I feel so alone, lost, and isolated. No where warm to go. No one to talk to. The Weather is so cold; my sleeping bag doesn’t keep me warm. In months I haven’t seen my family or had a bath. Last Night I slept underneath the canal bridge. It protected me from the rain and wind. Yesterday I met an old woman, she told me the only way to survive is to think of no one but yourself. I told her I had no where to go and nothing to eat and she told me how each day she goes out to beg. It really does work, so now when someone walks by me and looks, I say, “Got any spare change please? or “10p for a cup of tea” At lunchtime I was able to buy a cup of coffee at a small cafe.
It was hard trying to make one cup of coffee last 3 hours. I also wandered to the tip; I found a blanket in the skip. So that night I wrapped the blanket round my legs and put on everything I owned. I stuffed the cardboard box I was sitting in full with newspaper and I finally managed to get to sleep. I had a dream that my parents found me and said they were sorry and brought me home. Then I woke up to find the terrible disappointment that I was on the streets still.
I then thought exactly what I’d do right now for a nice hot bath, with bubbles upto my neck. This morning I was bitterly cold, I woke up frozen. I immediately got up and went into a shop. Any shop, it didn’t matter, as long as it was warm. I walked past the recently built town hall, with mirrors along the front and a big clock at the top. I suddenly stopped dead in my tracks. I looked into the mirror and thought, who is that skinny person wearing my clothes? Then I realised it was me and It hit home how extremely underweight I was.
I walked past the town hall in pure Confusion and was just about to walk into the same cafi?? as I went into the day before when this small round-faced woman looked at me and smiled, She didn’t move. She was holding a polystyrene cup and when I approached her she said, “The manager sends his apologies for you not being allowed in the cafi?? de Ritz anymore but we had a few complaints from the customers”. I looked up with sadness once more, and the woman handed me the polystyrene cup of coffee, shrugged her shoulders and walked back inside shutting the doors behind her.
As I walked toward where I slept the night before I overheard two middle-aged women discussing whether they were having turkey or beef for Christmas dinner. I would do anything for just a beef sandwich. As I walked under the bridge my cardboard box I had spent the night in had gone. I looked round the corner and saw a group of youth’s running away laughing and joking. Then on the floor I saw my cardboard box Full with the newspaper I had collected. Sky High with lapping flames, the heat was tremendous. With Black smoke that looked like the colour of a black night’s sky.
I stood there watching my only chance of a place to sleep turning into piles of ash. I closed my eyes and all I saw was red, Pure anger and frustration. I turned my back and slowly walked away. Two teenage girls my age pointed and sniggered at me and I blanked them out with my expression. I sobbed and closed my eyes, everything came into focus, and I finally realised what my life was for, Nothing. I suddenly thought to myself, I wonder if there is a bed available at the Red Cross shelter for tonight. This time Last year I was warm and cosy in my home eating a massive Christmas dinner with stuffing and gravy.
Followed by Christmas cake and squirty cream. I remember my Dad giving a toast to health and happiness in the future. We all raised our glasses and said “cheers! ” We pulled our crackers, put on our silly little green hats, and read our joke. “How many tramps does it take to screw in a light bulb? ” my Dad read. I used to love Christmas so much; it was my favourite time of the year. Now it isn’t. Yesterday I saw a newspaper headline reading, “Schoolgirl still missing” and it sent a chill down my spine, and made me think about my parents, and if they knew I was here, sitting in the centre of Birmingham.
I always begged my mother for us to go shopping in Birmingham, she always told me if was too far away just to go shopping. I’m really not too sure about wanting to be there now. When I finally reached the long trek to the shelter I met a girl similar to me who was the same age. Her name was Lucy. When I registered in at the front desk I found out I was in dormitory 2, which by coincidence was also Lucy’s dormitory too. When the bell rang I knew it was time to eat, me and Lucy ran downstairs like the rest of the people there. We entered the lunchroom and it was packed full.
There was usually 10 massive tables in the room, but the people running the shelter must have known there was going to be more today, seeing as it’s not just any old day it’s Christmas day. I collected my plastic plate from a big pile on a shelf to the left of the canteen, I took it over to the 1st woman there and I held it out. Two small, round undercooked what looked like potatoes were put onto my plate. When I moved to the 2nd woman she was a chubby woman with a big wart on her nose, she was giving out slices of chicken, she was a snob as she seemed to be smirking at everyone as they walked past her.
She thought we were all so inferior to her. She looked at me, scanned my face carefully for a second or two then put a small brown piece of chicken or turkey, whatever it was, on my plate. As I moved on to get some carrots I noticed Lucy sitting at a table to my right. I decided to join her, as I got my few thin carrots I slowly walked over to her and sat down, I began eating my dinner with my hands as I could eat it much faster than with the plastic knives and forks provided, I was ravenous.
A Rather short man came over to our table with a silver trolley and brown plastic wheels, he put one of the many plates her had on our table. Everyone grabbed what was on the plate before anyone had a chance to see what was there. I put my hands in the rabble anyway. I managed to get 2 small smashed up Yorkshire puddings. By this time all of them had gone, and when I looked at Lucy she was disappointed because she didn’t get there in time. I looked down at my food. Looked up at my Yorkshire puddings and handed one to Lucy.
She looked up and smiled and continued eating. After the grand meal we all got thrown out the shelter until 9 that night. As I walked out of the shelter a young lad no more than 11 or 12 put what seemed to be an ultra-violet stamp on my hand. I stopped in my tracks and asked, “what happens if it washes off, will we be able to get back in? ” the boy paused, then laughed, raised one eyebrow and said, “fat chance of that happening love” and with that he instantly looked away. I came back to the shelter at 9.
Lucy was no-where to be seen, but I didn’t worry, I had bigger things to think about which made me really excited. Like the hot shower I was about to have. After my cold shower (there was no hot water) I felt great. I got snuggled up in bed and went straight to sleep. It felt strange having a big dormitory as my bedroom and I wasn’t used to it. It was weird knowing I didn’t have my own space. But it was so much better than outside in my cardboard box. I started to reminisce, and I started thinking about my old bedroom, how nice it was. How much I would want to be back home again, with my family.