A Place To Live
Squatting down in the shop’s doorway, wrapped in a tatty pink blanket, the youth, pale faced, stares out unblinking as if pedestrians passing by are invisible.
But he is aware of his dog curled into a contented ball of brown and black fur, sleeping beside him and he constantly strokes the mongrel’s bullet shaped head in the knowledge that, despite their feral existence, they are both constant in each other lives.
The glazed stare of the youth is looking outwards, past rushing legs, to a place where he once lived; a place he fled from at the age of fourteen and, as he thinks about that place, a woman, one hundred and three miles away, studies a cherished photograph of her only son.
From the next room, she hears the TV blaring out a sports programme and knows, without checking, that her husband sleeps on the sofa after a hard day’s drinking.
She traces a finger across the image of her child, all neat and clean in his school uniform and, as she looks at the photograph, her tears fall, blurring the smile on his thirteen year old face. But she’s glad that her child has escaped from the fists that daily rained down on them and she prays that her child now lives in a better place.
Suddenly the TV goes off and an ominous silence has her sliding the photograph under the newspaper. Then the sound of her husband’s lurching steps approach making her wince but, remaining seated, she waits for his fury to begin.