Last night while waiting for the bus home in the bitter cold we were joined by a singing stranger. A large man with glasses askew on his face, a woollen hat pulled down over his head, covering his ears. He was drunk and came close for a chat. A bit too close really. He sang and talked at us and left then to stand defiantly in front of a bus at traffic lights, eventually moving when the light was green, coming back the way he had just gone, to our bus stop. He talked for a while at a man at the bus stop, the man on high alert, wanting to get rid of the guy asap and I remarked to my companion that if he didn’t leave him soon, he was likely to get a loaf on the head.
He came back to us then, carrying a book which he asked me to put inside his backpack. I can only assume that the backpack contained his worldly goods though it was a clean backpack, unworn. I put it in his bag for him, noting the gash on his forehead, newly stitched and the trail of snot running down under his nose. He came close again to sing another song and then to try and hug me and tell me he loved me. My companion took me by the elbow and manoeuvred me swiftly towards the bus which was thankfully coming round the corner. He asked if I could give him a few shillings and despite the cold of the night and the fact that he was obviously in need, I told him I had only my bus fare and that I couldn’t help him. He even got on the bus with us but was given the bum’s rush by the driver and bumbled off to sing at more strangers probably long into the night until he sang himself sober or found somewhere to sleep.