I’m walking along with a friend when a small van stops and the large back door swings open.One of those heartwarming teacher stories, the work that I did and a child that has escaped. And then the denoument,
I peer closer. It’s Trendy. She leaps out. “Miss! Miss!” She runs up to us. “God I’m so happy I ran into you. I was hoping, you know… I was hoping I’d run into you. I heard about the controversy, you know…about how you did that speech and how you betrayed us all by going over to the Conservatives.”
I laugh. “Yes, yes, I know. So tell me what you’ve been up to. What are you doing these days?
She proudly announces that she’s been living in France. I’m impressed and secretly pleased because maybe I had something to do with that. I ask her what she’s been doing there. She has done a stint as an au pair and has spoken lots of French. There she is, all grown-up, all of twenty-two or -three, living abroad.
I smile. “So what are you doing now?”I'm afraid we have.
“I’m going back to France, man! Can’t stay here! This country is S—!”
I’m slightly stunned by the force of her condemnation. “What do you mean? What’s so awful about it?”
Trendy hops from foot to foot. “This country is going just C–P, man! With these Tories, man, no one can afford to do anything here!”
“Is it that bad?” I wince, still somewhat baffled by her genuine anger at what Britain has to offer.
She taps her forehead to suggest I’m being silly. “Yeah, man! Look, even my mum said it, you know. She said, “Put my name down on the list, but it’s ‘long ting’, you know!” She throws her arm in the air. “Nah, man! Too long! I ain’t waiting!”
We chat briefly before Trendy leaps back into the van and disappears down the road.
I look at my friend as we trundle along. “The list?”
My friend nods. “Yeah… the housing list.”
I stop us in our tracks and grab hold of my friend’s arm. I want to scream. This country is s— because it isn’t giving out free flats? Have we all lost our minds?