I awake to the sound of the trains in which who’s yard I had spent the night. The bitter wind had eaten at my fingers and toes during the night and it was extremely hard to walk. I staggered to my feet and collected my belongings well if u could call a 4-month-old blanket and a mangled tin-cup belongings. The morning are always hard for anybody even those top notch lawyers that earn thousand of pounds a day but for me a “tram” or a “Disgrace” as people stereotype me as, it is four times as difficult. It’s worse when it rains because it releases the rotten odours that lay within the woven cloth or my rotting garments that I call clothes.
My life even though it doesn’t have much meaning anymore does sometimes but not very often have its tiny little perks, for instance the other day I was sitting at the steps up to a post office in surrey and a man looked at me and asked me what I had done to become homeless. Now this is a hard question for me, as I hadn’t done anything “wrong” all I had done in my life was fail my exams and not being able to get a job was forced to apply for a council grant for an apartment. The grant fell through and I was left without a home, nowhere to go, no friends, no family, nothing.
I explained this to the man who then offered me a place to stay for the night. Almost before the words had left the man’s mouth my eyes were alit with joy, I couldn’t explain my excitement even if I wanted to. The man lead me to a special hostel for the homeless and there he said they would look after me and give me a good meal, some fresh odour free clean clothes and a warm bed to sleep in. There were boys, girls, men, women and entire families all staying at the hostel and I got to know all of them quite well in a matter if minutes.
Many of them like me failed exams or were made redundant by companies and ended up in the circle of homelessness, I say a circle because it is once your homeless no one and I mean no one looks twice at you and thinks shall I help this person. The meal I had that night was the most delicious meal in the world, you know the one, which your mum makes on a Sunday, but this to me was even better. I miss my mum; she disowned me as her son when I first started the begging for money, she said I was a disgrace to the family name and after that I never saw her again.
I often wonder where she is and weather she still loves me but I know one thing for sure I love her and I miss her terribly. All I wanted was a warm loving hug from my own mother telling me that everything was going to be ok and that we can work it all out together but all I got was a suitcase and asked for my door keys back. That night in the hostel was weird, the bed was lovely and the staff were great but you often got woken by children crying and women sobbing and I admit that I have shed many a tear since becoming homeless and at one stage nearly ended my own life.
After staying at the hostel for a week the hostel staff kitted me out from head to toe in new clothes and I mean new not second hand or hand me down they were brand new. They also set me up with a job interview for stacking shelves in a supermarket. I went along to the interview and was waiting to be called in when I realised something. This is it, this is the second chance, and this is my way out of the homeless circle. I went into the interview room and a man in a very posh suit shook my hand.
It was the first time in 6 years that anybody had shaken my hand and it put a massive beaming smile on my face. When I sat in the incredibly comfortable chair that was provided for me and the other people being interviewed for the job I wondered is it all real or will I wake up the next morning to the sound of more abuse or people just walking by when I beg for help and money, but I didn’t wake up. The interviewer who’s name was Michael was there and he was real and was it just possible that he was looking directly into my eyes and asking me my name and my age.
I passed the interview with flying colours and I was working in the supermarket the next day. A few weeks on from that interview and I was able to apply for a council flat. The procedure was totally different to when I was on the streets. The council treated me as a human being rather than an animal, which they can control. Within a month they had found me some accommodation. It was not much but I called it home. It was my own home and I wouldn’t let anyone take it from me this time around.
After a year at the supermarket I went back to college, I studied a GNVQ in Administration and a GNVQ in Information Computing Technology, which I passed and now am proud to have the certificates for. Once I had a phone line installed into my apartment the first person I called was my brother. He came round instantly and he was proud that I was back on my feet again. After he left I wondered about calling my mother as I wanted to show her my new achievement but I couldn’t, I was too scared of what she might say or do so I just left it.
A week later there was a knock on my door, I hadn’t invited anyone round so I wondered whom it could be. I opened the door and who was standing there but my mother. She looked at me and I looked at her and I noticed that her eyes were welling up with the tears and heartache of the past 7 years. I hugged my mum and she hugged back and I cried with her. We stood on the doorstep for about half an hour crying in each other’s arms. Once we had stopped crying my mother said one thing that I hadn’t heard for a very long time. ” I love you and i’m proud of you SON”.