by Paul Tristram
I was in the foyer of the old Neath police station
waiting for my girlfriend to get bailed when I met her.
She was sat next to me on the wooden bench,
not waiting for anyone, she had told me that the police
just let her sit there in the wintertime out of the cold
and let her drink as much hot tea as she wanted.
She looked about 70 years old but claimed to be only 42.
She had a face like a boxer and not a competent one at that.
She had one tooth left in her head on the bottom left hand side.
She told me that she had been beaten so many times
that she had almost become clairvoyant and nearly always
turned her face before the punch landed
hence saving her one remaining tooth.
She explained that all of the obvious problems; the drugs,
the drinking, homelessness, violence and hunger
were merely attachments which came along with her real problem.
Her problem, itself, was that she had a fascination
with what other people would term ‘Lowlife.’
She had been married at the age of 18 to her first love
a few years later the doctors had told her after tests
that she would never be able to know motherhood
and a few years later at the age of 28 her husband died of cancer.
It was then that she had started walking the streets
in search of them..............................................The Lost!
“I of course see the anger, the craziness, the threat and danger
just like everyone else!” she explained.
“But I also see something else, the noise is a front,
the dance I call it and the dance is a protective shield
to hide what is behind...A wounded and hurt little boy or girl.
And that is what I do, I make them feel better, it’s that simple,
and that in return makes me feel better, a caring transaction.
I give them a safe place to unload, to strip bare and heal a little bit
and they give me the chance to love, care and be mother.
They call me Sarah ‘Mother Of The Streets’ Tuppence
and I have nursed many of them, young and old and short and tall!”
She then reached over and put the palm of her hand upon my chest
saying in a low voice, almost as if she were not really talking to me
“I knew I would talk to someone tonight and it’s you,
I have planted a seed which you will nurture well,
remember that there is no such thing as coincidence!”
Then she withdrew her hand and just looked into my face
for a moment or two with the most beautiful sky blue eyes
then slowly turned her gaze down to the cigarette burnt floor.
Soon I heard the buzzer of the inside door and my girlfriend appeared
cursing and calling the officer names who was showing her out.
I stood up and put my hand in my pocket, pulled out all of my change
and held it out to Sarah ‘Mother Of The Streets’ Tuppence
she looked at my hand, then at my approaching girlfriend and then at me
and shook her head with a mischievous smile and said,
“I think you’re going to need every penny of that, son!”
As we stepped out onto the wet, winter pavement my girlfriend asked
“What was you trying to give that old troll, money or drugs?”
“It doesn’t matter” I replied
“And she ain’t no old troll, she’s an angel, I swear to God,
I’ve just met me a real live, breathing angel!”
“Well, I’m glad one of us did, because all I met were arseholes,
That blonde Plod who nicked me offered to drop the petty charge
for a blowjob!” she explained.
“Jesus Christ No!” I exclaimed.
“Don’t get your knickers in a twist, I’m on in court 2 weeks Tuesday
for the ABH and the petty charge!” she answered blowing out fresh
cigarette smoke into the cold evening air, as we walked on through
The Dark Arch under the railway and entered ‘The Welsh Bard’
public house where all of the towns villains now met and drank.