Sleeping rough – part 4: Nothing happened

I remember taking refuge in the wind. The wind was soothing me, stroking my hair, the skin of my cheeks, my closed eyelids. It came drifting through the early morning landscape, touched me gently and then journeyed on. It took part of me with it and at the same time it shared part of itself as a gift staying with me. It helped me gather my mind, gather my wits.
Why was David’s hand on my arm? What was a next wise move?

I scraped my throat. “I don’t need any taking care of. Thank you.” I said, trembling. But my voice sounded firm, much to my own surprise. “Ah, good for you, lassie.” answered David. “But first, let’s get you home.” He let go of my arm. He just started walking. After some yards he stopped and turned towards me. “Aren’t you coming?” I lowered my eyes and put my hands in my pockets. And as David and his crew walked back to town, I started to move with the pack, back to town right along with the traffic in the rush hour that was starting on the highway. All those proper commuters on their way to another day at their desks.


I was dead tired, thirsty and had blisters on my feet as we approached the train station again. Luckily I had thought to put the money from my sock in to my pocket before the long walk home, or it would have gone to pieces by now. I tossed away the tram subscription. Too dangerous to hang on to.

As I moved on, David stopped me. “That is not a wise destination now, the train station. If you get picked up in the next couple of days, they will arrest you and book you for something. They always find something.” He looked me in the eye. “You just stay clear from here for a couple of days, you hear. You’ve got anywhere to go?” I wanted to respond smart, like “Yeah, sure, that’s why I hang out with you guys. I’ve got plenty of places to go.” But I just nodded, because I actually might have a place to go to next. “Okay,” said David. “Just lay low for a while. See yah.” “Yeah. See yah.”

As I walked away from the station and from David and his crew, he called after me “I never got your name, love!” “I never told!” I yelled back without turning my head.


At school I was one of the editors of the school newspaper. I was sort of part of the art-crowd. You know, the people who run the plays and musicals, the recitals, the cabarets, the newspaper. Them. I was never much in the foreground, but I loved the school newspaper. I practically lived at school from time to time, for that paper, especially if anything big was coming on stage or if student board elections were running. There was this week full with special events that needed coverage too. All those major happenings in school life. All of the greatest importance. It was what I breathed for.

I do not remember how it happened, but a small group of us managed to get us a key that gave access to the school buildings. It was not the front door key or the key for the door the students used, but the key to open the door between the teachers bicycle parking and the basement of the school. We hid the key next to the school in the parking lot so any of us could get in at any time.

It was a school holiday. So at the moment the school would be empty. I hoped. Most of the rooms would be locked. But not the editors room for the school newspaper. It did not have a lock that worked. And that is where I headed off to.


As I was walking the main hallway of the school, I felt so out of place. I was utterly and painfully aware of my filthy clothes and skin, my bruises and blisters, my smell. I turned a corner towards the front door and was struck by the astounding beauty of the light coming from a painted window as it rested calmly on the stone slabs of the old floor. I just stood there, breathing. Nothing happened. The floor carried the light and it carried me. And nothing else happened.


Next episode

Whole story


About Jikai

Living a life of blessed less where my feet support my walk and my hands create my story. View all posts by Jikai

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