When I first woke up in the morning… I thought “I’m sick” the second thought was “Pants now I’m going to have to go on a plane with a cold’ and the third thought was ‘hey I might no have to go at all!” Two seconds later my thought bubble was burst by my mother bustling into the room.
“Right chip chop,” she said “lets get this show on the road!”
“Ugh.” I responded
“ What on earth do you mean?” questioned my mother.
“I’m sick.” I said in that awful bunged up stuffy voice you get when you have a cold.
“No you are not.” Said my mother “You are perfectly fine, you are obviously pulling a fast one on me to avoid leaving.”
“I’m sick.” I insisted.
My mother breezed over to me and placed one cool palm on my forehead.
“Jesus!” she exclaimed, “You’re burning up!”
“Ugh.” I groaned.
Within ten minutes my mother was sitting on my bed armed with chicken soup, orange juice and three copies of Heat magazine.
No, just kidding as if my mother would ever do a thing like that. In ten minutes she was on the phone to Heathrow airport demanding to know if there was any chance I could get a flight with the next 3 days. Within another 10 minutes she was back in my room again with a face like thunder.
“What?” I moaned
“You won’t have another flight until this time next week,” she paused to shove two aspirin in my mouth. “This is a nightmare! Why on earth did you decide to get ill today?”
“As if it was my fault!” I grumbled as I gulped down water to dislodge the aspirin.
“Well I can’t possibly get a week off work to look after you and you can’t go into school because you’re ill and well you haven’t exactly got a place there any more.”
“What about Dad?” I asked
“ Your father is in Birmingham with that woman of his, do you really think he would come down here to look after you?”
“I dunno.” I grumbled (Hello? I am delirious remember.)
“You’ll have to look after yourself,” she continued “I have GOT to get into work.”
My mother is a bank accountant and she owns half of the NatWest banks in London. She is one of your stereotypical accountants: Charcoal pressed trouser suit, Black heels, blonde hair teased into that sort of puffy style held up with hairspray, coral lips and perfect foundation. You might think that she turns all mumsie when she gets home but no. She stays in stereotypical bank accountant mode, sweeping in a 6:00, dumping her bag in the hall before proceeding to make Greek salad for dinner. She doesn’t ask how my day was, she doesn’t offer me a drink or help with my homework and she most definitely doesn’t give me a hug. (In fact I think the closest contact we have ever had was when she lost one of her banks and I gave her a pat on the shoulder). No all she says is something along the lines of: “The stock markets are down today.” It’s not a very close relationship…
Anyway, so there I was, faced with the prospect of being stuck in my room with no mother, no friends and nothing to do. On the first day, during one if those endless hours, I had a thought. I was never going to get to go and do half of the stuff I wanted to do in the UK. Like, see a West end musical, Ride the London eye, See Big Ben and Trafalgar Square and shop in Harrods. In fact, the more I thought of it the more I realised that all the stuff I wanted to do was in London. I had never actually been… hang on a minute I thought, I have the whole week with no mother in the house, 100 pounds to spend and a 244 bus that went directly to London. Well I was leaving soon wasn’t I?
I may as well enjoy it… after all I was now officially living on borrowed time.