20 years ago he came to me in New Street station when I was using a public phone. Remember the circle of aluminium booths that were in the station back then? Before the advent of mobiles? One of those.
He wasn’t very old. 20-something? He asked if I could spare some money. I said no, sorry. Firm but polite. “Oh, please, mate, I’m starvin’“.
Yeah, right, I probably thought. You’ll just use it on fags or booze. Such was my upbringing. But there was something in his eyes. A genuine desperation. I could see that.
Yet I turned away and dialled the number. When I looked back he had gone.
I sometimes wonder about him. More often than I’d like. I can see his face. That look in his eyes. I’ll always wish I’d bought him some food. Anything.
What became of you, homeless man? Where are you now?