“Oh get lost you stupid bitch” he screamed at me on that awful day.
So that’s exactly what I did. I turned my back on him and my mother and left.
Now I am officially homeless, a tramp. A seller of the big issue.
I’m lucky really, I’ve got a good spot near the entrance to Tesco’s with a proper
wooden seat and everything. I can just about keep dry under the awning if it’s raining
softly. Of course the Tesco’s manager tries to get rid of me every day but as I am on the
public street there’s not much he can do, except shout and I’m used to that .
I have two sets of friends. My Tesco’s friends and my camp friends. Tesco’s friends are
mostly older women, who bring me hot coffee and buns. It’s usually men who throw
money at me and won’t look me in the eyes. But I need the money so I just say “God
bless you sir” when they do. It’s a saying I learnt from Sarah, she’s a camp friend and
an old hand. She says she has been on the road for 25 years. I shuddered when she
told me that. In 25 years time I want to have a house and two grown up kids and a job,
maybe as a P. A.to a fashion designer or running a beauty salon, I can’t decide which.
I imagine there will be a husband somewhere in the background but he seems to be
fairly indistinct and foggy.
When Tesco’s shut I walk the two miles to the camp which is now my home. There are
about 6 of us homeless people. Four of have tents and two make do with newspaper
and plastic sheeting. That’s how I was, until Sarah arrived and invited me to share her
tent, its a squash but we keep each other warm. Someone always builds a fire and we
all sit round with whatever food or drink we have. I don’t touch the alcohol, as in my nine
months of ‘getting lost,’ I have seen the desperation it can cause. Same with drugs too.
It’s ironic really that Mums boyfriend refused to believe me when I told him that when
the party was raided I was neither stoned or drunk. That’s when we had the argument
but really it was just the last straw. I had resented his authority from the start, especially
as Mum just seemed to hand it over to him from day one.
Anyway I had a new life now, albeit a pretty rough one. I sat warming my hands by the
fire and Sarah came and sat beside me. “What’s up love” she said
“Nothing, just day dreaming” “Are you thinking about your Mum”? “No” I lied. We had
had this conversation before. Sarah was always trying to get me to ring Mum, saying
how worried she must be but I couldn’t forgive her for not taking my side and for all I
knew, she was pleased to be alone with what’s his face and not missing me. That night
I did feel sad but what could I do.?
I was at my usual place outside Tesco’s the following morning when the manager came
out for his daily rant. “We don’t want your sort here, our customer don’t need to see the
likes of you, you lazy slag, why don’t you go and get a job.”I was deaf to it and just
turned inwards until he went back to the shop again. Except today for some reason I
felt like crying. It started to rain about midday and as the wind was blowing into me I got
soaked. My usual old ladies obviously stayed at home, so by the time evening came I
was shivering, miserable and very hungry.
As I approached the camp, the thought of the warm fire spurred me to a quicker pace
and I made the last few metres very quickly. The fire was blazing and
everyone was chatting animatedly. Sarah had her back to me and a figure was sitting in
my usual seat. I felt annoyed and rushed up intending to oust the person from my place
double quick. As I approached the figure the words died on my lips and my heart gave a
great lurch. “Mum, is that you Mum?” I stumbled forward and was clasped in her arms.
“Oh thank God I’ve found you at last Tasha, Oh love I been looking for you since the day
you left, are you alright, why didn’t you phone, what have you been doing ?” The
questions tumbled out of her not waiting for an answer, I couldn’t speak anyway. I just
cried and cried. She made me sit down between her and Sarah and fed me hot coffee
and sausage rolls. I felt a little calmer then and she told me she had asked the boyfriend
to leave a week after me, when he had seemed to be positively triumphant about me
going , ‘like he had been planning it all along’, she said.
“How did you find me Mum” I asked at last. Mum turned to Sarah “ It was this lady who
rang me today and of course I drove straight here “. I looked at Sarah not knowing
whether to be angry or grateful.
The upshot is that I am back home with Mum now and tomorrow I start a new job with
the local council. It’s not the most exciting job ever but my secret plan is to get myself
into a position where I can really help all those big issues, homeless people, like Sarah.
Mum did offer her a home with us but she refused. I think she was scared to be indoors,
maybe feeling shut in by a house. I try to visit her once a week and so far I have been
able to keep track of her but I do worry she will “get lost” permanently.
Issue 10 & 11
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