The drive to what would be Martin's new home was quiet. Neither person spoke. Martin simply stared out of the car window and watched the world pass by. He tried to remember the last time that he was on a car journey. There were two memories that stood out to him: the time that he was being driven to the institute and the time that he got a taxi to the summer lake party months before arriving at the institute. Regardless of the fact that his last time in a vehicle he was essentially losing his freedom, Martin tried to focus on the positive; this car journey was giving him his freedom back, something that his life had lacked for many, many, years since being admitted to the psychiatric institute.
The car stopped and Martin realised that they were "home". It felt strange-almost unnatural to be on a normal street like he didn't belong. But he knew that he was wrong; he had been cleared of everything, he also knew that he was safe here too. It was time for him to start moving forwards, so he stepped out of the car and followed Colin along the row of houses until he stopped in front of a white door. The house was in the middle of the row, it was attached to two other houses either side of it. It was the complete opposite to what Martin had imagined it to be. Martin had expected another isolated building-another shared building actually,one that was home to recovering patients like him.
Colin unlocked the door and pushed it open but Martin didn't move, he stood outside clutching onto his bag of belongings and stared into the house. Colin must have noticed his uneasy actions – or lack of actions – and gently encouraged him to take a better look inside, 'It's better if you open your eyes,' he said, a slight humour was visible in his voice. But Martin hadn't realised that he had closed his eyes until he opened them. He had been staring into a house that probably didn't exist; he had been staring into a house in his imagination. He had to wonder whether he should find that place and go there instead. But he didn't have enough time to dwell on where his imagined house was because Colin was already inviting him in, 'After you,' he spoke. So Martin took a look into the house and concluded that it didn't look that bad. He stepped through the door and Colin followed him, closing the door behind them.
'I'll take you things upstairs for you.' Colin said as he gestured to the bag that Martin was still clutching. He took the bag and added 'have a look around, make yourself comfortable. This is your home now' he reminded Martin. It was something that Martin had to keep reminding himself about because it all still felt very surreal. He looked around the front room; it had already been decorated with furnishings and accessories. A few old photographs had been framed and placed around the house on the walls, a clock had also been hung on one of the walls and a small plant had been placed in the centre of the dining room table. The living room and dining room were open plan – it almost made the house feel bigger than it actually was. As he explored further, Martin wandered into the kitchen, where he could look straight out to the garden. The view could be seen standing in the kitchen doorway but Martin wanted to take a closer look so he strolled to the window and gazed out of it. There was a blue bench at the end of the garden, a few flowers had been planted around the gardens edges and a small path ran from the back door, cutting through the middle of the grass to the end of the garden. To Martin it looked like the most peaceful place on earth; everything looked innocent and untouched, calm, safe and harmless. A place where Martin could easily escape to.
He heard the sound of Colin's footsteps coming down the stairs and moved to look out of the side window. The view was less impressive – a few concrete slabs and a little brown bench that looked across to the garden. Colin came into the kitchen and grabbed two mugs from the holder. He opened the cupboard and took out some sugar and biscuits, placing them besides the two mugs on the surface top. He closed the cupboard door and began to make tea for them both. Placing the teabags into the mug and pouring the hot water from the kettle into the mugs, Colin was oblivious to the lack of attention that Martin was paying to him.
Colin began to stir the tea as he said 'So, I've got a key to the place and my number is in your phone. I'll be here most days anyway for a while, but when I'm not, please do not hesitate to contact me.'
'Thanks' Martin said, still not paying much attention to what Colin was saying or doing.
'We'll start going out soon. You'll be introduced to social situations slowly and before you know it, you'll be a social butterfly.' Colin assured.
'Thanks' was Martins response again.
This became apparent to Colin, 'It's a big adjustment.'
'I'll be fine.' Martin claimed, he wasn't sure whether it was the truth, though. 'Honestly Colin, I'll get used to it.' Martin insisted, more for his benefit, as Colin passed him the cup of tea. Martin took the mug and quickly returned to staring out of the window.
Unbeknown to Martin, Colin was picking up a clipboard. 'There's just one more thing I need you to sign.' He said as he held the clipboard in his hands.
Martin continued to stare out of the window, 'I thought I had signed all of the release forms?' he questioned.
'You have,' Colin confirmed, 'but this isn't a release form.' He proclaimed.
At this point, Martin turned away from the window to face Colin, 'Then what is it?' he asked.
Colin looked down at the official paper that was on the clipboard, 'This is an up to date copy of the restraining order for Mr Ben Foster.' He explained as he handed it to Martin.
Martin nodded in agreement to the actions being carried out against him, 'That's understandable. I mean it was pretty much impossible for me to get to him when I was in the institute. But now I'm free. It's probably a safe move.'
'He's got a new life now and it's been years since everything happened.' Colin pointed out, 'it's not like you were planning on finding him anyway.'
'Yeah, I know, but I still hate what I put him through.' Martin sighed. He really did hate what he caused Ben. He had caused Ben a lot of stress and abuse from the few people that believe what Martin was saying.
'You've changed now though Martin.' Colin assured, 'you know that what happened was an accident.'
Martin nodded and muttered, 'an accident. Do you have a pen?'
Colin began looking in his pockets for a pen, but when he found one and looked up it was too late to give it to Martin because he had gone and the restraining order had been placed back on the side. Colin got a little worried. He picked up the clipboard and walked through to the dining room where he found Martin looking outside of the window.
'I will get used to this won't I?' Martin asked as he continued to stare out of the window. He wasn't looking at anything in particular, though.
'Of what, the quiet?' Colin joked.
Martin shrugged his shoulders slightly, 'Normal life.' He answered.
'Well of course, you will. These things just take a bit of time that's all.' Colin tried to restore Martin's confidence.
Martin took the pen and clipboard from Colin and signed on the required lines. He passed it back to Colin. Signing papers was something that he had gotten used to during his time in the institute and this one was no different.
'Right then,' Colin spoke, 'I just need to go out for a short while. I need to get you some shopping, collect a few bits for you. I'm sure you'll be fine here for a few hours won't you?' He asked Martin.
'I don't need babysitting.' Martin retorted.
Colin stuttered a bit, 'No...um... of course you don't.' He made his way to the front door, 'I won't be too long. Make yourself at home.' Colin walked out of the door, leaving Martin staring out of the window.
This really was a big adjustment for him and he had already began to feel suffocated by his freedom.