I found a newspaper Ryan got out the van, and was trying to read it slowly to pass the time. I was reading an article about a rich pornstar being exploited when I heard a woman’s quiet voice –
‘ Excuse me ? ‘
I rolled over, put the newspaper down and squinted at her. She was blurry but looked similar to Sarah Millican. I noticed an ID badge hanging around her neck and felt on edge.
‘ I don’t want to intrude, but Iv seen you here for quite a while now. I just wondered if you were ok ?’
She gabbled it out quickly, and I could tell she was fighting the same mind battle that John had a few days before. Not wanting to be seen as sticking her nose in, but not sure how to go about it.
Before I could answer she started again –
‘ I… I… Don’t want to bother you if you don’t mind, but I just want to know if there was anything I could do ?’
Her words reminded me of the note ‘ Matt ‘ have left on the seat, and you could tell she was genuine. I still wondered to this day if Matt has been genuine as well, or was an easy target ? Were his intentions good or bad ? I’ll never know.
I swallowed and began to talk to the lady. I started with the usual ‘ it’s only temporary’ and that we were ‘OK‘. But her expression was so sympathetic that it all came tumbling out, Iv never been any good at keeping stuff to myself anyway – so every thought I’d had about everything was just coming out my mouth and I was stumbling over my words trying to make some sense of it all to her.
She asked if my family or friends knew where I was and I honestly answered no. They didn’t know where I was. She kindly said ‘ I’m sure they’d help if they knew’
But that wasn’t true. They might WANT to help. But when it comes down to it, they wouldn’t help. Why should they ? They don’t owe me anything.
Her faith in the unconditional love was humbling to her. But for me, there were conditions. No one was there in the long run. We were alone.
I was nearly going to ask for a hug when I stopped babbling and saw her face. She looked horrified.
Oh great. She wanted to know the gist of what was going on and now Iv traumatised her.
But instead of making excuses to get out of there, she explained who she was.
‘ My name is Sarah.’ ( wierd ?! )
She said she worked in the nursery of the CSA, she said if I needed anything to come and ask for her. She was in charge there so would gladly have me in there once the children had gone. There was a shower, and often lots of food leftover from the day she could box up for us.
I could tell she really meant it, but I just couldn’t explain to her how it made me feel.
I couldn’t rely on anyone else ? I was too embarrassed of the situation to go and shower in her workplace. I knew she meant it. She had that warm motherly sense about her. She wanted to look after me and make a difference.
How could I turn up knocking, and with Ryan in tow ? It just wasn’t the done ‘thing’.
I laughed at that thought. What is the done thing ? Because it sure as fuck isn’t living out of a bloody car !
She watched my face as I thought it all over to myself. She said I could think about it, but I was always welcome – she just wasn’t there on Sunday’s, no one was.
I pointed out that the security guard wasn’t our biggest fan, but she told me how to get round him – just ask for her at the gate.
She had to go back then, she’d used her lunchtime to speak to me. I told her I was really thankful that she’d come over. And I tried to say Thankyou for her generous offer. I don’t know if she understood how I meant it, and she was gone by the time I thought about it more.
Her pity made me feel bad. It had always been easier to deal with the situation because it didn’t feel real. It felt like a story that I was reading. I felt all the emotions and could imagine it all happening but at night I’d tell myself none of it was real.
When the cold crept in I’d just huddle under the duvet and imagine that I was anywhere. Dads house had always been cold, much colder than this in the winter so I could pretend I was there.
But when someone real, a person that has their own life and own things going on speaks to you. It reminds you that it is real. This is happening to you. People are noticing and worrying for you. And they are worrying for you because it isn’t normal to be here.
They are worried for your safety. As one human to another, they are worried about you. And it makes it scarily real. It reminds me that at any moment something terrible could happen.
The car could be taken away. And we already knew there was no help available to us – the council didn’t know we had the car, the last thing they knew of us – we were sleeping on the beach.
If something happened to Ryan, I would be totally and completely stranded here. And I might not even find out. He just might not turn up one day and I would have no way to find out what had happened.
We might lose the phone, or our bank cards, or any of our last links to society. With no address we wouldn’t be able to replace any of it.
It’s scary to think how easily it would be for us to truly be on our own.
It was terrifying to realise that we had no safety net.
It was just us. And the glimmer of hope that we would get to the end of this. And start building our lives again