He has brown, dishevelled hair, swept back like it’s not seen a comb in a while. He has the most beautiful big brown eyes, with long eyelashes, that catch your eye every time he blinks and the chiselled chin of a model, yet hidden slightly with his unshaved stubble. “Can I give you a hand pet? ” said this boy, reaching towards me revealing an inch of his torso as his guns-and-roses t-shirt rode up. He hoisted me to my feet so I was standing with his arm around me. Now that we were face to face, I became very aware of how he looked and how I looked.
There is me – I am in frayed shorts with my stick thin, knobbly knees in laddered tights, my union jack t-shirt tucked into my shorts. My grubby red blazer is hanging over my shoulders, my blonde hair up in a messy ponytail with a head band. These were the clothes I was wearing the day I left my dad and these are the only clothes I have got. So with his eyes glistening beneath his eyelashes as he looked at me, I fumble around with myself in the hope that I could look a bit more, well … less homeless. “Hey, I’m Dylan. I couldn’t help but notice your poem book.
I love poetry,” he said. Dylan had a grin that could knock any girl off their feet without the help of a rude passerby, with his dimples making it even harder to stop myself from just staring at how beautiful he was. “You like poetry? Oh, but hey, I’m Hayley,” I said questioning whether I heard him correctly, while slightly inching away from him realising that I didn’t have any make up on. “You don’t have to sound so shocked Hayley,” laughed Dylan. But yes, I love poetry. It is the only thing that I can unload all my feelings in to.
Sounds soppy I know, but I have had a bad time this year. ”Anyway I do not need to justify myself to you, you must be a bit soppy to like poetry and by the slight matting of your hair, I’m sure your year hasn’t been all that great. You wanna’ sit? ” He spoke to me with so much comfort that I instantly relaxed and warmed too him. I think we had a bit more in common than that meets the eye. So as Dylan and I sat in the park people watching, I suddenly didn’t feel so alone. He made me feel like I wasn’t invisible anymore. He made me smile.
Dylan, wearing the cheeky smile I had so quickly come to love, said: “So come on, spit it out! Why is a girl like you on the harsh streets of London? ” Surprisingly for me, I am completely comfortable around Dylan so I start to tell him everything. The death of my mother, the abuse from my father and the treatment a girl with only a poem book gets on the streets of London. “Wow,” said Dylan. I didn’t lift my head at this because I was dreading to look up at him and see that very same look that I get from millions of people a day.
“Yeah, some story huh? ” I said wondering if telling him was the right thing to do. “No, no it’s not that. Seeing you now, it’s just so different than when I saw you on the streets hiding away from the world, tucked up in a bundle with no life to you at all,” said Dylan with such interest in his face. “Huh? Hang on, you saw me when I was on the streets? ” I crinkling my brow then dropped my head at the realisation that he had seen me cry. Dylan had seen me alone and asleep on a piece of cardboard.
He had seen the men stumbling up to me and had seen my glare. Maybe I have been wrong all along. Maybe I’m not invisible, but instead I’m under a spotlight of judgement. “Hayley, come on look at me… Look at me,” said Dylan, lifting my face in his strong hands, making me tingle from head to toe with his touch. Then as my eyes reached his, my insides completely undid. How can he make me feel this way? Was it because he now knows everything about me that there was now nothing to hide. “There she is,” Dylan said with a warm smile. “I will explain.
Since I saw you that night, your very first night on streets – I mean, me, being the gentleman I am, have been keeping an eye out for you because I know how hard the streets can be. To hear the aggressive abuse, to feel the physical pain of your bones seizing up and your cold skin covered with bruises, to feel as small and insignificant as could possibly be and to have the aching of your heart leave you breathless. I know all this because… it was me. Well, it is me. Overtime I have just made some useful friends and found some useful places to make it all a lot easier.
With you though, I feel very protective. I feel like I have to be in your life somehow. I have got to be that something you can hold onto to stop yourself from breaking. So this morning, when I was doing my usual check up on and you were knocked down, I couldn’t stop myself. I couldn’t watch you go through anymore. I have to be here for you. ” Dylan, throughout opening up to me, kept his hand on my cheek, tracing patterns around the hollow bags of my confused and tired eyes, not taking his eyes off me once. What do I say to that?
That is exactly how I feel about him, but this is just so sudden. I have only just met Dylan and I know I have no reason to feel like this. “Dylan… I .. ,” that’s all I managed to utter when Dylan suddenly cut in. “I knew I shouldn’t have said anything. I have completely freaked you out now. I’m sorry Hayley,” Dylan said in shame, dropping his hand and head, closing all contact. The tables had turned and I found myself comforting him. Inching my hand into his closed palm and tilting his head up to look at me. “I feel exactly the same,” I whispered. “You are the one changing me Dylan.
Changing me from that girl tucked up hiding from the world, back to the Hayley with all this love bound up in her chest just waiting for that perfect person to slowly unravel beneath all the tragedy and deep into the love that she has to give. It’s not god’s fault or my dad’s fault this time for my unluckiness in love. I think it’s because I was waiting for you. ” As I said this, everything started to come together. I have had no love in my life, none from my mother, none from my father and none from a boy. This has changed who I am, but with Dylan here, I feel myself for the first time in my life.
I know this won’t fix everything. We are still on the streets, with no money, no shelter and no food. The thing is though, I have Dylan. It overrides everything. Dylan slowly pulled his hand away from mine and looked to his side making my hand slowly fall past his pronounced jaw line. He grabbed his sticker-covered guitar and started to play a slow, hushed song. Then he looked up at me with a one-sided smile, gave me a wink and nodded as the tempo picked up and then he was away. We stayed there all day. The late afternoon sun glowed on Dylan’s skin but when the people had gone home and the sun had gone down, it was just us.
As Dylan’s voice filled my ears, smooth and fluid, I lay back, closed my eyes and let the words fill my mind, new and familiar all at once, rising and falling with my very breath, steady, as he sang me to sleep. I’m back. Back to the tears staining my face. Back to my old cardboard box and back to being alone. I woke up this morning with Dylan’s lullaby still playing peacefully in my mind but as I opened my eyes, no one. He’s left, just like everyone else does. Yet I’m still wondering if Dylan was all a dream. But oh, I forgot to mention, my dad’s looking for me.