Peter is one of those local urban bergies that were mentioned in my previous post. He’s not actually a true bergie as he doesn’t drink. He appears to do very little in Cape Town, but without an alcohol habit, he’d be completely at a loss in Arniston.
I see Peter most lunchtimes sitting on the corner of Portswood and Beach Roads in the shade (or shelter) of the hospital wall. Since late October, if I’ve seen him on the way to buy my lunch, I’ve always bought some fruit or bread to give him on the way back. He’s always genuinely grateful and always thanks me.
One day, just before Christmas, I introduced myself and asked him his name. With hindsight, this was a bit of a foolish move and could have proved fatal for Peter. It came as a bit of a shock to him – I don’t think anyone had ever actually spoken to him before.
And remember: One should never shock a homeless person – very few of them have medical aid.
Anyway, to cut a long and rambling story somewhat shorter, Peter has disappeared. Last week he was there, this week he was not.
I don’t know if he’s moved on, been moved on or what. I guess there’s not a lot I can do – it’s not like I can put “missing” posters up on the local lampposts – “Have you seen my homeless person?”
Peter, if you’re out there reading this (pretty unlikely, I know) then I hope you’re ok.
I also want to know where you got the money for internet access, which is notoriously expensive in SA.
I’d like to think that I didn’t make you ill. If you were allergic to apples, you should have said earlier.
I just hope that wherever you are now is somewhere better than leaning against your hospital wall.