Everyone sees homeless people, whether we acknowledge them or not. Often we walk past them clinging to our shopping bags, or burying our hands deeper into our pockets.
Every town and city has them, the scruffy shadows that we ignore every day.
Often when I would pass them I’d wonder how they’d found themselves sitting on doorsteps, or hiding in the corners of urban life. For a spilt second I would wonder what I could do, or how I could help. And then as soon as I was past them I’d continue thinking about me, and my life.
I never, ever imagined that one day I would be classed as homeless. Sleeping rough. Accepting the kindness of strangers to get by.
Life is full of decisions, some simple – what’s for dinner tonight? what should I wear on Saturday? What programme shall I watch this evening ?
Some a little tougher – What career do I want ? When should I worry about a pension ? When should I get a mortgage ?
It’s funny how the smaller decisions can seem so much more important, and yet the tougher decisions are what carve our way in life.
I always thought that decisions were like standing at a fork in the road, you can choose the right path, with good decisions and choices. Or you can choose to take the wrong path, and end up making a series of mistakes. Either way, your choices are your responsibility. And in a naive way, I always thought that people that made the wrong choices were doing it on purpose.
It was at our health spa, in the Jacuzzi (of all places!) that we found ourselves at a fork in the road.
‘Do we stay, or do we go?’ Ryan asked me.
‘ I don’t knowwwwww..’ I replied.
He swam over to me, and really looked at me. I mean really looked.
‘Aren’t we just being a little melodramatic ?’ I asked breaking his gaze.
At that moment, the jets stopped, which plunged the pool – and whole room into a strange silence.
Ryan took a moment and I mulled things over as well.
We were deciding whether to leave our jobs, our ‘home’, pack everything we could into the car – and just drive away. People talk about it all the time don’t they ? Just leave all your problems behind and start afresh.
It seems like a pipe dream to most, but here we were, really talking about it.
There was a dangerous, exciting atmosphere in the air.
The feeling you get when something life changing could be about to happen.
I thought about it some more.
‘ I’m not happy here. I hate it.’
My words hung in the air.
Ryan turned towards me again, sending ripples through the water.
‘ Me too.’ He sighed.
‘We’ve got the money. We could do it.’
We COULD do it. I thought, biting my lip.
‘ Lets do it then. Me and you. Let’s go…’