As I walked through the cold, lonely streets of Melbourne, I decided to take the shortcut home. Making a sharp left, I began to head towards the alleyway, which was dull and sinister.
The only sound came from my own feet dragging over rocks and pebbles on the cement. The breeze was very vigorous and piercing upon my body feeling like needles hammering into my flesh
From somewhere in the distance I sensed movement and as I progressed closer I could see a man, I began to feel anxious. The first thing I observed about him was his clothes. He was dressed in a dirty printed t-shirt, a pair of old shoes, shorts firmly at his knees held up by a black rusty belt, buckled loosely around his bony hips. He was short, skinny and bow-legged, he had white hair and small ringed cobalt eyes, and what frequently goes with such things.
He sat on a dirty rustic metal box that was on the ground, hugging his knees close to his chest to protect himself from the cold. His eyes gazed and never left the pile of empty beer cans, which lay two feet away in front of him. The only movement was his constant and continuous shivering. I looked down from a distance to see a bent piece of cardboard reading aiutami meaning help me in Italian healed in his swollen, bubbly blistered hands. I couldn’t understand what was going on and what this man was doing. Could he be homeless?
My life was never surrounded by people who sat across the streets with signs asking for help. I lived in the city with my parents in a luxurious house and a high-end car. The house had windows that were so large it reminded me of a storefront, it’s glazed crystal clear that the view is like a high definition screen at the movie theatres. This is now all like a dream after my father passed away and we moved to this more affordable town my life has changed dramatically.
I was frightened by this man. I’ve never witnessed somebody who sits so still under such conditions. Splashed over his face was a thin blood liquid, I didn’t know if it had belonged to him or to somebody else. The sensation of panic began to rise in my chest; so many thoughts were going through my mind.
Taking two more steps closer to this man I discover the pungent scents of burning and alcohol from a pile of cigarettes and an empty bottle of whiskey. The light from the moon glared onto the side of his face, which was still fresh with a bit of blood running down his noise. As painful as it looked it didn’t seem to bother him at all.
I tried walking down the rest of the alleyway but something inside me made me feel bad for this lonely old man. I took the final steps towards him, slowly and cautiously, and stood directly in front of him, I took out some money and placed it in the cup, he lifted his head for the first time and looked straight at me. His face was filled with joy and excitement, I then unexpectedly heard a low rumbling sound delicately whispering “Grazie Bella”.