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.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:
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.
Valli Henry-Boldini hails from London but now lives in Venice, Italy. She is an educator, translator and vocal coach. Her writing began at an early age with diaries, poetry, lyrics then non-fiction/fiction. She is currently trying to write her autobiography. Her writing has appeared in Woman’s Weekly (Print version), Taste of the Caribbean and 101 Words Org to name but a few.