Five in the afternoon, already darkness creeping in, and the wind is starting up. Winter in this city is milder than some, but the cement never warms in the day’s sun. The temperatures are low, even though the sun shines here practically every day.
I have a few items that render some warmth. An old yoga mat someone threw in the bin helps a lot against the chill of the pavement. A salvaged length of canvas from a discarded tent provides shelter from the wind. The scent of it being soaked from rain brings back memories of my youth, camping with my folks.
I wipe tears from my tired eyes as these memories of happiness drift in and out of my mind. I pull the worn blanket over my head and try to forget those things. I try to hide them away for they do me no good. Sleep doesn’t come easily when you have to be aware, every minute, aware of where you are, who might be approaching.
I never feel really safe. The library where I wash at night and in the morning has uniformed guards inside. I do feel safe there, for a time. At ten they close and the brief warm respite of clean safety ends. I retreat to a familiar partially hidden hallway to spend the remainder of the night. It is cold, but dry, and as much shelter as I can afford. I shall be grateful to wake to the sun another time. I am homeless but I am alive.