He stood in the checkout queue just before me . With a big , goofy grin , stubbly and simple , he glanced about , laughing to himself and jerking . Like everyone else , I avoided eye-contact .
His turn came , the girl asked for 60 cents , he turned over a few coins in his hand and held them out . She took three 20 cent coins , rang it up and thanked him, wishing him a pleasant weekend , and off he shuffled .
I paid for the couple of last minute bits and pieces I'd picked up and went out to collect my bike .
He was perched awkwardly on the bike rack , opening the packet of cheap luncheon meat he'd bought . He sniffed it nervously and peered at the label .
"Mevrouw? Can I ask something ? What day is it ?"
"Saturday". Then I realised that he needed the date .
"It's the 30th ." He peered again at the label .
"Can I help you? ", I had to ask and went over .
The sell by date was in August so I could reassure him it was good . But what was he going to eat it with ?
"Wouldn't you like some bread with it?", offering him the only thing I had that roughly corresponded .... raisin bread .
"Oh , no . I have bread "and he smiled happily . He opened his tatty plastic bag and showed me two curling slices of the cheapest supermarket bread , resting on top of some old clothes .
I wished him Bon Appetit and left him tucking in to his feast . But I should have taken him home .... he was just a not very bright three-year old , lost until the homeless hostel opened again at 6.
Today , while waiting in our accountant's reception area , I noticed a defibrillator on the wall .
Hanging On No More
2 days ago