Sleeping rough, series 2 – Episode 1: Eighty nine cents

I remember taking refuge in the taste and smell of the hamburger as it moved into my mouth. The sheer perfection of it. The sweet bun, the lettuce, wet and crunchy. The pickles, the fresh onion rings, the tomato’s, the sweet and salt of the ketchup. The juices coming from the burger as my teeth sank into it. My mouth watered and my eyes closed.

There was only a little money left. I would soon run out of it. I decided to get myself something I would like and remember. So I walked up to the counter of Burger King and got myself a big Whopper. And a Coke. I paid for it, left and outside I sat down on some steps leading up to a statue of someone who had actually meant something in the history of my country. I shared some of the bread with the pigeons. They busily moved about my position, eagerly awaiting more, but I did not have much to share.

After I finished the Coke, I just sat there for a while. I saw the people passing by in the street. It was a busy day. Good for shopping. Nice weather, sunny, not too hot. Mothers Day was close and this particular part of town had a lot of jewellers and perfumeries, some fashion shops, luxurious chocolate shops and such. It was really a chic part of the city. I used to come here quite often with my parents. Now I watched as fathers and children were hunting for the perfect present for the mothers waiting out there in the suburbs.

After a while I got up, quenched with food, drink and sunshine. At the shady side of the street I found my way back to the train station. That is where I ended up after all.
Every night, after the last trains moved out, after the heavy and high gates closed rolling up to a loud bang, after the night patrols men walked their last round, I would sneak through a gap in the fence some hundred yards away from the northern walls. From there I would run, head down, bent forward, until I would reach the tracks. I would cross the first few tracks and then climb up the platform. Look around, see if anyone moved. If I found all was quiet, I would make a run for the escalator and start to climb up there. The noise was always much too loud. It led up to the bus platform. Up there it was a bit windy and not always dry if it rained. But there was hardly ever anyone else there. So no one would bother me. I felt safe up there. Also there would be less security walking through. And if the security people would occasionally make a round up there, it was easy to keep out of their way or run for it. There were so many exits.

During the daytime I would just walk around a bit. Stay out of troubles way. Stay out of sight. Or I would sleep on the beach. I was bored mainly. Tired most of the time. I missed home sometimes. I missed school and friends. I went to the beach a couple of times to swim a bit and get clean, but the water was still very cold. I would be on the lookout for food all the time. People carelessly throw out food. I would pick it up and eat it. And if I did not get enough, I would buy myself something with the little money I had.

I had worried about this moment though, the moment my money would run out. The money still from the wallet I stole previously. I did not want to do that again. It did not feel right at all. But I was clueless as to what to do next.


Maybe I should give up. Maybe I should not be this stubborn and angry adolescent any more. Just go home, say I am sorry, offer my apologies and see what happens.

I watched as I walked in the shades, close to the walls and the shop windows. All those people, spending time, spending money on Mothers Day. Finding the perfect gift for the perfect family moment. As if life could ever be about something like that. No, I could not give up now. I am not the one to say sorry. I am not the one to apologise. I am not going anywhere.

I still had some ninety cents left. Eighty nine to be precise. Eighty nine cents.


My mind did not grasp the true meaning of having nothing but the clothes I was wearing and eighty nine cents in my pocket. Sock-less feet in shoes to carry me in streets leading me nowhere.


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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