Spreading the map out on the table in front of him, he sighed deeply. Reaching for the marker pen in his inside pocket he prepared to cross out yet another ‘room to let’. That morning he had set out with a map full of prospective homes and heart full of hope. Three hours in and his options were becoming dangerously limited. If he was to draw his heart now it would resemble a shrivelled balloon. In order to be able to stay he had to find somewhere to live. Armed with a map and a marker he had scoured the local papers and plotted the rooms he wanted to look at based on price, proximity to college and the places to be seen. He desperately wanted to break out from the confines of his parent’s where he felt that his creativity was being slowly poisoned by their inability to understand or respect his life choices. His father had made his thoughts known ‘not under my roof’. So here he was trawling the shit-tips of the classifieds to a soundtrack resembling a ticking bomb.
The last place he’d seen had a toilet in the room for fuck sake. A free standing porcelain shitter right there for all to see. The price had been right but he could lob a brick through a shop window and spend the night somewhere similar for free. Yes, he had been spoiled living in suburban denial but seriously, right there in the fucking room?
The room before that had been as big as the single bed dominating it. The ad read ‘Perfect for a student. Desk included’. The ‘desk’ was a tea tray attached to the wall at one end of the bed. Admittedly it folded away to lay flat against the wall, but the sick fucker that had fitted it had made sure that the two labrador puppies pictured stared out into the room. Their eyes followed him as he attempted to side shuffle his way to the door – for at least 3 seconds he contemplated ripping the tray from the wall and taking it with him.
He had four more places to view – surely one of them would be the one. He just needed a little place to call his. Somewhere that he could feel safe. A place to go home to at the end of the day and not have to be bullied or pawned. Everything else was lining up nicely; accepted to college, part time job… he was preparing to stride out into the World. No apologies.
As he drained his now warm pint one of his favourite songs came on the jukebox. It was a sign – a rallying cry. “You won’t get anywhere sniffling into your pint – on your feet soldier”. Folding the map he stood and headed back out to seek a room. A room big enough to hold his stuff but without holding back his aspirations.