I’m sitting on a bus waiting for it to leave another bus station. There’s a man sitting on the floor with a piece of cardboard in front of him. I don’t know what it says, I can’t read the language. He looks up at each person that passes him, not speaking but his eyes begging them to throw a few coins into the silver bowl. To his side is a bottle of dark liquid that he sips from when there is no one passing. What kind of life is it that someone has to exist like this? This has probably been his whole life, I doubt he knows any different.
I can feel the kid’s eyes on me, I know he’s watching. What does someone like him know about my life? I’ve nowhere to go but this bus station, it’s my home now. I can see the pity in his eyes, he looks away as I catch his glance. He’s looking at me, this sad broken person, sipping whisky, begging for money just to get more, occasionally buying some food. He’ll go away on the bus, continue enjoying his holiday, not giving me any more thought. I had it all at one time, I would’ve pitied him then.
I know he knows I am watching him, but I can’t not. What he is doing now was what I was doing not so long ago. I remember sitting at bus stations, shop doors, holding out my hands in the hope someone would feel sorry for me, give me the money to feed my addiction. The loneliness and the constant fear, not fear of people but fear of not being able to get what you want, or I should say need. I used to wonder if there was someone on the other side of the world doing exactly the same thing as me.
The bottle is nearly empty. There are only a few coins in my little bowl. I’ll have to sit somewhere else soon because this is not enough. Looking back up at the kid on the bus I give a fake smile, hoping he will take pity on me. He looks away. If he could live my life for just a day he’d know what it was like to humiliate himself, to have nowhere to go, I bet this doesn’t even happen back in his country. Six years of my life sitting here and all I have to show is a bowl and a bottle, I am sure he’ll enjoy his comfortable bed tonight.
I can see resentment in his eyes as he looks at me. He might think that he has a pitiful look but I’ve been there, I know. Those feelings of resentment and hatred of those that have everything you don’t. Creating plans on how to get back at everyone that ignores your pleading eyes. I could probably give him some tips. Watching him is like going back and seeing myself, seeing the days before I took the steps to change my life. Maybe he doesn’t have that choice?
I could get up and walk away from here right now if I wanted to. The problem is I don’t want to. It’s the shame, I can’t go back to my family and ask them for help. I suppose I’ve chosen this life. My family are rich, they want for nothing, I used to want for nothing. Then I tried to go it alone, but I failed, all the money I borrowed gone. So I never went back, unable to show my face. When he’s finished his holidays he’ll go back to the welcoming arms of his family.
The driver gets into his seat and starts the engine. This poor, wretched man giving me a brief reminder of what I used to be. At least I had help, he’s probably got no one else in this world, born into destitution. As the bus pulls away I am thankful for this new phase in my life, the one where I’ve been able to take off and see the world, enjoy my life, not have to sit around looking for money or scraps of food. I hope the man can do the same one day.
There goes his bus, not even a few coins to see me through the day. He’ll never think of me again, I will sit here and resent him until I find someone new to hate. I hope one day that he’ll lose everything, that he’ll have to see the world through my eyes, know what it is like to have nothing. I can hold onto the fact that he will never have the riches that I used to have. I’ll have them again one day, but for now I’ll just find somewhere to sleep away the midday sun.