Never the Worst

I only stop when I see a fountain. I stop to watch the light from the street lamps reflect off the water. It's so beautiful.

I sit down on the floor and close my eyes.

"Hey," says a voice beside me.

Opening my eyes, I see a man who is clearly homeless. "Hey," I respond blankly.

"What were you running from?" He asks.


"You were running," he says. "What from?"

"Oh. Life," I tell him.

He raises a thick eyebrow. "Go on."

I sigh. "My best friend abandoned me when I needed her, I cut myself when people are mean to me, my mother is an alcoholic, my brother is suicidal, my house is on fire, I'm in love with a heterosexual girl and my grandmother is homophobic."

The guy shifts. "I've been sleeping on that bench for the past eighteen months, I have to beg for food, I cough up blood on a daily basis, I've had a painful limp for the best part of a year, my life is effectively over anyway but I don't have the guts to end it."

I look at him. "Well... you win."

"Yep," he nods. "Of course I do. There is always going to be someone who you think is worse off than you, because you don't want to be the most miserable person. There was a young boy here a few days ago, practically skin and bone. Not coat, no shoes. Not a bed. Gave his first bit of food in days to me, even though he needed it more. Yep. At least I have a bed and warmth. Somewhat."

As I ponder this, he gets up and goes over to his bench. I find a twenty pound note in my pocket, and I look over to give it to him.

But he's gone, and the only evidence I have that he was ever there is a piece of pink and yellow string.

The End

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