In a corner just a few steps away from a London tube station, surrounded by tons of newspapers he likes to read, with half his life in two suitcases and a bunch of plastic bags as pillow lives Simon. A good guy, a funny accent, small glasses and loads of stories to tell if you only stop and say: ‘hello’!
You find him there alone, sitting on his stuff, pen and paper in his hands, writing down his thoughts to pass the time. He’s always very kind and smiley and talking to him is pretty much like being hit by a storm of words. I usually meet him on Saturday afternoon when, equipped with sandwiches and drinks, I reach the homeless down the streets of London, with my friends from Sant'Egidio.
When we arrive at his ‘place’, he stops whatever he’s doing to greet us and grab his apple juice - we know what drinks he likes now - and his goodie bag. But food is definitely not the reason why he comes forward: it’s rather the friendship we built with him.
We spend some time chatting: he can start talking about music and ends with politics or football, I don’t even remember how we ended up singing together once but now I do know that there’s always a song to sing with him.
I like to think he is an undercover writer, someone who needs to feel the wind on his face and look at the stars before sleeping, someone who lives on the street in search for inspiration for his poetry (rather than someone in search for a house). And I try to convince myself he will finish his book soon and go back to his ‘normal and boring’ life, where a house, a family, a ‘Sunday roast’ wait for him.
But deep inside I perfectly know that it is not true. So I always have a great reason to wait for the next Saturday and sing with my friend Simon, bringing my guitar maybe, to make his day.
I know, at the end, he has made mine.