So I walked around Plymouth until my feet were sore. I bought myself a cup of tea and tried to keep it warm for ages. I walked down to the Barbican and looked out to sea. I saw people living my old life – drinking with friends, enjoying the sunshine. Smoking and chatting and laughing. They were all dressed so nicely, and so fashionably. I looked out of place when I walked by them and I knew it.
I caught the bus after that. It was a painful reminder of our old life. Once we were out of the house we were happy. We had friends and had a laugh with them all- as long as the alcohol was flowing anyway.
Where are they all now I wondered as I stared out the window at everything flashing past.
When I got off the bus it started to rain. Everyone else ducked under cover but it was that warm end of summer rain you get, and to be honest- my hair could do with a wash.
I slopped my feet forward and tramped along the road, waiting to get out of sight and onto our private road.
I’d sat with my cup of tea in a café for a little while, until I felt awkward enough to leave, and had charged the phone. It was 5pm now, and Ryan wouldn’t be back for ages. I opened the car and got comfortable.
I like the sound of the rain against the car roof, and I still do even now. It’s so calming listening to it and knowing you’re out of it. I was racing rain drops against each other on the window when the phone rang and scared the shit out of me.
The screen said. I fumbled around trying o answer it.
‘GEEEEEEEE !!! ‘ she sounded jolly and excited to hear my voice. It only struck me then that I hadn’t felt that in a long time. I hadn’t spoken to her in a long time.
‘ What’s going on then ? How’s Cornwall ???!’
‘ it’s alright. We’re living in Ryans car.’
‘ Eyyh ? You’re alright though aren’t you ?’
It all came tumbling out my mouth before I could stop it. Me and Ryan had agreed not to tell anyone the extent of it, half out of embarrassment and half out of pride. We kept telling each other we were OK, but now my mum was asking. My mum.
I didn’t lie to her. I just told her how it was. I said we’d been here for a while and now we’d run out of money. Ryan was meant to be paid today but it hadn’t gone in for whatever reason and now we didn’t know what to do.
I probably sounded really dramatic. But I felt it. And if you can’t be dramatic to your mum then what’s the point.
‘ Oh Gee… What can we do ? Do you need some money ? How much ? I haven’t got much but I can try and help you out.’
I didn’t know how much. How much would it cost to get me out of this ? How much to feed us until we had the flat sorted? How much could we afford to pay her back?
‘ Give me your bank details and I will send you 90 quid. I don’t want to think of you starving out there now… Hey ?‘
‘ Thanks mum. Thankyou. I’ll tell you them now. I can pay it back soon I promise you…’
She faffed around for a bit then, saying she wanted me to text it but I couldn’t so she had to find a pen and then one that worked and then finally she said –
‘ It’ll be in your bank in an hour, I love you darling. Iv got to go now love you -bye!’
She rang off and I held the phone for a little while. I wanted to have a good chat with her, about everything, ask her if I’d been stupid. She’d said I could come home if I wanted but I knew she didn’t mean it. Come home to where ? Her boat ?
Her and Brad had a squeeze on that let alone four of us. And somehow I didn’t think she meant Ryan too. And that wasn’t what I wanted. She meant well, but I’d been here before with her, and I knew when it came to it – I had no where to go.
I thought back to a few years ago, when we’d finally got back in contact after a year or so of not seeing each other. School had finished and I was at college. She found a cottage in the village Dad lived and I’d picked up the keys for her.
Things between me and Dad were fraying as usual and we’d been fighting a lot. I hated him for kicking mum out, and he hated me for being difficult.
Me and mum moved into the cottage and it was lovely. Then Brad moved in too because Mum couldn’t afford it on her own. It was expensive on her wage alone so it worked for us. I spent most my time in bed or out with friends, and we had a good year or so in there. Things were looking up.
Then Mum kept saying how expensive it was and how much she would love to live on a boat. I agreed – it would be a blissful life on a boat. Her and Brad looked into it more and I got on with my own ( teenage) things.
I felt guilty that I didn’t contribute to the house, although I tried to keep it tidy and used my EMA payments to feed myself at college as well as get me there.
Mum was working a lot and I didn’t see her much at home, although we would go to the pub together and have a laugh…
Then she said her and Brad had bought a boat, and they couldn’t afford the cottage anymore. Ok I said. Let’s go.
I pictured a tiny room on the boat for me, and although it would be a tight fit, at least I wouldn’t be at Dads.
When I’d left we’d had a really nasty fight. He’d thrown my bedroom contents onto the driveway, so I’d thrown his LP records out too. He ripped my souvenir poster – one I loved and couldn’t replace- so I’d thrown his clothes into a puddle.
He wrote an awful message on my whiteboard. So I left and didn’t go back.
‘ The thing is Gee, is there isn’t enough room for all of us on the boat. So you’ll have to go back to your Dads.’
And I’d carried all my things back through the village, and asked to move back in. I didn’t talk to anyone for three days after that, and Dad had come into my room and apologised.
It was a life lesson, and it took me a little while to not resent my friends for not having to learn the same lesson. Your parents won’t always be there for you.
I thought about what Mum was doing now, giving me money to help us out, and it meant so much. We were truly screwed without it. But I couldn’t help wonder what other people’s parents would have done in the same situation..