From Essex to London in 101 Boyfriends

From Essex to London in 101 Boyfriends

Extract from the original blog which I’m re writing for a new book.

Prodrome (An early symptom indicating the onset of a disease or illness)

Nowhere Man

I sat opposite Nowhere Man on the tube, having just visited Sam at Bart’s hospital. Sam had AID’s and was dying. I felt alone with my impending grief as Sam’s other friends were men from the gay community I’d decided I was excluded from. I’d already used the top of my cigarette packet for a roach, the packet was nearly empty so I put the remaining fags behind my ears and made the rest of the packet into an origami robot, with a massive dick that stuck out like ‘Jake the Peg’. Nowhere Man laughed, he looked a bit younger than me, dark skin, lean and fit. I wrote my number with eyeliner down the side of the dick of my robot, gave it to Nowhere Man, and got off at my stop. He called me at work from a call box the next day. He understood numbers and places and we agreed to meet at Eros, Piccadilly Circus at 8pm the following Friday. I stood by the God of sensual love and desire, not aware of the meaning of Eros, Psyche or anything else that I was continually acting out but l felt like a circus, a clown one minute and a dancing horse the next, climbing over and around sexually transmitted diseases and the human condition of death and dying.
Nowhere Man was only a few minutes late. We got onto a bus, me distracting the driver trying to find my travel card while he got on behind me. We found seats upstairs at the back of the bus and smoked my fags. We ended up in a flat, high up in a tower block in a pretty North London area I hadn’t been to before, near Swiss Cottage. In the flat there were Nowhere Men everywhere, sleeping bags in corridors and on the kitchen floor.
“You going in there for fucking?” My Nowhere Man got a condom from a man standing up smoking a roll-up who spoke better English. We fiercely snogged our way into the bathroom and I leaned over the bath, there were seventeen broken tiles on the wall in front of me. I was shocked but this time not by my own behaviour but by this group of men. Hundreds of Bosnian refugees were beginning to descend in and around London, victims of torture from Serb-run detention camps. The men had an air of trauma I recognized from my Samaritan callers who had been abused. I left the flat and found my way via three night buses back to the witches gaff. As the final bus pulled into Eltham station I had got to the last page of M. Scott Peck ‘The Road Less Travelled’. I was coming to the end of this particular road and experiencing dark nights of the soul every other night. If the witches didn’t keep me awake the bad egg smell from the corrosion in the water and heating system did.
I walked towards Mottingham with Nowhere Man on my mind. I wanted to understand the world more, I wanted to go deeper into the human psyche than my work as a Samaritan volunteer and I knew to do this I had to look deeper within myself. There was a note on the kitchen table from the high priest.
“Liz, High Priest back tomorrow. We need you out the flat. Sorry. Jim” There were high priests and higher priests. I was just a temporary lodger who hadn’t taken part in the coven’s weekly communal sex, no surprise I’d be the first to go. I packed my rucksack and ventured into the night air again and onto another three night buses, arriving at my old friend Marni’s door step at 7am. I knocked on the door and sat on the cold landing. Marni slept well, she wouldn’t wake until her alarm at 7.30am. At school I’d been shit at maths but I loved numbers, I counted paving slabs as a child and I loved lists which included a list of boyfriends, it had begun as a joke with Marni at primary school, but now it had become the nightmare. No. 89 Nowhere Man. The next man I would be seeing was Ian, I wasn’t sure whether to put a therapist on my list or not.