And it is cold. And it is wet, but it is the only place I can breathe.
I am dressed inappropriately for the weather, and my hands feel heavy and strange.
Nervous, I am scanning the dark, looking for somewhere to go.
I am shifting my eyes across the people around me.
I am hoping, without any sense, for a familiar face or even an intelligible sound.
It doesn’t come. It never does.
I am humming a tune on a boulder, swaying back and forth.
Someone practices wheelies and donuts on their scooter in the car park ahead of me.
I walk, my feet and legs grow heavy, so I stop.
I am curled on the floor, near a worksite.
The cold of the gravel pressed into my leg begins to burn.
I cry, I know then that I am not dreaming.
I hear my breathing against the hum of traffic.
Steadily I am inhaling, exhaling.
Eyes open in the dark.
I am clutching my jacket, I am waiting to fall asleep.
I think of my daughter and my son, of their little faces and christmas lights.
I sit up.
Don’t let them win.
I sit on the cold steps, and I wait.
I clutch my carrier bag of useless things and hope the clock moves faster.
It’s Christmas Day.
All I have to do is wait.