Luca gave Giorgio enough stability that he was able to use his other arm to grab higher on the boulder. Slowly and carefully, Giorgio used his mountain climbing skills to get his feet in the right positions to push himself up.
All of this seemed to take hours, when it fact it was only a few minutes. With Luca’s help, Giorgio was able to get his entire body back on the boulder, safe and out of harm’s way.
“That was a close one, wasn’t it?! I think that’s our cue to go back down the mountain!”
Surprisingly, Giorgio was still in good spirits after his near-death experience. It didn’t seem to faze him that he could have died only a few moments earlier.
This was indeed a strange young man, Matteo thought to himself. He is joyful, feeds the poor, talks about God, and even death doesn’t frighten him! Is there anything in this world that could slow him down?
The walk down was much quicker, though sometimes the steep incline made it a bit too fast. Matteo’s lungs felt a little better, but he dreaded going back into the city.
For the past few hours, Matteo had been able to forget about this situation in life. He nearly forgot that he was a homeless man living on the streets of Turin.
What was going to happen next? Where was he going to sleep tonight?
He hoped that Giorgio would offer him a place to stay. The nights were getting much colder now as the season started to change from fall to winter. Still, even if he had a place to stay, Matteo was jobless and had no money.
Would someone ever hire a man who couldn’t stop coughing? The mountain air was refreshing, but he couldn’t stay here. He had to return to the dusty and smoky air of the city.
After a few hours, Giorgio, Matteo and Luca were back in Turin. They were nearing La Crocetta when Matteo, feeling anxious, blurted out a question.
“Giorgio, can I stay with you? I am afraid of staying another night out here.”
Giorgio stopped walking, paused and looked solemnly at Matteo.
“I wish I could, Matteo, but my home is not my own. My father would throw you out on the street and you would be in a worse position than you are now. He doesn’t like how much time I spend with the poor and homeless. He prefers that I become a successful journalist.”
Giorgio closed his eyes for a few seconds, saddened by the reality. There was a few moments of silence before he spoke again, this time with a smile on his face. He slapped Matteo on his back.
“But that shouldn’t dampen our spirits! There is always hope in the world! Sometimes, you need to look in the right place. I will tell you what. A good priest friend of mine has helped me in the past finding homes for the homeless. We can’t always find a home for everyone, but we can always try!”
“Giorgio! Could we try?! I don’t want to die on the streets!”
“Matteo, I will talk with my friend and come back in a few days. I need to attend to my classes at the university, but once I have a free moment, we will go together to find you a warmer place to stay.”
To be continued …
Come back next Sunday for the next chapter!