A Psychological Move
We don’t have the actual move until Friday but over the last two weeks, there have been a number of psychological moves going on in my head.
The first was obviously to let go of the idea that Hillingdon are ripping Steven off by charging him such a hight rent for his new house. They are of course. But for me, the loss of a significant amount of his damages is outweighed by the fact that Steven now has a home of his home. I think back to those dark days of three years ago when Hillingdon’s plan was to move Steven to a hospital in Wales – probably permanently as I know how difficult it is to get people out of those places once they’re in. To go from Steven potentially losing everything he values to a home of his own is, in my eyes, worth the loss of £7000. It’s been great the last two weeks, shopping for the best stuff for his new home.
I keep getting the recurring thought that I’m unlikely to come back to Uxbridge after we move. Uxbridge and me have a long history. As a little kid, it was a ride on the green line bus from Southall to visit my cousin in Uxbridge. As a teenager it was the fabulous record shop on Uxbridge High Street with the cork booths. In my early twenties it was Regals nightclub and their fantastic two monthly Mod nights. In the late eighties it was the Co-op cafe where we’d go for a cooked breakfast before we caught the tube to Hampstead for our IVF appointments. In 1999, I started work at a counselling practice in Uxbridge and stayed there until last year. In the same year, I joined a gym in Uxbridge and my short lived bodybuilding career began. And in 2009, after being told by Hillingdon that we could no longer live as a family anymore, Steven and I moved to Uxbridge. Four months after moving, Steven went off for three days respite and never came home for a year. This flat holds those sad memories, as well as being a shithole. The omens were there on the day we moved in – the gas board inspected the appliances and condemned the cooker. It took the landlady over a month to replace it. Almost permanent leaking radiators, broken floor tiles in the bathroom, an unpredictable boiler, the hole in my bedroom floor – it has not been a nice place to live. And every morning, I leave the flat and as I turn the corner, the first thing I see is the Civic Centre. Walking to the bus station, I regularly pass the housing benefit manager or the “Mr Neary is the tough nut we have to crack” psychologist. When I go for my respite evening, I often see Whistlers Mother and the manager of the positive behaviour unit in the pub. Shitty, hard reminders.
Although, we’re only moving just over a mile away, there isn’t any real need for me to come back here. I’ll have to, to pick up the tube but that’s about it. I’ve given one of the support workers the job of picking Steven’s medication up once a month from Boots. The support staff can take Steven to his annual dental check up. Everything else: the weekly shop, the banking, respite evenings out can be done in Cowley. It feels great.
My sister and Wayne have done a fabulous job with the decorating and each time I go into the Cowley house, it feels like home. It feels like it can be a good home. It is a good creative space. I keep noticing the windows. Here in the flat, we have the large balcony windows but the only thing we can see out of them when we’re sitting down are the heads of the people on the upper deck of the buses. In our bedrooms (three stories up), the windows are right under the ceiling – you can’t look out of them (I have to stand on a chair to open and close them). The bathroom doesn’t have a window. In my new bedroom, I’m going to have my desk under the window so that as I write, I’ll have a view. That feels glorious.
Now that we’re into our final week in the Uxbridge house, Steven keeps remarking that this time next week, we’ll be doing exactly the same thing but in a much different space. Every morning when he pulls back the living room curtains, he says “Good morning Uxbridge”. This morning he said to his support worker, “Next Sunday Nick, it will be good morning Cowley”.
Different spaces. A different physical space. A different head space.