Tonight I have to pack my son's bag in readiness for his holiday with his dad. The Foca's even sent me a text of what he'll need; like I need telling.
Usually I would be a cocktail of sadness, resentment, anger and jealousy, trying desperately to be happy for my son.
Not tonight though. I've thought 'fuck it' and booked myself a ticket to Barcelona!!
I go when my son goes, I return when he comes back. Oh I can't wait!
There is trepidation though, I do admit. Paranoia is lurking in the shadows. If the council finds out its agents will think I don't need housing if I can 'afford' a holiday abroad.
I am also nervously excited because I haven't seen Old Shit School Acquaintance for twenty years. I haven't seen anyone bar the Foca. When I left that place I turned my back on everyone associated with it, nice or not.
I barely remember him. I don't remember him at all to tell the truth. He found me on Facebook just after someone I did remember found me on there.
Old Shit School Acquaintance is always inviting his 300 friends to parties in the city that's become home to him. The last time an invite came through I accepted with: "I'm free, send over your private jet!" To which he replied: "I fear my yacht is too slow." I responded with: "And my raft's just collapsed under my fat arse," because at that moment the chair I was sitting on did just that leaving me legs akimbo on the floor.
That's not the party I'm going to. No. That's just the conversation that led me to saying that when my son went to Cornwall I should pop over. As a joke; not that he was to know it was a joke as he didn't know at this point that I was on benefits. He swiftly responded with "Great idea, I've a spare room and a spare set of keys so you can come and go as you like."
I deliberated. I punched it out at boxercise. I ummed and aahed some more.
Last year when I had exams and a thesis to hand in, did the Foca take our son so I could work? No. The year before he did though and I'd fled to the Lake District, hid in the hills while my son played with cousins on an Irish beach.
It's good to be on your own sometimes but all the time?
Tonight I'll pack my son's bags and feel very lucky. One day I will take my boy with me but next week he'll be in my heart. He'll party with me, fiesta with me, siesta with me while tramping through the English countryside with his dad. Like I said, I feel very lucky. I'm feeling good! (Nina Simone and Hal Mooney)