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Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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True grit

October 01 2022

Enduring a difficult time struggling with alcohol misuse and sleeping rough, Rosie took solace in inner-strength and a stranger’s support. By Rosie Healey

Unable to focus on the world around me, I attempted to study the maze of featureless buildings. Above me, birds flew in packs of violent gangs. Nothing but a canopy of clouds leaking acid rain over my weakened body. My Disney dreams were not of a fairy-tale ending. Inside, I felt as dead as Bambi’s mum, often fantasising of a quick, clean bullet putting me to rest. But instead, I chose a patient, torturous death.

In the reflection of a distorted puddle, disturbed by the faceless nine-to-fivers rushing past, I raised my icy fingers to my dirty hair, desperate to feel normal. Layer upon layer of London’s city grime, the dirt attacked my tongue. Coins rained down, alongside an upturned face from the floor. The bricks, so cold, not even my shadow could bare to lean on them. Just another empty shell, stuck in the streets of Euston.

The darkness drew in, embracing and cuddling me. A cardboard box would have been one of life’s luxuries, as the only roof above this girl’s head was the sky. The leaves seemed to whisper, everything whispered in this mind. In the park, I took a broken, well-used Martell bottle wrapped in an old newspaper, which then became one with sore, blooded lips. I inhaled the fumes that had kept me in chains, then exhaled all the pain, frozen by the numbing air. Taking turns to rest one eye, and then the other, the rush of poison settled in. Warming the body of the girl who cries all by herself.

Ice-tipped grass pierced my cheek, as the muffled sound of sirens rang in my ear. In an impaired line of vision, swings were abandoned, pushed back and forth by the breeze. Brushing off the gravel that had become a part of my jeans, I walked over to the childless swing. A new day of non-existence, shivering in my fever; ready to face the day ahead.

I returned to the gloomy puddle that waited outside the hotel for me every day. A pair of shoes stood directly in front of me, only this time they were not moving along. I looked up and there a woman stood. She had a softness to her face that comforted me. She reached out her hand and asked me if I wanted a new way of life. I mean I did, I just didn’t know how. My life was the streets and escaping reality. She asked me if I would like to go to a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous with her. I wanted to say no, but the glow in her eyes were somewhat mesmerising, like there was light in them. That’s what I wanted. I said yes, and my life changed forever.