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Updated: Mar 12, 2023

A woman sat atop the stairs of the train station as I made my way southward.

She had a blanket wrapped around her shoulders and rocked back and forth. Her nose was red, and her eyes were closed.

I watched her as I walked past. Heart wanting to fetch her inside, into the warmth. Mind anxious of what to say.

Ultimately, I had not made my mind up by the time I was stepping into the stations JD Spoons.

I found myself purchasing a mochaccino for £0.99 and sitting besides a heater. A just punishment for my lack of willing to help improve that poor woman’s day. All around me sat people isolated by their headphones and booths. All around me sat people who had done as I had done and decided to leave that poor woman out there in the cold. £0.99 for a mochaccino and a seat next to a heater whilst someone froze outside.

It got me to thinking of the phrases so often chucked around: “Evil succeeds when good men do nothing”. “One small act of kindness does the world a great deal of good”.

These phrases rang around the noggin throughout the duration of my mochaccino. Taunting me if you like. Begging the question, how do I rectify this that I’m feeling. Alas, I decided to step outside and see if anything stirred in me. Even if I could get her inside for just a moment and warm her bones.

She was not there. Not anymore. Deliberation and hesitation led to a failure of duty.

Defeated by an unruly anxiety to just say “Hey you, come on inside, I’ll get you a drink and find you a space by the fire”.

I find refuge in the fact that it was not just me. A sad, lonely refuge that does more harm in the long term. A sad quick fix to satiate my conscience.

I’ve no idea why I’m writing this. It feels vampiric. Feeding of this woman’s misfortune for my own creative needs. Part inspired by Kizzy’s piece on a man in her pub. Wanting to write something similar in a way – Why? Again, I know not.

Yet with this experience comes the coffin nail. The dull thud of a hammer that reminds me of how cowardly this writing experience can be. To steal experiences from others and use as our own. Or even to seek out these experiences for the sole purpose of putting them onto paper or screen. A cowardly and selfish act that has very little meaning.

Creativity can be a leach. Waiting in the dark damp areas of life needing to feed. Needing to “create”. The artist does not create, it only takes what is not theirs and justifies it to the world. The artist does not care. The artist only feeds.

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