Let ‘im have it

I stepped off the train and strode out of the station. There was a large dog by the kerb and a man with a guitar sitting on the step next to a stinking mattress and tangled sleeping bag. He roughly strummed the instrument.  “You’re only ever 3 missed mortgage payments away from being homeless.” he sang. 

 

His fingers grated over the strings again.  “You’re only ever 3 missed mortgage payments away from being homeless.”  That was his song.  Sobering thought. It’s that close. 

It reminded me of an interview when a homeless person said that actually living on the street was easy compared to thinking about how he came to be there. 

I’m back in Cardiff, which is maybe my favourite city, and head down one of the arcades to sit in a coffee shop. I never know exactly which arcade I am in, or which coffee shop I will chose. I select a tea and sit by the window. Across the pavement is the Skate Shop I was looking for. Cardiff is my favourite city!

I saw a middle-aged mother (who had tried to dress herself twenty years younger) being led into the Skate Shop by her son who would be twelve. Or thirteen. He had a trendy haircut, designer label jacket, expensive jeans and collectable runners.

After my tea, during which I had begun to fill my new diary, to make it mine, I crossed the flagstones and went into the Skate Shop. Both shop assistants were talking to customers – a bearded man was busy with Mother and Son. Granny was there too. Strange, I hadn’t notice her enter the shop.

“You’ve selected the most expensive deck and bars in the shop – six hundred and ninety pounds. It’s up to you of course but we like to give our customers the best advice and my advice is you could do nearly as well for a lot less money.” Beard Man said to the Family.

“Did you hear that Janet, maybe he should ‘ave one of the others, there’s lots of different colours…” said Granny.

“I dunno, what d’you think my love?”

“I want this one.”

“Okay but that one on the middle shelf, for the deck and bars, is two-hundred-and-twenty. It’s the best value in the shop, the best value you’ll find anywhere. We sell a lot of those.” tried Beard Man Shop Assistant again. He was really earning his title.

“I want this one.”

“Let ‘im ‘ave it.” 

“But Janet ‘ee could ‘ave tha’ blue one for two ‘undred and twenty pound.”

“I want this one.”

“Let ‘im ‘ave it.”

It had been an overcast morning, the damp cold was in my bones. But in the afternoon, when I heard the drum, the street was bathed in sun. I sat on the bench and watched a man in a lime green suit, his orange hair blowing in the wind, hit his junior kit with every ounce of energy and experience in his being. It was primal. It made me smile wide. When he finished, exhausted, I stood and cheered (unlike me to do that). Next to his hat there was a sign;

Any requests?

You want to play?

Rhythm is life.

By mattpadwick

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