Photo by Alex Vasey on Unsplash

What it was Like to Live in a Rough Neighbourhood in Madrid Spain

Thinking of you keeps me awake. Dreaming of you keeps me asleep. Being with you keeps me alive.

Sean P. Durham
11 min readAug 13, 2023


Late one night, my cat wouldn’t stop scratching and whining at the front door. I kept telling him to leave it, but he insisted I investigate.

I opened the door, a man sat on the steps, one shoe and his crumpled sock on the floor, a needle between his toes.

I told him, “Finish off, then leave,” I was firm but friendly.

He was a drug addict, a shelf-life client of the darkest side of capitalism. I wasn’t going to be mean to him. Just not on my doorstep, please.

I don’t like drug dealers. They create hellish neighbourhoods, and prey on those who are tired and vulnerable.

I will ensure that my environment is safe and secure for me and mine. My home, from the front door extending into the immediate street area — that’s my home. I want to know that when my partner walks out the door, she doesn’t need to look over her shoulder or cross the road to avoid danger.

We moved into a third floor flat in Madrid, where the people live close knit, streets are like hot baking sheets, the locals are warm and mixed.



Sean P. Durham

Berlin Notes — Creative Writing about art, Life, photography & cats.