Whitlam Institute

What Matters 2019 Shortlist

What Matters 2019 Shortlist

Poverty Matters

Poverty Matters

Emma Geng

Year 7

Angus tucks himself into his warm, relaxing bed. He looks at the hot chocolate beside him and contemplates whether or not he should take a sip although he has already brushed his teeth. “It's alright,” he thinks to himself, “I get one everyday anyway, it's alright if I don't have one today”. Angus grabs the remote on his bed-side table and turns his television off. He sinks back into the comfort of the several soft cushions and pillows on his bed. He sighs as he closes his eyes for a moment and revisits his day in his mind.

That morning Angus woke up and felt his stomach rumble. Without hesitation, he threw his soft quilt out of the way as he jumped out of bed and rushed downstairs, to the kitchen. Still in his warm, fluffy, red pyjamas he hungrily munched into the freshly baked bread made by his mother. A sense of satisfaction washed over his body as he devoured into the softness of the hot bread. He sipped some cold, refreshing milk and headed to the living room.

With the sweet taste of the bread still in his mouth, Angus decided to play with  the basketball he had received for his 10th birthday last weekend. He repeatedly dribbled it up and down the street when it accidently slipped out of his grip and rolled down the hill. Angus ran after it, trying to retrieve his basketball when two police officers grabbed his attention. He walked past them slowly and managed to hear a few words from their conversation; “thief...bakery...black hoodie with pants...black socks with a hole”. At the thought of that he opened his eyes.

Angus sat up and looked around. He chuckled at himself as he realised how vividly real his imagination could be. How the delicious cup of hot chocolate was actually a dirty cup filled with barely any silver coins. How the big cosy bed was actually the only bench in the park long enough to fit both him and his mother. How the abundance of pillows and cushions he had fantasised about was actually his mother's arm. And how his brand new basketball was really nothing more than a ball of rubbish that he had found next to the bin.

Upset and disappointed, Angus looked at his mother for comfort. She was fast asleep beside him from another long day of begging strangers for any lose change. Angus glanced at her growing wrinkles and slowly reached out to touch her face. Her skin was rough like sand paper, but she was warm. “At least her black hoodie and pants were keeping her warm... maybe if her black sock didn't have such a big hole in it, she'd be even warmer”, Angus thought.

“Maybe if I closed my eyes and fell asleep, tomorrow would be different, tomorrow I would be warmer and less hungry, tomorrow I would be less lonely”.

Slowly Angus drifted off to sleep, with nothing but pure hope.