The nights are cold and long. The minutes tick by slowly: tick, tick, tick... It takes an eternity for one measly hour to pass. Tonight will be another hard night, with little sleep. Huddled under a bridge, knees tucked up to the chin, hands stuffed under armpits for warmth. This is not how a Tuesday night should be spent. Hunched over in the darkness; aching joints, stiff legs, the wind whips around the bridge pillar that presses cold against your back. At least the road overhead keeps the rain away.
Through the constant rumble of the traffic above, sitting in the dirt and the filth, you wait for dawn. But when it comes the strong beams of light barely penetrate your soul. You are thankful for only one thing - that you weren’t harassed by drugged-up strangers in the night. You don’t even count being alive as a blessing, it’s hard to be thankful for life when no-one would notice if you were gone.
Slowly you unfurl your legs, trying to massage away the damp cold that settled in overnight. There is no joy to be taken in the chirping morning bird song. It is merely a stark reminder that you are alone. No-one is here to wish you good morning. No-one looks for you during the day. No-one is thinking about you at all. You are worth nothing. And you will never be anything.
Feeling insignificant and worthless sits deep within your bones. Your mind drifts back to the countless times that Dad called you pathetic. The way he scorned your requests for help as Mum stubbed cigarettes out in your arms. Her eyes filled with hate.
Stinging tears stain your cheeks as you think of them. Home is no longer a place for you. It is a construct, a fictitious environment dreamt up by strangers living happier lives. Yours is desolate, decaying shell, housing vicious people who you cannot trust, to which you will never return.
You step out from under the bridge and into the wind. You have no school or workplace to go to. You have one objective for the day… Where will you hide tonight? Where will you hide from the weather and the volatile people that angrily roam the streets?
When will your life turn around?
Countless numbers of young people that Open Family Australia support have lived this very experience. Your donation will help us deliver young people into safety, housing, education and employment. Please donate today.
Open Family Australia
155 Roden Street
West Melbourne VIC 3003
T. 1300 669 600