I leave him kicking the boy on the floor and squint in the approaching dawn as I make my way home.
Home to me is simply a place to rest during the day in the safety of darkness. The place holds no sentimentality for me
I crouch down and lift open the garage door. It’s fairly large, the interior containing books stacked in one corner, a broom in another and a mattress taking up the remaining space. A thick blanket lays crumpled on the top.
I toe off my boots before pulling down the door behind me, blocking the gap with a draft excluder before locking it with a loud clang.
The darkness is relief to my eyes and I sigh, stretching out on my mattress and simultaneously reaching for a book.
My little collection of books is random and varied, from biographies, to atlases and classics. Anything I find in the rubble of various buildings and is legible, I save to help pass the time while I wait for darkness.
I open an atlas and look at the clean streets shown in the little square pictures.
The smiling faces, the different creatures…
It wasn’t a world I recognised.
I don’t remember learning to read but then I don’t remember a time when I couldn’t.
I’d woken up on the wet tarmac outside, looked up and been able to read the old No Parking sign.
I shake my head and focus back on my atlas.
I tried not to think of those early days so I read or I drew pictures in my small, slightly damp sketchbook.
Spending hours every day hiding from the light was arduous enough without having myself for company.
So I read, I drew and as the sun rose higher, I would slot the draft excluder tighter into the gap between the door and the cement floor, leaving me in the blissful darkness I called home.