|Homeless, by Thomas Bush Kennington|
“My dad threw me out of the house. I lived on the street for a while.”
“Jesus. Was it hard?”
“That's a fucking stupid thing to say.” Keith seemed quite calm, but his tone and demeanour were very intense – stiff and cold.
“Jeez, yes, you're right. It was a naff thing to say. Sorry.”
“'Sokay. And yes it was hard. I … I was a rent boy for a while. And …” Keith looked away, unable to meet Jason's gaze, “ … it was Tom who took me in.” He looked directly at Jason, daring him to make something of it.
“Tom's kind, then?” Jason felt like a fool. He couldn't think of anything intelligent or useful to say.
“Yes. He is. His manner, sometimes, you know, people think he's rude and off-hand, but he gets a lot of wankers in there and they treat him badly, so ...”
“ … so he's developed a way to deal with them?”
[Painting from National Gallery of Victoria]