continuation of A Broken Dream
It was summer now and days passed lethargically by rolling gently into weeks. This young and carefree teenager moved into a crammed, one room apartment. Four white-washed walls and a little gas cooker to prepare his meals on. He was happy though, was fully confident, it was only temporary. The important thing was that it was his space, his first home away from home. It’s not the apartment that counts, but the love that goes into making it a home to enjoy living in. A few posters on the bare, white walls, a bed and a cupboard space, and that was enough.
Surprisingly though, work didn’t come his way. He spent hours at the local job center, sifting through pile upon pile of job applications, went to interview after interview, but nothing. Money was fast running out and the rent needed to be paid. He decided to go on welfare assistance; would sign on and claim unemployment benefits. It was the obvious solution to his predicament. Once every other week, he would leave his job searching behind and sign for his pittance. It didn’t really matter though. There was work out there and he wasn’t work shy. It was just a matter of time and that’s the one thing he had, he thought.
It’s a fact that not all dreams come true. If only they did, this story might well have a different ending. He wasn’t the only teenager scraping by on welfare assistance, certainly wasn’t the only one desperately grasping for a piece of the social cake. He was just one of many, who had found their ways to the boiling pot of frustrated youth. A frustrated youth is an unstable soul and an unstable soul is a potential liability. This young teenage, lost soul, bewildered by his lack of success, fell in with an equally bewildered group of lost souls. He let himself go, dyed his hair, bright red and began shoplifting for extra meals.
It was 1984, summer uneasily giving way to fall. This is when I came onto the scene. I too had found my way to this seaside town in search of a better life. I too found I could barely afford to live without welfare assistance. I too found the dream fast dying, that I was only one within an ever growing mass, who were fighting, just to keep their heads above the water within the rat race of young life. I met this young teenager and we became good friends. I didn’t know him so well by his given name. His street name was Scum. I always thought it suited him pretty well actually, although his given name was Martin Wright. Scum and I spent many hours together and fall rained into winter, winter; bitter cold and windy, into spring once more. We gave up on ever finding work.
Scum began to experiment with drugs and like a fool, I allowed myself to be drawn into the horror of the long and lonely road that lead to his downfall. Our one room apartments were warm and reasonably comfortable in the summer months, although as winter gripped the land, they became quite unbearable. We both paid for heating and electricity by way of a battered, old coin meter, although usually after the second week of welfare assistance, we were unable to add more loose change. The last week of the month would be spent by candlelight.