Gavin

My name’s Gavin. I’m 38 years of age.

The situation arose through breakdown of relations at home, however, erm, through the situation I realised that I was living in a situation that was very broken for quite some time. For years. Erm however, when you’re busy, you get up, you go to work, you get home, you go to bed, you get up and you go to work, you have a day off in lieu, and you’re recovering from that day off in lieu, so you’re in bed, you don’t really have time to be aware of the environment, what type of environment you’re living in, because you just want to rest.

And when I found myself homeless I felt very low, in the sense of, the expression would be: ‘scum’. And I reflected on times when I’d walked through the city centre, and I’d walked past homeless people. I’ve given homeless people money at times, erm, but never actually thought that that could be me. Never. I always assumed that people who were homeless, they could not manage their life well, because they have drug problems, or they have drink problems. They’re not social people.

I found myself in Manchester city centre at some stupid o’clock hours in the morning, about four, three o’clock, after leaving a 24–7 McDonalds on Oxford Road, and that’s because you cannot sleep in there. You can stay in there by all means, but you cannot fall asleep, although I did master a way of falling asleep and it looks like I’m reading a newspaper, but it’s not really sleep.

And then you leave there, you think, ‘I’m really tired, I want to sleep’, and you find yourself standing in places where you normally stand there just to have a cigarette. That’s where… These spots, I would actually stand there normally just to have a cigarette and then get on with whatever I’m doing. Well, I found myself stood at spots thinking, ‘Well, there’s shelter here. I’m really tired, I want to sleep.’

And it was through pride that I would not actually get my sleeping bag out and sleep on the floor, because I know normally I stand here and I have a cigarette, ten minutes max and I’m gone. I just couldn’t cope with that. That alone made me feel so low, that I’m actually looking around Manchester city centre to find places to actually sleep.

And that particular night I thought, ’Bloody hell. Wouldn’t it be bonkers if I was inside the museum right now?’ And the ironic thing is… That was on a Friday night, the Saturday I actually went to Central Library to just jump on a computer, and I fell asleep. And I woke up, and it was dark, and I thought, ‘What’s going on here?’ I thought, ‘Am I dead? Have I died?’ And the spotlight came on, and I was inside Central Library, and they missed me, they didn’t see me, and I ended up locked inside Central Library, Saturday night. I didn’t get out until Sunday about ten o’clock at night, and that was security, as well as police.

And at the time I was in such shock, thinking that ‘I’m inside a flaming library for God’s sakes, what am I going to do?’ I couldn’t even eat the food that I had brought, erm, I couldn’t eat it. And I had loads of tea, loads of dandelion and burdock, lemonade, and crisps, raiding the cafe downstairs, er, and finding a way to actually charge up my mobile phone, and I thought, ‘I’m in a really grim situation here, this is rubbish.’

Sunday morning, I went down to the café and there was somebody looking through the window, and I just stood there, like, ‘Hello?’ Like, I’m not going to run or anything. I’m like, he just stood there and looked at me and I felt even more low. I felt like, well I must be nothing, Like I’m invisible or something like that, you know.

I’m walking around this library, trying to find a way to actually get out of it during Sunday day time, and it’s like Fort Knox, cannot get out the library. So I’m thinking, ‘As soon as I find a way to charge my phone, I’m going to be phoning the police to get me the hell out of here. There’s no way I’m waking up to staff. The shame. The shame. I could never come in this library again, if staff actually come in here, Monday morning: scream.

Oh yeah, they know it’s me so when I actually go there in the future… I’ve been a member of Central Library from about, oh, easily twenty years if not longer, longer than twenty years actually, over twenty years, about twenty-three years I’ve been a member there for, but I could never go in that library again, because they would know that I’m the person who got trapped inside the library. And I’ve got my sleeping bag with me, so they’re going to know that I’m homeless. And I just could not have anybody knowing that.

And everybody in life, besides wanting to be loved, they want to feel safe. And I believe everybody has the right to feel safe. And I think a lot of people in the world, they know they’re not in a safe environment, they don’t feel safe, but they just bluff it.

I used to work in a very affluent section of sales, within the finance sector, for quite some years. In the banking sector. So I’ve had these types of jobs that people have, who have families. But I was like, 22 when I began these type of jobs and I finished when I was 32, so I gave it a… I had a longer run, and that’s why I never really had time to socialise. I’d start at one o’clock in the afternoon and finish at nine o’clock at night in most of these jobs, when I’m working in the Wythenshawe area, Warrington, or whether I’m working in the Chester area.

So, I’ve had that type of work ethic, and when you find out that you’re being made redundant on the news, and you find out that Lloyds banking group has saved the bank that you work for, but nobody’s told you about it, then you realise that you’re just a number. You’re not an individual.

I’m the man you see when you punks no longer need food nor sleep.

I’m the man you see all the time, because I remind you of time, as I appeared unto you straight after time decided to,

pass one over and leave you behind.

Ever since your mother held her stomach and cried,

yelling like a banshee,

I knew you were mine.

No more raves, bitches, or chicks.

I knew you just wanted to heave, be sick.

Too late, my dear, you’re in the company of the wolves,

who won’t be forced to live amongst and trust.

Living one’s life for another.

Shame on you, I have a smug grin,

for what you did is the oldest sin.

I keep my grin safe in my head,

While I sit at the edge of your bed,

watching your body lying there,

You crying, dying, mind in despair,

thinking, ‘Life is not fair.’

I swear, you even began to swear.