Everything ached.

Legs, heavy with the distance just kept on working, even without a destination to reach.

Dark clouds brought rain, wind brought a coldness which couldn’t be kept at bay.

With hands in the pockets of an old and worn out coat, buttons long since parted company,

hugging the material around his waist, he continued on.

It was an unfamiliar part of town, new buildings seemingly climbing over the old,

dim lights coming from closed windows.

Hushed voices from huddled bundles of clothing, people like him…. With nowhere to go.

Yet he was determined to just see what might lie ahead, not content to stand still.

Through the next street, the next town, the next expanse of wilderness that sat inbetween,

he would traverse.

All he needed was for the rain to stop… The clouds to break and the wind to carry some warmth.

No more navigating around puddles, no more running from pickpockets and thieves.

No more knocking on doors looking for work, only to have banded wood slammed in the face

with the sound of derision and scorn filtering through the gaps.

Just someone to talk to would help, he thought. Everyone can understand those big setbacks,

but it’s the little ones that become cumulative, become harder and harder to cope with.

A broken lace one morning, the smile offered to a stranger who just sneered with contempt…

Having a cheery greeting met with utter silence… Again.

That struggle for life, for real food, for a sense of being ‘home’.

A bell tolled how late it was,

as a fine layer of mist descended all around,

obscuring what lay ahead.

He clenched his fists, cried out with his remaining strength…

But carried on walking, aching, hurting. Afraid that the place he stopped would simply be

where his body would be found.

That wasn’t an option…… Not yet anyway.

Steve B 10/11