Homeless in Shepherd’s Bush, 1972
Damn, it’s cold tonight! My bloodless fingers fumble the string as I tie my dog to the railing. “Stay, Sam!” I say.
Traffic’s heavy, but the bright shop window lures me across the road. Get a few minutes in the warm, and a bottle of something to stop me feeling the chill. The traffic lights glare frosty green; a car horn blares as I stumble.
The shopkeeper looks about seventeen, with pimples and sparse curly hair. He keeps watching me.
It takes me a few minutes to find the cheapest vodka, a few more to count out coins from my battered purse and then I’m out of excuses to stay in the precious warmth.
Vehicle headlights swerve past me, too bright, too fast. I trip as I mount the kerb, skinning both knees. Sam barks. I shuffle cardboard sheets into a crude shelter, cuddle Sam, and open the bottle.