Creative Writing, Flash Fiction, Journal Log's

Dear London,

Dear London,

Winter is just around the corner, but as the days slowly pass by it feels as though it is here, as though it has been here forever. I cant feel my ears, my fingers and thumbs or my toes and partly that is my fault. I dared to fall asleep for just a moment. In that moment a silent bandit came upon me and took my hat and my shoes right off of my body. I know, I know, that sounds unbelievable right? But when your entire body is as numb as an icecube with nothing but a a shirt and jeans to keep it from melting into oblivion, I’m telling you, you cannot feel the touch of another’s human hands.

The rain and winds throughout the day are difficult. I do wonder if I am invisible sometimes. I often get cigarette butts flicked to me. Not out of generosity or nothing, I don’t smoke. It is probably by accident, or out of ignorance. Rarely do I get the odd angel who gives me a food voucher or some change. That’s nice.

One time I popped into McDonald’s on the Strand for a cup of tea and a muffin and they told me I could only order if I agreed to get a take away. I turned around and pointed into the rain. But that wasn’t convincing enough to them. ‘customers will complain’, they said. I laughed and left. At that time of the morning there were no customers.
I slipped into my already soaking wet sleeping bag and drank my tea.

I no longer have a sleeping bag though. A few weeks back when I left my stuff to go into a café and pee but came back I could not find my sleeping bag anywhere.

So now, I live without any provisions. I have been praying to God to help me, but then I realised… and this is why I write my plea. You are the answer to my prayers. You can help me. With what little you might have, you can help.

If you have a hat, I’d be pleased for it. If you have some spare socks that would be a dream come true. If you have, although its unlikely, an unused sleeping bag, that would be heaven.

If you’re unsure about what I might need or be grateful for just ask. I’d be happy to have a moment of your company. You can find me at the end of your road, and around the corner from your work, sometimes, I sit by the train station and the homeless person across the road from your gym, that’s me too.
I promise I am not pulling your leg, I am putting out my plea because I am in need. Please, please, help me as I endure a homeless winter.
Love, your fellow human

By Chaneen Salako
For the A Homeless Winter campaign 2014

Creative Writing, Flash Fiction, Journal Log's, Literature

A Daughter’s Advice

She told me I was so much more valuable than whatever it was I thought my worth was. Terrence didn’t think that though, or he wouldn’t have left. Apparently I’m supposed to take care of myself, and treat me like a princess and then others would too. When I love myself, and only then, will anyone else be able to love me. If I don’t love myself I don’t value myself and I won’t take any effort to maintain myself. Nobody else will. Apparently.

How am I supposed to do what she says? I’ve tried, I’ve been asked myself that everyday since she went back to uni. It’s all the same. I tried to love myself, I did my hair and nails two days ago, but it’s still the same.

I make myself sick sometimes. I hate looking in the mirror. I got rid of the mirror in the bathroom, because I have to go in there everyday and I just don’t need to see it. Terrence broke the mirror by the front-door, so the reflection it’s a little distorted. I see my face in three parts, it’s like a Cyclopes. No, not Cyclopes, the other one – with the extra eye. Anyway, I don’t care for that mirror, I’m familiar with all of my outfits now anyway.

She told me that my love should come from the inside. Haha, she has no idea how much fresh fruits and vegetables costs. I told her she was having a laugh. They won’t give me any more than 70 something pounds a week. I can’t afford to start loving myself from the inside. I told her that. Then she said that’s not what she means, she wouldn’t let me say anything more because she was in a rush. I’d have asked her how she does it. She’s so jolly all the time and she doesn’t even get 70 something pound a week. She lives in a house with other people. I’ve never gone to see her, but I can imagine. It must be disgusting. And she has this boyfriend, who worships the ground she walks on, apparently. She always gets awkward when I say it like that. Ha, she’s a weird weird being. I’ve never met her boyfriend, but he loves her and so I’m happy for her. I love her she’s my daughter, but I don’t understand why she’s allowed to live this bright pretty little life and I’m stuck here in this grand depressing squat.

She gave me a box once. It was tiny but she said in it was a love letter, some advice, some stories and some poetry. I’m guessing it was from this boyfriend of hers. God knows why she would give it to me. She’s trying to make me jealous. I know it. I shoved that shit under my bed! I ain’t interested. Always asking about it. ‘Have you opened the box yet, have you read the letter.. How you feeling today ma? Go read the letters…’ Neh neh neh.. On and on and on. It’s all she goes on about, it pisses me off. And if it’s not that she’s telling me I should do this and not that. I should think that and not this, I shouldn’t say things like that blah blah blah. Did she give birth to me? Am I missing something? Because this is bullshit!

The last time I wrote I cried, all night long. I ignored her calls, she called 33 times before I heard her come it. We sat up and I told her. I told her she pissed me off all the time, and I told her I was the mum and she needed to listen to me, not the other way round. She told me, I was not the mum, she was. I could have punched her. Thank God I didn’t, because what came next was what changed my life. She broke down, like crying, sobbing, bawling and anything else that relates. She never cried before that, I’m sure she stopped crying when she was twelve. I was shocked.

So eventually I opened that box. She nagged me so much that night. She was right; it might have been a small box. But it had everything I ever needed. It’s only been a few months since I last thought about not opening the box, but I’m glad that moment drove me to do so. My whole life has changed, and it will never be the same again. I got mirrors in almost every room. And I’ve thrown out the one Terrence broke and I’ve thrown him out too, but before I did I made a box for him, and hid it amongst his stuff. I’ve written a letter of my own to go with it. He didn’t like my new life. He didn’t like that I had a new love, or a new ‘everything’. But I do, and he couldn’t do anything about it.

I’ve also left a box for you to find. I urge you to open it. It’s helps ease the pain. Even if you don’t feel like your in a place of need. Oh and I’m moving house by the way. It was nice living here in this big house on Diedrich Avenue. It really was but I’m happy to move to a smaller flat on All Saints Way. My daughter and I. She said she will move back in with me. I’m so happy.

Here the box I’m leaving for you.
I’ve written on the spine of it ‘The Holy Bible’ so wherever you put it, you will be able to find it when you need to.

All the best, God bless

Renewe x