Metal River.

22 Aug

For a period of my life, I was homeless. I lived on the streets of London, around Victoria Station, mainly. I spent a lot of time walking and sitting. There used to be ‘soup runs’ all around the city center. Some offered clothes, others offered chocolate bars. Mostly they offered food, many different kinds. When eating this food, I would sit, watching the passersby. The tourists, wide eyed and full of wonder and often as not, completely lost.

Mainly I would see commuters. Drones trudging to and from work. Lost in their thoughts, they barely notice the world around them and hoping the world wouldn’t notice them, they continue on. The traffic fascinated me.

On a good day, I would sit under Abe, (Abraham Lincoln) in Parliament Square. I would chuckle as tourists saw him and I could see the surprised looks on their faces. There is no plaque to explain his presence. You have to walk around the square to a metallic map, which gives a brief description of who’s who and why they are there.

I would sip at a cup of tea, nibble a sandwich and watch the traffic. It flowed, so consistently constant, I thought of it as a metal river. Such a variety of vehicles, it was never boring. The Lord Mayors car, the PM’s car, huge yellow ducks would go by, carrying tourists on a sight seeing tour, never to be forgotten. From classical vintage cars to the latest Ferrari’s and all sorts of madness between.

My metal river kept me entertained for hours. I would lose myself in the flow, watching thousands of faces passing by, keeping an eye out for the smiling ones and in turn I would smile, which sometimes caused a stranger to smile. Smiles were the ripples on this river, eye contact was the equivalent of hooking a fish. A nod or wave was the catching of the fish.

That’s getting towards 10 years ago. I still pause by a busy road and watch the river flow. The roar of the rapids and the gentle buzz of the slower traffic. I do not long for those days with Abe, they were dark and almost hopeless, with no future in sight. Instead, I think of all I have achieved since. My metal river helped me through tough times and still entertains me today.


2 Responses to “Metal River.”

  1. goferet August 22, 2012 at 7:45 pm #

    Uh, hadn’t seen the comment section below.

    Having read the blog it reminded me of when I was a child and used to be fascinated by traffic.

    Me and my mates used to stand by the side of the road then point out to each and every good car claiming it as ours hahaha just some bit of kids fun to kill the time.

    Anyway homelessness is a very tough thing for there are few things worse than having no where to go to worse still have no one to welcome you back home/ see you off in the morning.

    For as the old saying goes, a man’s home is his castle.

    Thanks to all the charities out there that help out the less fortunate out on the streets for us that tend to walk past the homeless on the streets can never really appreciate how bad things are till we’re in their shoes.

  2. 1emeraldcity August 26, 2012 at 5:25 pm #

    I really like this piece, David. Love the title, the execution. The story is interesting with a unique perspective from the homeless. Would love to see more of your work!

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