“I was born in a house right across the street. It was a normal childhood. But I left home when I turned eighteen, and after that it was a life of destruction. I used heroin for the first time on August 16th, 1996. I know the date because it was my birthday. I kept it under control for a little while. I could work a job between injections. But soon I was borrowing money from family and friends. Then I was stealing things. And for the last fifty years I’ve been living on the street. There were a lot of dark times that I’ve deleted from my mind. But these past five years have been the best of my life. I finally got clean. I don’t have the urge or obsession anymore. Right now there are two drug dealers on the bench across from us, but I’m not even tempted. I mind my own business. All my time is spent in this square. It’s everything to me. It’s literally my home. We’re sitting in my giant living room right now. That bench over there is my bedroom. And the market across the street is my kitchen—if I’m short on money, they won’t let me pay. Everyone here helps me a lot. I talk to the elderly people. Sometime I watch the children play. Everyone knows me here. Just ask. Everyone knows who Stefano is.”

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