By: Stacey Bowen
Due from the whistling wind and bitter cold that danced around his frost bitten finger tips; Selby’s inner ear was constantly aching from the persistent drumbeat of pain. How he longed to sit and have shelter, so to ease the throbbing in his legs but everything around him was wet. The dampness surrounded his every turn. It crawled into his body and sat in his backbone, making it harder and harder to take a breath. Pneumonia was making a home in his chest and getting ready to rent his lungs. The ol sleeping bag that once kept him warm and dry was now a heap of torn, moulded- tattered brown stained cloth.
He stayed in the bus shelter alone, even though it was raining; no-one would come in. He noticed even those who didn’t have an umbrella, would rather get wet, then stand close to him. He knew he smelled rank. He could smell himself too. The only difference was that he was use to his own stink. Sometimes it worked well to his advantage you see, it kept those away that he didn’t want around, those that could harm him, take from him, beat him. But…… the smell also worked against him, it kept away those that he would have liked to come closer, to look at him, to see him, to smile at him….but there was no glance, no wink, no touch and never a hug.
It was so easy to cry in the rain and have no one notice while the tears and the rain intermingled and danced. Just like a sad clown with no audience to cheer him on, Selby put on a show with cup in hand. He hoped that someone would see him, acknowledge him and maybe …just maybe he may get a dollar or two because his stomach was tied in knots and cramping. Feeling faint with fever, he came out of the rain, back into the shelter and sat upon the cold,
Shivering, aching, starving and feverish….in an instant a decision was made. His thinking was a blur but his mind was made up and it was his answer to all of his problems. He grabbed for the wet heap of soggy material that was left of his sleeping bag and put it around the middle portion of his body for protection. Now, looking at the headlights of all the traffic on the road, Selby waited for the light to change. When the cars started to move again, he knew it was his opportunity to be seen, like he was never seen before, only it would be too late for the driver to
Selby would go to hospital after he got his way, the only way to find his way into a secure and safe environment where he could be treated with care, and be touched with care and be fed three meals a day. Selby ran out into the raging cars, the honking horns and the skidding wheels. All he needed was a few bumps, bruises and a couple of broken legs and he’d be good for the winter. Shelby’s last thought was…. Spring won’t be too far away, and the grass in the parks will be green once again and I’ll have a new sleeping bag.