Especially in winter it's really hard living out on the streets. Every year the police find dead people out here, frozen to the ground or to their beer bottles. No matter how many layers of clothing you wear, the cold gets you in the end.
That's why she keeps moving. Never stays in the same place for too long. Changes towns, habits, names. The collection of things she carries with her tells a story of its own. All the colors have been muddled to a mixture of grays and browns, and her long gray tangled hair blends in well with her disguise.
Tonight she is wandering the back streets of another nameless town. Rummaging through garbage cans, looking for treasures. A slice of stale pizza, an apple core - she ignores them. It is not food she is looking for. Or at least not this kind of food.
An envelope. Handwritten. A stamp with tiny flowers on it. It feels warm in her hands, but only for a moment. The wind plays with her hair and cuts the wrinkles off her face. It's like a memory, faded and long forgotten. She inhales - and it's gone.
A framed photograph, almost unrecognizable behind the scratches in the cheap plastic window. Carefully, she retrieves it from the bottom of the garbage can. The frame has a Mickey Mouse on it, and the picture is that of a man in a cheap brown suit. He is smiling at the camera. Who was this picture for, his son or daughter? She looks at it for a moment, squares her shoulders.
This can has nothing more to offer, so she stumbles on to the next one. The wind is getting harsher, and she turns her back on it to protect herself. Opens the lid and starts searching once more. The stench is disgusting.
And there it is. A charm bracelet, maybe from a magazine or a flea market originally, loaded with memory and emotion. She grips it firmly, holds it to her chest - summer air, birds and flowers, the first kiss and all the misery that followed. No surprise the owner didn't want to keep this. But for her it's perfect. She closes the garbage an carefully, in case one of her fellow travelers may want some of the spoiled food, and walks towards the street lights that have just come to life again for the night. Her brown hair gleams in the yellow light, and she rounds the corner and is gone.