Sunday, 8 September 2013

leaving home

Today I'm returning to Fat Mum Slim's suggestions of 50 topics to blog about. The ones I've already done are down at the bottom if you're interested.  Today I'm looking at the fourth topic:

The day I left home

I finished my A level exams in June (I think) of 1992.  I can't remember actually sitting them, but I can remember that I woke up on the morning of my last exam (Sociology) with a cold sore, which I put down to the stress of studying, but it could have been something to do with the excitement of the coming changes too.
Me, in Yorkshire, c1992.
Thanks to my brother for the pic.

You see, when I came back home (smoking on the train, no doubt), I didn't just get ready to go to the pub with my friends.  I also packed up all of my stuff.  I wasn't going on holiday.  I was moving out.  I had a backpack, a suitcase, my trusty hippy shoulder bag, and one of those massive red white and blue things you used to carry laundry about in, before the invention of IKEA bags.

Before I left though, I went for one last night out in The Rose and Crown with a whole bunch of friends.  We had been hanging out for a couple of years, and while I didn't feel I knew them on any existential level for the most part, they had been a big part of my life for a long time.  Their story was my story too.  All the sordid party stories, all the fights gone wrong, all the love stories, all the tales of betrayal; we were all the culprits and the victims.  How did I feel to be leaving?  To be honest, I'd never truly left before.  I had no idea.  I didn't really feel I was leaving them.  I was just taking the next step in my own story.  My next chapter involved a different cast, and I was excited about that.  So I wasn't sad to leave my friends (or my family come to that), just happy to be going.

Thank you to Ilkley Cycling Club for the photo
That night I drank Blastaway's (it was Naomi's idea), and returned home to my bed under the eaves.  The following morning I was up early to catch the first train after 9.30am with my young person's railcard.  My Mum had hugged me and said goodbye when she'd gone to work earlier.  The train was in the station, and I got on it with all my stuff, got my walkman set up with New Model Army, and watched life go on in my hometown without me.  I looked up to the moors and down to the Victorian town hall, the bus going to Bradford, my Mum's house, my Dad's house.  And I thought 'this is never going to be home again'.  And that was thrilling (even though it was wrong).

I caught another two trains that day, flagging a bit in the heat with standing room only on the last one, and was glad of an older couple's help carrying all my bags onto the ferry to the Isle of Man.  It was a long trip, but I'd made it before, and I loved watching England dwindle away, and the island come into view.

Me again - this time outside
the cafe my flat was above
in Castletown.  Thanks again to
my brother for the photo.
When I arrived I was met by my fiancé  who helped me carry my bags first to the pub (where I chatted with the new cast in the story of my life, and enjoyed a pint or two of cider), and then to the bus, to Castletown, where I hadn't been much at all before.  My fiancé had got us a flat there.  It was incredibly good, for 18 year old me, and I was so excited and felt so grown up!  My own home.  I was desperate to do things for myself and prove that I could.

I loved that flat at first sight, and loved the chance of living with my fiancé   Of course, things didn't work out perfectly, but on the day I left home, it looked pretty darn good.

What about you?  When did you leave home?  How did you feel about it?  And did you end up going back?

This post is one of a series I'm doing inspired by Chantelle of Fat Mum Slim's suggestions of 50 things to blog about.  If you're interested, here's links to all the ones I've done so far.