The Long Journey Home


I’m in a hostel, The Good Shepherd. It’s all open plan, and wooden floors. I try to find my allocated bed, but the number on my key armband keep changing. A doctor speaks to me. He’s glad I’m here. He hasn’t seen me in a while. He thinks I should be in a meeting, discussing my problems with others in the same position. I think of all the treatment options I’ve been offered, but failed to use. All of them were pointless. 
I sit on a bed. Other guys chat to me. I explain that I have my own place, a bedsit, nearby. I just come here for the food, to see other people, and remind myself that there’s a caring safety net. One guy asks if my other place is like a mobile bat cave. I say it is exactly that. 
I wander across wooden, laminate floors, and down wooden steps with no bannisters, scared of falling. The numbers on my armband slowly stop changing. Words appear. “Just Now” they say. I realise I don’t belong here. I pause by a gift shop. Soft toys and jigsaw puzzles. I put a puzzle in my bag, and put a frog toy from my bag in the shelf. As I leave, a security guard stops me. He picks up the frog, telling me that I forgot it. I thank him, and leave. Outside, I look at the puzzle. A sunset, over a German autobahn. 
I’m driving with someone else. We follow the gps map onto mud tracks. There’s no gps signal. We are lost. We walk over a wooded hill. I think about how it’s like the start of a horror film. I find myself in bed, thinking about different plots the movie could have, how they start out comical, and end in horror. A knock. E is at the door. We go to a launderette. There we meet other friends. 
An older, black woman, asks me what her work email address is. I recognise her, and, slowly, she remembers me. E and J are playing an Ocean Colour Scene song on guitar and bass, through portable amps. I join them, looking through different apps on my iPhone until I find a suitable synth. We jam. People like it. We pack our clothes away and leave. 
I’m alone, by the launderette. My phone is now a terrible old model. I try to bring up a map, to find my way home. It shows me a route from Syria to Iran via Saudi Arabia. I know home is a long way, but just about walkable. 
I start the long journey home, unsure of my final destination. 
🐐🐏🐑🐏🐐🐏🐐🐏🐑🐏🐐🐏

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