So to continue on from our story last night, this is where I make the journey to my new home....
The tannoy announces that they shall board in 15 min's. The excitement kicks in and with that the nerves, 'what the hell am I doing - I am leaving Ireland over a phone bill'. I think to myself, 'people have left the country for more serious reasons' - well to me this was serious. I am trying to escape from yet another beating, to get away from my responsibility of being in charge of a household at 15 years of age. I am leaving to find a new life, to reclaim the one that had been taken away from me. So with all that thinking done, I left my seat to make my way onto the boat . Now boarding the boat and trying not to look like a fish out of water was a strange thing for me to do. I was starting to feel sick, I was sweating, the anxiety was making me look like a victim straight out of an intensive care unit but I got through it.
On the boat, I decided to calm down and go outside to get some fresh air. I noticed a guy in his mid twenty's having a smoke... so being as brazen as I was, I went over and said 'excuse me would you have a spare smoke?' . The guy who we shall call "Mark" said 'yes, no problem' so I took the smoke and exchanged small talk. The small talk turned into big talk and I told him what I was doing and he offered me a place to stay in London! I was thinking to myself 'this is great, I am on the right road, nothing can stop me', my luck was on track. Throughout the journey to hollyhead we where chatting, "Mark" seemed like a sound fella. We got off in hollyhead and as I had already bought my train ticket in Dublin, I proceeded to look for the platform with my new friend. We boarded the train to London.
The train was old fashioned - stank of smoke and urine. Great, 12 a.m. in Wales, a 7 hour journey to London and these smells! So on the train, the chatting with "Mark" was starting to fizzle out and come to yes/no answers.. at the time I thought 'oh he must be tired'. Beside me sat this nice lady with her two daugthers and a older woman. I got talking to the nice lady her name was "Paula". We smoked out the window while travelling along through Wales at night. I told her what I was doing and how I met my new friend "Mark". She said 'here take my number and address, if you have any problem make sure to call me'. I took the paper and stuck it in my back pocket and said goodbye. Myself and "Mark" left for home.. it was around 10 a.m. When we got there, I tried to show my independence so I said 'I am off out for the day to look for work'. So I went off out around London by myself for the day and spent the whole day looking for work and nothing ! When I got home to "Marks" I opened the door to see him stoned off his nut and drunk and he told me I had to leave...
I thought to myself 'oh, this is a great first day in London'.
So with all my belongings, I went down to the phone box to call "Paula". She answered and I explained what had happened she said to get to her house straight away. She gave me directions, so I went on another journey to get to her house. I had to change tubes twice but I managed to get to the tube station which she had directed. I made my way to the phone box, put my hand in my pocket to get my piece of paper to call "Paula" and shit I lost it! I had left the piece of paper on the tube -11 pm, 15 years of age, in the middle of London and no point of contact with anyone. I took a moment to calm my nerves and said 'oh ok, this cannot be too much different to Ireland, I'll ask someone do they know a "Paula" that lives around here'. 30 min's of asking and nobody would answer me. Then I saw a man dressed in traditional Muslim dress come towards me. I thought 'maybe he will know'. I asked the man, he did not know but said he would give me a room for the night as I explained I had no where to go.
We went to the nice mans flat. He made me a wonderful dinner, he also ran me a nice warm bath. I got cleaned up. The man said he would sleep outside the flat in the hallway on the floor so I would not be worried and let me sleep in his bed. I slept and awoke to a nice breakfast of fruit and the man said to me he had wrote out some numbers - the YMCA, the police and such on and gave me 200 English pound and he told me if I could not find the lady to use the numbers and if they did not help to come back to him. I thanked him very much and made my way to find my friend "Paula". I knew she lived close to a pub so I made my way there. When I reached the area I was trying to remember the house number in my brain and I knew it was in the 20's. So I was asking around for a few hours and then some one pointed me in the right direction. I then went knocking on doors like a door to door sales man looking for "Paula" around 30 min's in to my door to door search I had found her !
So when I found her we went in and I had explained everything that had happened, she was quite shocked and also quite relived that I had found her. I had said I needed to find work. She gave me a list of places to go but it was Sunday so we needed to relax. I spent most of the day planning how I was going to make a new start in London and how this place was so much better then Dublin.
Monday morning and I had my plan of assault on London in place I said goodbye to "Paula" and made my way to all the places she had told me. I spent all day looking for work and no luck but on the way home to "Paula" I stopped off in a shop to get my ears piecered two times on each side and I stopped of in a barbers and managed to get my hair bleached SNOW white for quite cheap. I went home and "Paula" was shocked to see how much I had changed myself.
So as the days had gone on, it had come to Thursday I had sorted a job to pack boxes. I told "Paula" I had got a job and I would be on my way come monday when I started. So Thursday night I decided seeing as I never bothered to call home I would call my friend. I made contact with Ireland and it turns out the place was up in arms looking for me, the guards were in my school, my father was on the radio, my brother was asking my friends if they knew anything, my sister had flown home from the america to come find me. All this was way to much to take in so I said to my friend I would call back tomorrow. I told "Paula" when I went home that night feeling like a data overload was going on in my brain. I did not sleep wondering what have I done.
The next morning I raced down to the phone box to make contact with Ireland calling friends to see if they where on to me or knew where I was. I had then talked to my girlfriends mother and she explained everything in detail, so by the end of us talking I said 'OK tell my sister I will meet her Saturday in Liverpool St Station in London'. The deal was in motion, I went home and explained to "Paula" and she said she would come with me to meet my sister and explain everything was OK.
The morning had come very quick and the day left just as quick. We had to meet my sister at 8pm. I was nervous - she flew all the way around the world to save me, was she going to be mad with me ? Oh the anixety! As we got off the tube and into Liverpool St Station, Police were everywhere. I thought there had been a murder ! I saw my sister standing with a man close to her. I went over to her not knowing what to say. I must have stood beside her for a good 2 min's and I had to bring her attention to me by sort of child like fashion of pulling on her coat... with that she roared my name and we were surrounded by police. With shock I realised it wasn't a murder but the police were looking for me ... we were taken away by the police. My sister had to do a lot of explaining and when they let us go our own way, I had to do a lot of explaining to her!
Eventually, my sister and I came to the decision that I would return to Ireland to live with my brother. I would not have to return home. That was fine with me. I sort of won in the end.....And No i never did pay that phone bill!!
That was my trip to London. I hope you liked it