SITTING ON THE GROUND, NEAR A BENCH. ROCKING BACKWARDS AND FORWARDS.
I remember the first night, I just cried and cried. I hated everyone that night. The first night was the most terrifying. I didn’t sleep at all that night. I was really frightened and felt really, really alone. And I was.
I made friends with two others like me. They weren’t friends, but we used to talk. They came up to me and gave me some tea and a sandwich. They’d talk to me and then they’d go on their way. They did this everyday. I would have died if it weren’t for those two gentlemen.
Sometimes I slept in parks, on benches, stations or doorways. I was thin, filthy and ill.
I moved into a hostel for a little while. Yeah, it was good to have a guaranteed roof, and the bed was a bonus. I lived there for 7 months. I used to wake up for the eight o’clock breakfast every day. I wouldn’t eat then till four, when they would serve up dinner. They knew my name down there.
I don’t know what I did between the meals. All I ever did was wonder about. I’d never speak to anyone, I’d just wonder about.
Do you have any change? Any small change will do.
I felt ashamed living in a hostel. I didn’t want anyone to know I was in a hostel. I’m not ashamed, but I don’t want people to know. Words are how you perceive them.
Then something happened, something that made me realised why I was ashamed. I brought back two of the friends I had, they were comrades and lost, like I was. They stayed in the room with me. They always had sandwiches. The hostel chief came to my room and told me that the guys had to leave.
How could I leave them? I know what it feels like to be out there. Who wants to beg?
I didn’t go back there.
I had friends now, but I don’t spend much time with them. I don’t feel like I belong. It’s very lonely. But it’s good to see you.
Any change for a tea? A sandwich?
You have to be selfish when you are out here, you have to make sure you live through the night. Sometimes each night is a challenge. And that’s when you feel most free. But now it’s cold now, and when it gets cold you aren’t as free. The cold closes down around you.
You never get used to the cold. You’d learn to tolerate it, but you’d never get used to it.
Everybody stereotypes you and I hated it. Not all of us were people wandering the streets with rank hair, jerseys and coats with holes in them, boots and dogs strung to the laces for the boots, people asking for money. It’s not always like that.
I didn’t plan for it to happen like this, it just did. I am doing the best I can.
Hey! Hey! No need to do that! Why d’ya kick it?
Ah but you see, I do have faith and I do believe in God. What do you mean? I am obviously not high on his agenda. But you’re here too? It’s not just me. There are more important people than us in this world I suppose.
But that is why I live each day. I try to suck the life out of each day.
Well that’s what I did do. I joined the army when I was 19. There weren’t many jobs at the time.. I wanted to be an officer. I was a fearless soldier, and a good one.
But you see, it wasn’t my fault.
But it wasn’t my fault. They said that I was ill. Sick in the head. But you know all that. You were there. That’s when I met you, but I had seen you before…
I left, but I was scared. I was very scared. I was in my own country and I was scared. I had never been scared on duty. I felt worthless. I never felt worthless on duty.
You gave me sandwiches!!
It’s mad, if they asked me back I would go you know? You’d come too, wouldn’t you?! If they asked you to too? I would. I would go anywhere. I would fight anywhere. I would. I love my country.
I love my country.
This is a monologue that I wrote to try to describe to my friend what it was like to be homeless.
I had been homeless and it was one of the most frightening yet liberating feelings and experiences I have ever had.
This is a compilation of thoughts of other homeless people I had met, as well as some of my own thoughts.