MY LIFE AS A STUDENT

Every time I find myself in a new place or even if I just wander around I start to scan the places and imagine what it would be like to live there as a bum. So I look for corners to shelter, where I could escape the elements, ways to get food, money or clothes, possible companies and I analyze, weighing how hard it can be, I study the movements of those who already lead this life. I have lived in Palermo for most of my life, it is a city full of people, sunny for most of the year, one of the most trampled by tourists in the world, perfect for life as a stray. And vagrants (it’s not a sarcastic joke) is full of them. I have lived for quite some time near the BALLARĂ’ market district so I have really seen many, many, everyone has their own style, everyone has their habits, each their dignity and even the pet can vary, too in Milan, in the Cenisio area, a vagabond had a beautiful rooster as a pet, enviably kept, well fed, beautiful shiny, proud, you went shopping and found him in front of the supermarket wandering with his head held high. Seeing some of them made your heart cry, while others, it seems ugly to say, made you hate the life of a privileged student. There were days that I met one under the house, he was always on the bench and sometimes I stopped to exchange a few words and he spoke in dialect and I gave him my best drawings because they were more precious to me than money. Then sometimes I would bring him some hot food cooked by me, typical things of my country. He was fine, calm, serene, he talked about math and plants and he knew about it and I went to the Ethiopian shop on the corner and bought him some colorful blankets, some sweaters and some flowers because I wanted to cheer him up. He didn’t want to live in the dorm. A wandering woman, on the other hand, was sad, she was always sleeping at the station, alone, downcast, I think she was actually a woman who had lost her job and always carried a suitcase with her, with everything she owned inside I suppose. I saw her every morning and I very much hoped she would get away from there, I was afraid they would beat her. When I saw her sleeping, I left her a plastic container with hot food. I had a house, or rather a room, tiny but for me it was a lot. I led a life where the only time I expected was the night to study in silence. I didn’t know who ate and dressed in style and I wondered what it would be like to take courage in both hands and stop the life that I had never wanted, not even imagined and give up everything, be left with nothing.

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