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Talking To Strangers

I’m on my way back from a three-day songwriting trip in Newcastle to finish off writing next year’s EPs with an exceptionally talented, published songwriter and producer by the name of Hati.

It’s a seven-hour, long ass coach trip back to London. I bagsee the prime spot on the top floor at the front and mentally drift off into space, to a dancing blur of lights and road signs.

At the next stop, two annoyingly loud ‘uni student’ type girls get on, occupying the seats opposite. I play a few rounds of uni student vocab bingo in my head, striking off ‘blatantly’, ‘I’m not gonna lie’ and ‘no way’ – getting a full house every game. Lucky me.

My trance is interrupted as the driver in his cheerful Geordie accent announces we’ll stop in Sheffield for a 15-minute break. To the left of me, the uni girls are attempting to roll the world’s least discreet joint.

As I exit the coach to stretch my legs, the biting Northern evening air sinks its clammy claws into my neck. Being the ever shy and retiring wallflower I am, I get chatting to a fellow passenger (and aspiring DJ) in his early twenties.

However as the conversation flows, my eyes are immediately drawn to the puzzling hospital tag on his right wrist.

It turns out through a series of unfortunate events he’d lost his job, fallen on hard times and two days prior sank 48 paracetamol, in a desperate attempt to take his life. Between tokes of a stubby roll up, he explains how he’d managed to scrape together the fare to get back to some family in London.

Taking my seat back on the coach, now £20 quid poorer or richer (depending how you look at it) – I’m compelled to mull over the prospect that it could so easily been myself, a friend or family member wearing that tag. 

If I ever need to talk, I have the luxury a phone full of numbers to call, a sea of non-judgemental ears ready to absorb rants and mirror moans. However not everybody wants to or can talk, some of us like I, just need to take action and open up when we’re ready.

Ironically, we’re always told never to talk to strangers but I’m starting to wonder if that’s exactly what we should be doing.

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