Pavlo – Chapter One

The deep caramel brown of the cappuccino glistened in the window of ‘Mel’s cafe’ in the early morning December sunshine. Steam was rising from the coffee, still too hot to drink. Pavlo had his fingers wrapped around the spotty mug for warmth. He thought back to times much, much bleaker than this. The winters he had experienced in the Ukraine were nothing compared to the December months in Wiltshire. Pavlo was thankful for the warmth his navy duffel coat gave him. Deciding to chance it Pavlo took a sip of the frothy cappuccino still steaming. The aroma of fresh coffee and warm milk hit him instantly. Looking over his shoulder briefly, something caught his eye. Out of the window, across from ‘Mel’s’ a homeless man sat in the doorway of a bordered up shop. That shop was once a thriving haberdashery but times had changed. Now the faded white sign with blue lettering only read ‘aberdashery’. Pavlo approached the counter and ordered a full English breakfast and a mug of sugary tea. Then rushing out of Mel’s he ran over to the homeless man who was shivering. The homeless man looked up at him helplessly. Beckoning the man into Mel’s, Pavlo helped him to his feet which were soaked from the snow. He ushered the man to the same table he was sat just a mere 3 minutes ago. ‘This, my friend, is for you’, Pavlo said ushering the man to sit down. His strong Ukrainian accent complemented the kindness in his voice. Instantly the man felt at ease. Little did Pavlo know that this was his first warm meal of the month.

The man was dressed in clothes Pavlo only knew too well. He took the tea in his fingerless gloves but before he could thank this kind stranger Pavlo spoke. ‘You know I was in the same situation as you not so long ago’ he paused as if he was in a long lost world which belonged to the past, ‘I know how you feel but please do have hope my friend because what else do we have left?’ The man nodded in agreement then began to speak, ‘It is hard to have hope at a time like this. I do not know the whereabouts of my family, what has become of my hometown; I only have the clothes on my back, but God was good to me today, he brought me to you’. Pavlo smiled.

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