I went home
for the first time in ages. I don’t know what I was thinking, perhaps the loneliness got to me, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to go back for a while. I guess I missed my nephew Hasanain
most. I loved him as he loved me - unconditionally. He was two
. It's hard at that age to explain why a relative is away working
most of the time. I also missed my mother
, she didn’t know how to talk to me but when I hugged her I still felt safe
, felt at home
. The others tended to look at me with cold dead eyes.
Ajwad had come to visit and because of some financial trickery for the first time since I had come to London I had a little money spare, real money to spend on releasing some pressure. We had a great time over three days, at the end of which I bought my first sheesha pipe and took it home.
Belfast was good, and it was nice being home. I told Dad I was going to be tight the following month, and he said he understood.
After a few days I had to go back, I said goodbye and flew back to London. My next paycheque hit, and before I could pay my rent my father had cashed in a cheque for a thousand pounds from my account. This left me without enough money to pay rent. I knew my estate agents were going to send the bailiffs and throw me out on the street, and take my property to get their money. Then they would sue me for the rest.
I had already come back one day a couple of months earlier and because of a banking error found my place had the locks changed and all my stuff was in a pile outside on the pavement. Luckily most of the important stuff was still there and I managed to threaten them into letting me back in, and I sat up alone and shivering at the thought of how close I had come to being homeless.
Now I had to phone my father and ask, plead, for my money back. He refused to send any back other than a fraction - a few hundred pounds, still it wouldn’t cover it, so I had to tell him I was coming back on a flight that day, and then he realized how serious it was. He still would only give me £600, and I knew that wouldn’t cover food, and barely commuting after rent. I was going to have to starve. I really wished I hadn't spent all that spare money having fun in London.
Now I also couldn’t afford to fly back, so I had to take the ferry to Stranraer with my Honda Varadero and ride it down from Scotland to London. The bike broke down in Stranraer, it took several hours to fix. Then I rode through the evening, and cold wet night until I collapsed in a heap freezing in the services at Birmingham waiting for feeling to come back into my arms, legs and chest. I was exhausted, soaked, freezing, and I didn’t want to go anywhere near my bike, but I had to keep going.
I made it to the outskirts of London by 8am, and my body and mind began to shut down I had to force myself awake through sheer will and caffeine. I’d been awake and riding for nearly 24hrs straight now with no significant rest. I was shaking. It took me an hour to get out onto the road, and I could feel my bike chain was failing, and the bike would occasionally jump.
It broke down completely in the north of London, and I had to wait for a Kwik Fit Garage to open, and pay the guys there to fix it for me. They didn’t usually work on bikes, but I told them what to do to patch it up, and they went at it, and by some miracle it worked. I paid them and by some feat of luck I made it home by 11am.
I couldn’t believe it.
I kept touching the walls because I didn’t believe I was really there. I thought I had fallen by the side of the road a few hundred miles back and was hallucinating.
Sometimes I still feel that.
I phoned work and said I was too ill to come in, then I phoned home and told them I was back safe, and then I phoned the estate agents and told them I had their money. I put all of my money from my account towards rent, and then slept for a couple of hours before going to their offices and giving them £500 of the £600 to make up the rent.
The rest of the money was to last me the month. I was grateful I had some canned food and pasta left over from the previous month. Otherwise I wouldn’t have been alright.
I went home and slept for a day straight through before going back to work.