Sleeping rough, series 2 – Episode 3: Groceries

I remember taking refuge in the specific pressure and friction happening to my left heel. A blister was growing, all swollen, pale, the size of a quarter already, last time I checked. A thick skin covering it. The sensation of the shoe, the friction tearing and tucking at it with every step. O, please, I hoped it would not snap. I had to walk some more miles still.

I checked the address again. I remembered the street name. The number was written on the inside of my wrist. In pencil. It almost wore off already. Number 24. Blast! The blister broke. Now it would hurt. Every step of the way I would hurt.


I was nervous. It was my first job for David. It was a simple job. I had to get him a package. I was no fool. Running errands for David was not like getting him bread and butter. But I figured if I did not actually know what was in the package, if I were not to ask and no one told me, I would stay safe and keep my conscience clean. Sort of.
But I was nervous non the less. I entered the street. Just a normal street. Normal houses. Who would know? Who would have thought? I would just ring the doorbell at number 24, ask for the groceries. Nothing more complex than that. And I would get a plastic bag which I would bring back to the train station and put next to me in a seat at the refreshment room. Then some one would come to my table with some refreshments. And he or she would leave again later on. With the plastic bag. Nothing to it.

Damn that blister. I had to get myself some socks again. Walking barefoot in shoes never got me very far.


There I was. Number 24. Now what to do. I just stood there. Stupid. Stupid! I started to walk on again. Fuck it. Fuck this. Fuck me! How can I do this. But then again, how can I not do this. It is not the end of the world. It would get me a decent pay. I am not doing any harm. Not really. If I would not do it, someone else would. Come on. Get yourself together now.

I looked around and started to walk back. Hands in my pockets. Fists. I could feel they were fists. There I was again. Number 24. I lifted my arm and pulled at that bell. The cold of the brass in my hand. The resistance of the spring. The ringing of that bell inside. That sound. It can stop now. Much too loud. I wanted to run for it. I should not be here. This is not me.

The door opened. I let go of that bell. I could not look up. I could not speak. Damn. I bit my tongue. I should say something. What am I supposed to say again? “Yeah?” The girl at the door got impatient with me. “I’m picking up the groceries.” said I. “Wait.” She stepped back into the shades. “Fred!” she yelled up the stairs and she shut the door in my face. I heard a window open upstairs. I stepped away from the door and looked up. “Here, catch this.” A bag came falling down at me. I was just quick enough to catch it. It was light. Much lighter than I anticipated. I never saw Fred. The window closed. Was this it? I waited a bit. No, I should move now. So I started to walk. Wrong direction. I turned around and started to walk back to the train station.

The blister was really painful. It would be bloody by the time I got back. I was close to another train station and was tempted to take the train back. But I would have to dodge fares and was afraid of getting caught. Especially now with the groceries for David that would mean disaster.


Groceries, my foot.


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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