"Reality" - A story by Gwen Midwood (11) inspired by a photograph I saw

I love how photography can inspire people; how it can evoke strong emotional responses. The daughter of a friend of mine had just such an emotional response to one of the random pictures I had posted on Instagram over the summer. The image was actually just a test shot, taken outside a camera shop in Manchester with a camera I was considering buying. The subject shown isn’t actually homeless, he’s just finished his shift working on a building site, but Gwen, the daughter of my friend, didn’t see that, she saw something else and was inspired to write the following story:

Reality by Gwen Midwood

I sat there without a sound, I watched the moon cower behind the dull grey clouds. The fiery stars silenced the night abruptly creating a strange hush across the never-ending street. As I watched, my ears tensed, my muscles wept, my eyes stung.  My head spin vigorously as I rudely stared at the group of men sprinting up the street singing. How I wished to be them, to be happy and know that you were going home to a hot steaming dinner and a cotton bed to snuggle up in afterwards. I wish I had that.


Slowly I propped my brittle back against the cold metal shelter in the rusty bus station. I thought about how many people didn’t appreciate what they had, but I did. I thought about those poor lonely kids in Africa walking five miles and back to get dirty water, making the journey multiple times in a day. I was incredibly lucky to have family and a bus shelter to cover me in the rain, to guide me with my life.

The night was as dark as a volcanic pit of ash, the moon was like a never ending, everlasting candle never put pout. The trees swayed and the clouds whispered in the still night. Suddenly my true memories came back to me; my childhood standing on a deserted street praying to be educated. Just once or maybe a few more times I dreamed of having a job, to become a doctor, to help people like me. I knew I would understand them, with loyalty.

Without warning, I fell asleep.

What I dreamed of I cannot remember. I sat up to feel the howling wind shouting in my face. Gradually I got up to search through the last scraps of food in the bin beside my freezing sleeping bag. Nothing. I crossed my fingers hoping that someone had left an aubergine or some fruit on the cobbled road. Frustrated I watched the sun rise cautiously. My tummy rumbled hungrily, clarifying that needed to eat. I hadn’t eaten for several long days.