Eric Saldanha pre-loader

The grass is always greener on the other side

The following is a brief excerpt into the contrasting hypothesized lives of two people, one housed and one experiencing homelessness. They both are living in the same world, in the same pandemic, from two different perspectives. The human spirit is strong, yet our more average days often brings out our frustrations.

These excerpts are based on actual stories from real people. Every sentence is followed by the alternate perspective.

I overslept as usual, as my curtains were drawn, and my room was dark; time doesn’t seem to mean anything anymore. Unable to sleep any longer with the sun directly on my face, I tried to open my umbrella for some shade, to rest a little longer.

I got up, freshened up, and sifted through my wardrobe, wondering if it was even worth it to change my clothes. I dusted off my pair of socks, which should last through the week, if the weather holds up.

As I sat in my kitchen with my coffee and toast, I struggled to remember which day it was. But I knew that if I left soon, I’d be able to catch the free Saturday breakfast at St. John on Bethnal Green, one meal I wouldn’t want to miss.

The morning rolled on, and I begrudgingly began the zoom calls for the day. Having no way to contact anyone, I was unsure if I was allotted a hotel room to stay.

I thought I would brave the half-hour long queue, to pop into Tesco, to make something nice for dinner. Sometimes, it takes so long to get in, but with everything else shut, there was no other toilet available.

I overturned the house, to look for my missing wallet yet again; it is a wonder how I keep losing things, when I barely leave these four walls. It goes to show you can never be too careful, I learnt that the hard way, when not a week on the streets, I had my phone and blanket stolen from me.

By evening, I was exhausted from talking to people through screens. It can drive you mad to be endlessly waiting in limbo, for a key worker to approach you with good news.

Probably the worst part about the lockdown though, is staying away from everyone. With no way to wash my hands every time I come in contact with someone or something, I must be hyper-vigilant and keep my distance.

I had never thought the day would come, that I would be bored of Netflix, Instagram and YouTube. But it feels just like a ghost town, with no friendly faces to talk to, and nothing really to keep you occupied.

As the sun was setting, I started to miss going across town to catch up with friends, outside a pub, in the chilly night air. I was lucky to ride the night bus – not being a key worker, I am often refused – but with a little money in my oyster, I could have a roof over my head.

Not realising it was already way past midnight, due to longer days, I was left with just a few hours of sleep before the first call in the morning. At least by then I had found an entrance to a shop that had not been boarded up, so I could have some semi-sheltered sleep before dawn.