Right outside Chalk Farm Station, a few metres away from the Salvation Army, he sits and lives, half drunk, half awake, whispering loudly to the heels of overpaid pedestrians, "spare some change please?" He asks knowing full well that they could. He begs knowing that most of them won't. He sits and lives, covered in semen-stained blankets, once white, now a shade of light grey, the same tinge of colour he wakes up under every morning of the year.
But he never looks up. I have never really seen the colour of his eyes, but if I did, they would probably be grey too; a direct reflection of the buildings in this city. He never looks up, doesn't do eye contact, like that little kid inside each one of us who accidentally broke his mother's porcelain vase when she wasn't looking. There's one difference though: this isn't accidental. Or is it? How does someone end up like this, in a corner, with dirty hands, downing litres of booze, licking and rolling marijuana joints, begging for money just so he can buy more booze and more joints? Is this the kind of unsettling desperation that he was forced to stoop down to? Probably, but what does that say about the rest of us? How do we sleep at night, tucked in bed, on overpriced memory foam mattresses (or whatever bullshit companies sell these days), knowing there is a homeless man right around the corner, shivering in the cruel cold, with only the pavement floor to support this back?
He lives right outside Chalk Farm Station, a few metres away from the Salvation Army. Ironically, he has never been saved nor protected from harm. I doubt he ever will. He lives right around the corner, and I see him everyday. Sometimes, I buy him a sandwich and a meal deal just so I can see him smile, but he doesn't. Then again, why should he?