london streets

On the Bridge

He got on the bridge early today, before anyone else could occupy his spot.
For now he is just sitting down on a piece of cardboard leaning his back on the cold side of the bridge.
The warm smell of sugar coated almonds is messing with his hunger. It’s dark already, the sun went missing an hour ago. The yellow lights from the bus station are giving everyone a very long shadow. The suits haven’t got on the streets yet. Just tourists and two police officers talking to the Jehovah’s witnesses.

“Jane and her dog have been on the bridge all day, she looks all wet. Bloody weather. I can’t  see well from this end but I can smell the wet fur of her old golden retriever. Shit, I forgot my lucky hat. Yesterday I got five ponds and two days before cought a tenner. Never-mind, I’ll improvise. I have the scarf.”

The wind is following the wrinkles on his face. They feel deep right now.

“It’s cold and wet, but here they are! The first suits. They are few, but soon there will be hundreds. A streaming black mass of clothes and leather shoes. A young man in a nice suit holding a red cup of coffee stops in front of me. He smiles and gives me the rest of it. Do I look like a bin, motherfucker? Of course, I didn’t say that out loud. Just smiled back chewing a thank you. I haven’t had anything to eat since last night. More suits. Hundreds. All in a hurry, as usual. All but one. He looks like a bloody tourist, a very clumsy one, taking pictures of everything. He has a stupid smile on his face. Why? Because of the snow that is falling? This asshole doesn’t have any idea how it is to be on the street on a weather like this. What does he know about winter on a bridge? If he dares to take a picture of me without paying, I’ll kick his ass. He stops, he looks right at me – why?”

Two pounds fell out of the sky but there’s no face to say thank you to. He saves the two words for God, any God, the God of suits that made them spare those money.
The last sip of coffee is cold and tasteless. People walk in both directions surrounded by little clouds of warm breath.

“For all these morons passing by, I can’t see Tim or Tom from the other side of the bridge. I never seem to remember his name. Ah, there he is, he is gathering his sleeping bag and the piece of plastic he got from Jane. All these legs moving in front of me are making me dizzy. And I am so cold. The bloody wind never stops! I am not well, but I got the eight pounds already. I’ll rent the dog tomorrow and everything is going to be fine.”

There is a murmur on the street. He closes his eyes so he can hear it better.

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