The post is written in response to a prompt from Genre Scribes: Friday Fiction Writing Challenge #25 — Charity.
I had a good life, a steady job, family, kids, a nice home.
No-one tells you how it’ll be, how the cold invades and never leaves, the background thrum from your gnawingly empty stomach.
No-one tells you what it feels like to be invisible.
You don’t care about that, you don’t care about my story, to you I’m just another person to step around and ignore as you busy about your day.
I know it because I used to be you.
When the bailiffs took our house, my partner took the kids and I quickly ran out of friendly beds.
I know no-one wants me around but I’m too chicken to kill myself.
So here I sit, begging for your charity.
For a while I targeted nightclub queues, hoping the drunken ramble would be a bit freer with their cash. Some were, but most only laughed and mocked; others spit, push, punch, and more. I’ll spare you the details.
I know you don’t really want to know.
Now I look to the morning office workers. On a good day someone will buy me a hot drink, maybe something to eat.
I used to love sitting in my kitchen on a cold morning, steaming coffee, hot buttered bagels.
I used to do that.
This lump of dirty clothes sitting here on the ground.
The one you walked around again, without even glancing at me.
I know not everyone will be nice but I’m still here, still human.
Don’t you want to hear my story?
Whilst this is fiction, the reality is that every day as I commute to and from work I see rising numbers of homeless people, begging in the street. I occasionally buy hot drinks or soups as I don’t carry change very often. I ask their names, I take a few minutes from my day. I don’t do it often enough, sometimes not for weeks.
If, like me, you want to do more, one way is to donate to a charity that focuses on people living on the streets; Social Bite – Buy a homeless person a Christmas Dinner which asks for a £5 donation.