That's Life ( Pt 17 )
The doctor was kind enough to get back to me that very same afternoon, telling me that I would be getting a phone call from a housing association later that day and that they wanted to make an appointment to visit. I didn't want to build my hopes up, but it all sounded promising.
I dare not go out, afraid I'd miss the phone call and I didn't want the landlady to find out who was phoning, so I hung around their back room for the rest of the afternoon. It felt like one of those situations when you're waiting for a parcel to be delivered, but the company are unable to give you a time. I was on tender hooks, but excited too.
My landlady poked her head around the door. “You okay?” She asked. “You seem pretty pleased with yourself all of a sudden.” I could tell she knew something was up.
“Oh! I'm just happy my son's now able to feed properly...just waiting for an important phone call. My doctor wants to keep in touch to find out how my son's doing after his operation.”
“But he only saw your son this morning!” She uttered, determined there was more to my excitement.
“Yes! I know...but he's got a few worries that need to be addressed before he's completely satisfied.” I could tell she was suspicious, but thankfully she didn't question me any further, because I didn't want to lie.
The phone rang a couple of times, but it wasn't for me. Then finally late afternoon, the call I'd been expecting happened.
Picking up the receiver, I said. “Hello!”
“Hello! This is Mr …from the housing association, can I speak to Ms ...”
“Yes! That's me,” I said.
“We had an urgent phone call from your doctor...he told us you were in need of a new place to live, due to your circumstances.”
“Yes!” I voiced. I couldn't say too much else in case the landlady was listening in.
“Well! We'd like to send someone round at about 10.30am tomorrow morning, if that's okay with you.”
“That's fine!” I declared, desperate to say more, but I kept quiet.
“We have your address from your doctor, but just to confirm can you verify so we'll see you tomorrow.”
I was bubbling over with excitement as I gave him my address, saying thank you and goodbye, then putting the receiver down.
Picking my son up, I walked out of the room. The landlady was stood in the kitchen, I could tell she was trying to look busy, opening cupboard doors. “Everything okay?” She uttered, gazing at me.
“Yeah fine!” I declared, walking down the hallway and climbing the stairs, grinning from ear to ear. Reaching my room and putting my son in his playpen, I then proceeded to punch the air and whispered to myself; “Yes...yes...yes!” It was such a great feeling even though I didn't know if anything would come from this meeting, but for me it was one step closer to getting help and now my doctor was concerned for my son's well being.
I quite literally wrote down in my diary straight away every word the man from the housing association said. It was such an important turn around. Playing with my son was a pleasure that afternoon, as I got down on the floor making funny faces that had him smiling and giggling as I played peek a boo with him, he just loved that game.
After a dinner with loads of questions from the family, though I never told them anything and felt very pleased with myself, both me and my son had a restful night's sleep with no tears.
Next morning I woke early and slightly nervous about my meeting, but excited too. I wasn't sure whether I should tidy up or not, considering I wanted whoever came to see me to realize what I was putting up with.
As it got near to 10.30am, I was pacing up and down the hallway with my son, biting my bottom lip anxious for his arrival. All kinds of questions were going through my mind, but I knew I'd forget them all the moment I was facing him. Dam! I thought...I should have written them down...but it's too late now.
It's seemed like ages, when eventually there was a knock at the door. The landlady wasn't in...thank goodness!
I opened the door and a smartly dressed man with a beard and glasses gave me a smile as I let him in. “Good morning...my name's Mr ! From the housing association. I then told him my name.
We shook hands and nervously I took him upstairs to my room. “Please...sit down over here!” I said, showing him to the table and chairs by the window. “Would you like a coffee?” I asked, placing my son in his playpen, then putting the kettle on to boil.
“Yeah! That would be nice.” He seemed genuine and kind, unlike some authoritative men I'd ever met.
He then produced some forms from out of his briefcase. “So! How long have you lived here?” He inquired, taking out a pen and writing.
“Oh! About two months.” I informed him, feeling that maybe this wasn't long enough to be entitled to a new home, but I needed to be honest. “Before that, I was in a refuge,” I said, as he started to write down some notes.
Then I proceeded to explain. “My son's not long been out of hospital, after having a hole stitched at the back of his throat...it's called a soft cleft.” I paused, then continued. “When I returned from the hospital a week later, I was shocked to find my room door open and the landlady's dog on my bed, also their cat was in my son's cot. It was awful because we ended up with flees, my son was bitten and I was also.
He continued to write down notes, while taking sips of his coffee. “The doctor said you share the accommodation with the family?”
“Yes! I do...the landlady cooks my meals and does my washing.”
“Well! It does seem you are part of this family....If you're not happy here, have you any family, relatives or friends you could stay with?”
I was starting to feel cornered, but needed to explain. “My parents won't let me go to stay with them. I haven't got any relatives that would understand that I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. It's a very long story.” I was starting to panic just talking about my past.
“I had nowhere else to go,” I said, “but my health visitor got me into a refuge, she was the only one that had seen what it was like for me in the marital home.” Here they come! I could feel the tears starting to well up and I really didn't want to start crying again, but just couldn't stop. I didn't want him to think they were sympathy tears, it was just I couldn't cope with having no hope.
He looked as uncomfortable as I was talking about it all. “Sorry! It's painful to remember,” I said, wiping my eyes and blowing my nose.
There was a silence as he finished taking notes, then he finished up his coffee and informed me that there wasn't any available housing for me at that time, but they would put me on their waiting list and he'd be in touch.
I felt deflated, knowing how long a waiting list could be, aware that other associations would have the same problem.
As we finished up the meeting and I showed him out, I felt deflated unaware of what was to come next.
To be continued...