Chapter 38 Part Five / The return
Ben just stood there; he couldn’t believe his eyes Camden lock village market was no more.
The iron gates that allowed access from the main road were closed and padlocked shut. Through them he could see the place where a thriving market once stood was now empty of people and the shed like structures looked derelict. One could still walk along the canal, accessing it from across the road. However, the area where Pat had taken her phone camera snapshots of the painted doors was closed off with linked metal barriers. Sammy had told him what to expect but still it was a shock to see it like this. To Ben, although time had passed it felt only like yesterday that he was here showing it to Pat and later Jason. He walked a little way down the road to where the bridge crossed the main road. The stall he worked on once a week cooking ‘Crepes, Donuts, and Waffles’ for the tourists, was also gone.
When the plane arrived in England Ben had taken everyone to the flat he still had in Hampstead. Although a squeeze for Jimmy and Jason they seemed happy enough sharing the spare bedroom. Whereas for Ben and Pat the room with the mirrored ceiling was like coming home. In fact, the sex they had that first night back, was certainly memorable.
Over the next few weeks Ben found life strange and had trouble settling down. The bread and butter photography he was forced to do at the studio he found boring.
His partner, Danny, had to keep reminding him that the people in front of the camera didn’t want to look too sexy, especially the bride. All she wanted was a photo to show off her dress, not her ample breasts or sight of her underwear when showing her garter.
Ben received several text messages from Donald asking him to come back to New York. Apparently he had sorted things out with Bernie the porn video guy who had been the main reason why Ben and his family of friends had left America in such a hurry.
During this time Pat decided to go back to America for a few days saying her fathers was ill, leaving Ben virtually all alone except for the boys. Jimmy and Jason, who he hardly saw.
Apparently they, were having a great time hitting the gay clubs and bars at night, then sleeping most of the day and only occasioning showing their faces at meal times.
This morning Ben had shut the door quietly so as not to disturb the boys when he set off for work. At the studio he found it boring as usual. The one highlight of his morning was photographing two bitches; one a prize-winning dog and the other its owner, who complained to Danny that Ben hadn’t given her dog the respect it deserved. This ended with Ben having a row with Danny and taking the afternoon off.
When Ben arrived home around midday. He was hoping to catch the two boys at least getting up. Instead he found on entering the block of flats he was greeted by the sound of loud music coming from upstairs. It got louder as the lift moved up the floors. When it eventually reached his floor, it was so loud Ben could hardly hear himself think. Three young men were smoking on the landing and had left the front door of his flat wide open allowing the sound to spill out.
The party was over. Ben watched Jimmy who was the younger of his two friends, bending to pick up a bottle lying on the floor, and thought he certainly looked sexy. Sometime during the morning Jimmy had lost his shirt and trousers. He had been giving a demonstration of lap dancing in Ben’s bedroom of mirrors to a couple of the party guests when Ben had walked in.
Ben had at first thought of taking pictures and joining them, in what was to follow. But once he saw they were high on drugs, he had thrown everyone except for the boys out. Apparently, when he left this morning to go to work, the boys hadn’t been home or yet to bed. It was only the drugs that were keeping Jimmy going. Jason had already crashed and was now sleeping it off on the floor in Ben’s bedroom.
Ben was not happy, he had with Jimmy’s help, moved Jason from the mirrored master bedroom back into the boy’s shared room, where he had found the place a mess. He almost tripped over a pile of discarded clothes heaped on the floor while manhandling Jason’s body. Apparently the boys would come home and just dump whatever they were wearing onto the floor before crawling into bed.
Looking around him, Ben discovered that his signed photo pictures had gone from the walls. Presumably they had been either stolen of sold to pay for their new life style. Whichever it was, it had to stop.