A first person narrative of the day in the life of a homeless person.
I’ve been an early riser for as long as I can remember, usually waking up at six or seven if I’m feeling lazy. I clean myself as much as possible and begin my days work. I work in charity. People are busy, I state my case as sincerely as I can to those who might appear sympathetic but it’s generally in vain. There was this one bloke once that started going mental ‘cause I got wound up and told him that he looked like he could afford to put his hands in his fucking Saville Row pockets. Anyway, I don’t ask them kinds now, it’s not worth the bloody agro.
I finish work seven or eight and meet up with the others at our local. Usually, I’ll just watch them talking. See, I’m more of a listener; it’s a rare thing that I’m talking to you now. This is a one off. I’m used to being lonely. Quietly optimistic though, not loudly pessimistic like them lot. But I don’t blame them. The other week I was just sat there minding my own when someone just spat at me. Fucking spat right at me! And what was I supposed to do? Tell a policeman? I don’t think so. Sometimes we just have to swallow our pride and suffer that sort of injustice. It’s not fair but that’s the way it is.
At around eleven it starts getting cold. That’s when it’s the hardest so I’ll usually try and score a deal with Dave. I’ve known Dave for years and he’s probably my only real mate. We’ve been partners in crime, so to speak, since the start. He has this way of making me feel better, even proud sometimes, about my life. I’ll meet him and he’ll be like – in his thick Scottish accent – ‘Hello Gorgeous’ and his face will light up like a fucking Christmas tree. It’s weird, he’s been on the streets for fifteen years or so but he’s got this innocence about him, in his eyes like, like they haven’t seen any nasty shit. I personally reckon he just tries to think about his childhood and blocks all the other shit out but I’m not gonna go on about that. Then Dave’ll say ‘’ere lass, lets go and get some bone’ and he’ll laugh heartily. We normally go down the back of Inverness Street and we’ll sit there and ‘pass the bone’ and the warm smoke fills my lungs, making me feel normal again, and he’ll tell me funny stories like the one where his mate Roger was on acid when they were kids and thought he was on fire and ran, like a nutter, screaming through the streets and Dave and his mate ran after him and had to put him out.
Anyway, sorry, I’ve gone off on a tangent about Dave but you should speak to him, he’s an interesting bloke and clever too. It’s funny, people say, and I used to be one them, ‘lazy bastards, can’t be bothered to get a job’ or ‘fucking skagheads’ or something like that but it’s not that easy. I don’t have the option of going to a squat or a hostel because, truth is, I’m unpredictable, or so I’ve been told. Fair enough, I’ve robbed a few people, fucked up a couple but I’m not a bad person really; just trying to survive and that. So anyway, after the bone, Dave goes back to Mungo’s and I go back to my spot, under the soft light of Topshop, dream that I was a mannequin in the warm in a nice dress, wrap myself up in my sleeping bag and try not to stare at the pavement.