Empathy, flash fiction by Valli Henry-Boldini at Spillwords.com
Jean Luc Benazet



written by: Valli Henry-Boldini


He sits on the cold pavement in dirty blue jeans, worn shoes and a torn grey t-shirt. His belongings in two small black dustbin bags behind him. A battered coffee cup in front.

“Any spare change?” he implores. No-one takes notice.

He recalls his journey and hope for a new life. First the bombings. Destruction. Lost family. The Beatings. Desperation in that overcrowded boat. Fear. Hunger. Rejection. Shame.


“Please can you spare some change,” he asks.

Tired green eyes look up imploringly. He accepts my tuna sandwich, bottled water and some money.

“Please tell me your story,” I ask.

Head bowed he cries.

I sit down beside him and wait.



I was inspired to write this story having worked with the homeless in the past.
More recently, (before the Covid situation) I stopped a few times and spoke to some homeless women and men to empathize and let them know someone cares about their story. This piece reflects in short, those encounters.

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