Never Judge a Book

7.30AM and I’m in Wetherspoons. Having got to bed at 2 O’Clock this morning, I was awake again at six and couldn’t get back to sleep (FFS), so I arrived at ‘spoons at seven and I’m having a coffee before heading over to CRI for Breakfast club and to use the computer.

I’m not having breakfast in ‘spoons but I note that a “Traditional Breakfast” of eggs, sausage, bacon, beans, mushrooms, hash bowns and toast is £3.29. The last time I had breakfast was in McDonald’s, where a similar sum will buy you a fucking muffin. ‘Spoons next time.

This is the time of day when the housekeeping gets done. I was just outside having a cigarette, observing the window cleaners working inside, cleaning the windows (that’s what they do) and found it quite therapeutic to observe.

Dinner at Shelter last night was multiple choice and I went for beef casserole followed by chocolate cake with custard: both were delicious. The cooking and catering staff, as well as the rest of the volunteers, were fantastic. I was made to feel very welcome.

Most imposrtantly though, those in the same boat as me are a great bunch. I almost don’t want this to end as people out here are so much more genuine than many others I’ve known for far longer.

My friend didn’t return last night but there are people looking out for her: that’s the way we work out here.

Often friendships which would take years to build otherwise are formed here within minutes. We understand and look after each other. Just tonight I’ve met three people whom I would trust (and have done) with my belongings and eventually my life. And that works both ways.

Much like at CRI, there’s free, donated stuff available at the Shelter church: clothes and so on. There was another candle incident last night at Gilbert Arse, which resulted in my £200 Crombie coat getting caked in wax: impossible to remove, so it’s ruined. And what did I find at the church? A Crombie coat, better than the last in fact: full-length and double-breasted; a bit like a German trench coat.

Another new friend, whom I met last night – Gemma – is having a bit of a hard time at the moment, so I’m meeting her later to keep her company and do whatever I can to help, even if that’s just to listen. That’s what we do out here.

Just like my former partners, these people come with baggage. Everyone has a past and deserves a second chance: not to be judged but to be accepted.

The plotting of the book is going well and I’m building a strong structure; so much so that the cover design is in the offing; I can see it now, like a foetal scan; like a new life just beginning. 

Tomorrow I’m meeting my friend Becca. She knows of my baggage, accepts me for who I am and is a very good listener. I’ve only known her for a short time but already she can seemingly read me like a book.

She doesn’t judge me though.

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