Sunday, 21 February 2010

"All that stress for nothing!"

Wednesday afternoon I went into my local newsagent to ask Nash if he'd get an early delivery of the buy and free papers. My brother, as luck would have it, was going down to my folks too, and would pick us up at 8.30 the following morning.

"Yes" was Nash's answer but the free one wasn't delivered there anymore. I didn't tell him I was going to feature in the buy one. I'd told hardly anyone.

I didn't sleep that night. The bed was uncomfortable yes, but so was all the noise in my head. Stigmum wanted to put Labi Siffre's Something Inside So Strong in the fleeing post so I did as I was told, puffing away on Nicoteen as I did so in these dark, dark eye stinging hours.

I went back to bed. Actually no stiggers, that song will give the wrong message. Out of bed again to delete it. Oh the beauty of blogspot as a paper's about to tell your story and emotions are vying for centre stage within the already loaded Motherboard.

My son wakes up at about 6.30. I give him breakfast; I have tea. He wants to play on the computer.

"Let's go to Nash's first," I say. "Buy the paper."
"Oh no mummy, I want to play on the computer!"
"You can play when we get back, come on."

We get to Nash's and without me breathing a word he puts a copy of both buy and free in my hand.

I lay them on the counter, to pay for paper on the top obviously, and scan the front page.

There's Clegg in thebottom right hand corner.

"Liberal.." scan scan "And he also agreed to take up the cudgels of a single mother who is facing eviction from her council accommodation, along with her seven year old son."

Oh thank you, thank you!

"See page 7" The trepidation, I can't explain it, fingers and thumbs turn the pages.

There he is! There's Clegg! Where's the photo of our group with him? Maybe they decide to use it!

I scan the article, looking for reference to me but the words swim before me, blurry. "A&E....A&E". Hang on, it's not about me!

"All that stress for nothing!" I laugh.

Nash doesn't understand so I tell him I thought there'd be an article about me, but instead the Libdem Leader kniew the paper was onto him to help us!

"All that stress for nothing! See that son?! Now we can go and have a lovely weekend and I won't ignore you and we'll have lovely quiet times reading together if you want space away from your cousins. I'm so sorry mummy's been so far away. All for nothing!"

I buy it and head home. I am so relieved that I can actually clean the kitchen sideboards. I grab Henry who sucks up visible carpet crumbs and so on. Well done me for packing last night! I'll have another cup of tea!

A text from my brother, he's running late. I consider going outside with Nicoteen but it's Thursday isn't it? May as well bid.

I see two for us not far from son's school, blocks on large estates.

The phone goes; it's support worker.

"How are you?" he says.
"How do you think?" I answer abit curtly as I'm thinking I don't want to be thinking about the council.
"Have you spoken to Tory?"
"No, I haven't heard anything."
"I've spoken to agents and I've found a private flat you can go and view."
"HOW MANY TIMES," I say suddenly furious, "DO I HAVE TO SAY I DO NOT WANT PRS?"
"But you agreed at the meeting that you'd go and visit one."
"I was pushed into accepting. You heard me say I knew what I was missing. They were saying 'do it for us, do it for us.' You didn't speak at all, you were there, you know!"

Oh I was mad. Not with him, it's never with him but he always gets it.

He told me of families already in the private scheme. There was a mum who had 480 odd points who was "already viewing flats." He could arrange for me to meet her.

"Already viewing? Flats? How many? How old are her children?"
"She's got a four year old and she's working full time and..."
"FOUR? My son is SEVEN. I have been waiting LONGER THAN HER."

There were more, all children younger than mine. I asked him to get me the insecure points I got the last time I faced eviction but he reminded me of course that the homeless aren't eligible for that. He said he'd speak to Allocations.
"Yes, do that. Ask her to reply to my letter. You got that email didn't you? Tell her I am STRESSED."

I did say sorry for being angry and thank you for talking to Allocations for me but when I put the phone down I was straight back in Far Far Away Land, turning circles on the spot, robotically, not knowing where to step.

My brother had arrived and was pissed off because he'd tried to call me twice to say he was waiting so now I'd made him even later to pick up his kids. Two angry adults in the car. I squeaked a "sorry but.." and leant my head back and gazed out of the window.

The journey passed in a haze. I vaguely remember his kids getting in the car. At some point I heard Mama Cass singing "It's getting better" on the stereo. I'd just been listening to her the day before.

"Can you turn that up?" I asked bro.

As Mama Cass sang her song about love for a man, I could think only of stigmum. That song will now forever be etched in my mind about me and her.

There's comfort to be found in Far Far Away Land, sometimes.

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