I made it through the night, obviously. Himself didn’t return but if he had, I was sharing the digs with a couple of the boys: an ex-Royal Marine and a Polish guy who’s built like an out-building. The cage fighter and the Paratrooper were otherwise engaged. I’m the brains in our little family, or rather the one who prefers not to fight and spoil these pretty looks. Not that any of my brothers are anything but intelligent (at the very least, they’re street-wise and have taught me some ropes and self-defence, some of which involves ropes) but I tend to be the facilitator and that’s my contribution to the group. I know I’m safe in that company and we’ve all got each other’s backs.
We’ve made a group decision to clean up the family home, given that it’s likely where we’ll be for a while as without exception we’re all dealing with hurdles, hoops and brick walls in our attempts to move on. We estimate a good day’s work if we all muck in, even with Armed Forces’ involvement. You can’t polish a turd but we’ll make it more of a home. My only stipulation is that I retain my writing corner. Operation clean up should start tomorrow and we’ll discuss it in finer detail over dinner tonight when three or four of us are out in Tunbridge Wells. We’re all stuck but we’re together. I liked having a place to myself but it’s unsafe, so I gain protection. The others have nowhere else, so they gain a roof.
We’ll divide the place into personal spaces, like a dormitory and even make provision for himself, should he return. The place has become a slightly longer-term prospect by necessity, so we’ll turn it back into Gilbert House. Yes, it’s a bit of a squat; a bit of a commune but it’s a roof and while we’re all trying to move onto better things but being frustrated by red tape, it’ll do and there’s safety in numbers: I trust those boys.
Time to finish breakfast (smoked salmon this morning), then off to work in the library and coffee later before dinner out tonight.
Yes, I do glamourise this life but it’s what some of us have and make the most of: our asylum.