In My Bones

“Do you want me to heat it up, Sir?”
“Yes, please.”

While waiting at the counter I feel like I am being observed. There is no escape from his gaze.

“How are you man, you ok?” He is whispering something.

My sandwich is ready. I should go, but I feel like I have to stay. I feel trapped somehow, so here I am, standing in front of this strange man that is playing with a plastic spoon.

“Don’t tell me your name, let me look into your soul.”
“You are John.”
“Erm, I am Alin. Can I sit with you?”
“Sure, I got demons, man. They won’t let me be, man.”

I unpack my sandwich and bite the thing while saying.

“Look, I sometimes write stories about people. Do you need anything, want me to get you something?”
“No, I’m good, I talk to many people, but no writing. Pen and canvas, man, no way. My mom used to write me stories, roll them up and put them in my bones.”

He takes a break to squeeze a piece of paper in a hole of his jacket. The whole outfit has holes and those holes are full of pieces of paper, plastic and bits of food.

I try to figure out what can I ask the man. I soon realise that I don’t have to ask him anything. He speaks willingly.

“I got demons, man. They won’t let me be. I need to stay under the light, man. When it gets dark, they take over. It is awful. I was born in October in the late 60’s, here, in London. Life was good then. Privatisation killed everything. I’ve lost everything. I had it all and now, I got nothing. You said you write. Maybe you can re-write the Bible, put the Quran in there too, it is all the same. My mom used to write me stories, you know, roll them and put them in my bones. Now I can’t sleep.”
“What is your name, man?”
“Look into my soul, you will see.”
“I don’t know, man. I don’t know. John?”
“No, it’s Mark and I got demons in this life. They will destroy me, I know. But in the next life? I will be clean, man. No demons, just peace.”

I finish my sandwich, tastes like sand. The words we exchange travel in between two different worlds. I do not know what to do with his story. It is fascinating, but I do not dare to go deeper.

“Look, Mark. I got to go now, do you want me to get you something?” I ask, while folding the leftover paper.
“No, just unfold that paper and throw it in the air, for good luck.”
“Good bye, Mark, I’ll see you.”
“No, goodbye. Pray for me, pray for me so I win.”