The Christmas lights hang brightly from the lamp posts. The tinsel adorns shop windows are filled with trees and more lights. Music blares from all the shops. People hustle and bustle, busy busy busy with lists to cross off and bags to fill. Cards to post and presents to buy. Food to cook and cakes to make. People to see and family to spend time with. Brightly decorated homes to go back to, central heating, lights, running water. A home.
He sits there, silent and invisible to everyone, his clothes torn and full of holes. By his feet is the plastic bag filled with all he owns. Down on his luck through no fault of his own he has no home other than the doorway in which he sits. His bed a bench in the park in the summer and a doorway or box in the winter.
I see the lights and hear the music but they mean nothing to me. They are just memories of a time long ago when I had a family and friends to be with. I watch as the people walk past me and hear snatches of conversation. They think I’m a druggie, a down and out. They don’t know the first thing about me, what got me to this state I am in now.
A family go past, the littlest girl stares at me and I hear her ask her father for some money to give me. He says no, it’ll only go on drink or drugs and drag her away. I look down, pulling myself tighter against the cold. I close my eyes.
“Here,” a voice says. The face smiles as the man in the doorway opens his eyes. “I got you this.” She holds out a coffee and a burger. “I put sugar in it, I hope that’s okay.” She smiles again as the eyes of the man glisten and he holds out shaking hands and says thank you. Then she gets up and runs off back to join her family.
He drinks the coffee and it’s the finest champagne he’s ever had and the burger the most exquisite caviar. For now the fact he is homeless doesn’t matter. Someone cared.