“You see a picture of yourself in a newspaper. It says you have disappeared. What is going on?”
Hoping that no one has seen me, I roll the newspaper up again and shove it into my rucksack for later, pulling my hood further down my head as I walk as quickly as I can away from the crowds of London.
I knew I should have bought that train ticket to Scotland while I still had the money. That sandwich could have waited, and now I’m still hungry and stuck in one of the busiest cities in England.
It’s a surprise my step dad had even decided to go to the police, let alone the media in order to get me back home to my boring town, with my ignorant step dad and my boring sister.
Taking a turn, I walk down a back street and keep going forward, turning only when it’s necessary. My oyster card is in my pocket with only a twenty left on it. But I want to get out of London.
I still have the wad of notes at the bottom of my bag in the envelope. Where could the money get me? Brighton. I could go to Brighton?
That would be too obvious. My sister knows I love Brighton and want to live there one day.
It’s probably one of the first places they’ll send people to look around.
There’s no way I’ll be hiding somewhere in my boring town.
I have no friends, I have no acquaintances that would even let me stay the night.
My phone gives a ping making me jump.
I move over to lean against the wall of a huge department store and read my texts.
Bexley, where are you? Todd texted me saying you’re missing. Please answer. I’m worried.
‘Oh fuck off,’ I shut the phone off and shove it back in my pocket, wrinkling up my nose in anger and frustration.
Why would mum be worried? It’s her fault I’m in this mess in the first place. It’s her fault for choosing alcohol over us; over me and Millie; over Todd; over her miscarried baby. Now I’m alone and my sister can barely even look at me. It’s all mum’s fault and yet she has the audacity to text me, telling me she’s worried.
Didn’t she get the hint when I told her never to talk to me ever again?
Did she not understand?
Kicking off the wall behind me I make my way to the main road where the mob of shoppers are walking around.
I don’t care how, but I’m getting as far away from home as I can. If it’s only to Scotland then I’m going to Scotland. If I can get to France that’s good. If I can get to America then I’m free.
Taking a scruffy hat out of my rucksack I park myself down on the pavement, stick the hat in front of me and huddle myself up, hood pulled over my head.
I will beg for as long as I can, but I am not going home.