Cliff diving and the homeless man…again

I jumped off a cliff yesterday & I’d like to offer you the opportunity to join me doing the same later this year!

I didn’t. Well, I did jump…but not off a cliff. And although I have no plans to go cliff-diving this year, if you do and fancy allowing me to tag along then please get in touch!!

I just wanted the shock value really, an attention-grabber to grab your attention in the same way this did just now:

I saw a homeless man chilling on his undressed duvet in the sun reading.

I know. Of course lots of homeless people can read. Lots had jobs, families, money before… But I was genuinely intrigued to find out what he was reading.

He was engrossed.

So I stopped to ask. Here’s what I learned from our conversation.

His name is Simon.

Simon enjoys reading crime and thriller novels.

He’s a chef.

He attributes his homelessness to losing his Mum fourteen years ago at the age of 14.

He’s been on and off the streets for 14 years, his most recent reason for returning to the streets being his partner who left him and took his young daughter away.

He doesn’t know where his daughter is.

He is a trained chef.

He applies for housing daily. He was there this morning.

You can’t receive benefits without a fixed abode address.

A few weeks ago he stumbled and landed on his right hand with a glass bottle in it. He has his hand in a fresh bandage.

He can’t feel his fingers properly.

He fears he may not be able to work as a chef again.

I told him to go back to a&e.

He says he’s having surgery on it soon.

That final word made me feel slightly more hopeful.

So I left him to his reading in the sunshine and, without fully considering my words, said: “See you around here soon maybe “.

Then I stopped and retorted, “Actually, I hope I don’t see you around here again!”

That’s probably the only time I’d say that to another human with a positive tone and meaning behind it.

I hope I don’t see him there again.

My name is Abigail.

That’s been my first full, in-depth(ish) conversation with a homeless person.

I don’t know why but I just wanted to share. Just because…

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