Bohemia Village Voice  Bohemia Village Voice

For bohemians everywhere

Claire Hitchings

Past and Present

He felt the sand between his toes and the hot sun on his newly-suntanned body.
He’d also become toned and begun to be noticed. His clothes and shoes were all designer, no expense was spared. He stayed in the best hotels, had the most comfortable beds with the warmest covers and raging, real wood fires if it turned cold. He organised and appeared at the best parties and was seen as the most eligible bachelor in town.
The lottery win had dramatically changed his life. Gone were the days of getting wet in the rain and having to shelter in a shop doorway. Now he could get wet in the sea and dry out in minutes on the beach. He could eat and drink when and where he wanted, no matter how much it cost. He could go anywhere, as before, but now he had the respect to go with it. People went out of their way to say hello to him. He’d become suave, sophisticated, important, and everyone wanted to be connected with him, in one way or another. For once he was liked and he liked the euphoric feeling it gave him.
He was completely satisfied, and wanted to feel like that forever. He never wanted to step into the shoes he had left behind, back when he was frowned upon and when he wasn’t given the time of day. But now he was the centre of attention.
The sound of the waves splashing against the rocks brought his attention back to the hot sandy beach he was on. The salty breeze messing up his neatly groomed hair blew away the sad feelings and memories he had seconds before. He now had time to plan what he wanted to do with his life. All the places he used to dream of, he could go to, and how long for, it didn’t matter, as no one would have really missed him.
He didn’t have any friends that he really remembered, not before his circumstances changed, anyway. He didn’t see his family; he had been alone for years. Now he was surrounded by people, he felt wanted even though it was only for the money.
He liked having people to talk to and he liked the feeling of being treated like a human being for once. He didn’t have to answer to anyone and he could start to make right all the wrongs in his life. He wanted to settle down sometime with a nice home, get married, and maybe have children, be part of a proper family. Maybe get a small job and meet new people, who didn’t need to know about his past.
The sea spray splashed on his face as he walked past the rocks, it felt cool but as he wiped away the spray he realised that the dirty handkerchief he used brought him to his senses and he woke. It was the rain, falling on him while he slept, and not the wonderful warm sea spray he had been dreaming about.
The few belongings he had were still where he’d left them, which was surprising for his neighbourhood. His clothes were all wet and rags. His shoes full of holes, and his hair matted and greasy. His bed was just cardboard; the communal fire in a bin nearby was keeping the cold at bay. The extra money he’d acquired in his tin can while he slept may buy him a hot drink but as for the lottery ticket someone had left, he could only dream.

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