Timothy is acquiescent of all that befalls him, it is accepted, it is his lot. Whatever it was that permanently bent his brain is long forgotten, but he knows his name. Timothy.
When you sit in the gutter next to Timothy, or in a stinking doorway, or on a step outside a closed church he rarely looks at you. Timothy is mannered, gentle, polite and softly spoken. Clothed in soiled trousers, odd socks, gaping shoes, greasy shirt and smeared jacket.
He calls me sir, despite objections, and when the wallet comes out his eyes are drawn to it.
‘Look away, Timothy.’ I say, but he cannot will his head to turn.
He waits for mine.
He sees the $5s, the $10s, $20s and the $50s. Like a child sitting under the Christmas tree, gazing at the gifts arrayed there, hoping that one of them will be his, soon.
‘Timothy, look away.’
But he cannot.
Later, we walk up the length of the Corso towards the glitter of the Pacific, and before we leave each other I stop and ask this ragged old man to look at me. It takes a moment but I know to wait.
‘It’s blokes like you, Timothy,’ I say to him when he finally does, ‘who saves the souls of blokes like me.’