london streets

Jane

“Hell no, I don’t want you to write about me. Damn it, that was good coffee. Ok, you can take a picture, you gave me the orange, but no… no writing. Who gives a shit I was on the streets for the last 18 months?
My mom passed away when I was 12 and she used to beat me every day. Fuckin’ hell! No, I don’t miss her. Who cares?”

I am speechless. I’m looking at the brown puddle of coffee that slowly disappears sucked by the pavement.
“My partner and I used to have an apartment, now I’m 42 and live on the streets.Where do I get two thousand pounds for a deposit?”
She is getting nervous while peeling the orange. The fresh fruit perfume covers for few seconds the smell of coffee and urine that surrounds us both. I have no idea how to respond so I try to get away. She looks mad now. Maybe I shouldn’t be here. Right now, her eyes are focused on the empty paper cup while chewing the orange.
“Look, I also have an apple, you want it? What’s your name? ”
“Oh, I am Jane and I can’t eat apples, I have bad teeth, you know.”

She pulls her lower lip and reveals the yellow rows of crooked teeth so I put the apple back in the pocket.

“Well, I’ll see you around Jane, I got to go but if you change your mind about me writing your story …”
“Fuck it, write whatever you want, nobody cares anyway. Thanks for the orange.”

My earphones are back on, but I can hear her shouting: “Ma’am, can you spare some change ma’am?” Slowly I return to my world. Like me, hundreds of people are passing by preoccupied to not step out of theirs.

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