5th of December 2015, at three o’clock in the morning, Selena crawled inside her car dropping her bag at the front passenger’s seat. She sat at the steering wheel before central locking all doors. She is tired and could not wait to lie in. Her head was turning to left and right, in a thinking mode. This is one of her daily rituals before she jumps to the back passenger’s seat. She would look around to check if no one was watching her. She thought there could be a stalker or a murderer lurking in the dark near her car. Who knows? Selena has to take precaution the pros and cons of sleeping in her vehicle parked alone in a vast car park. She could see from a distance there were a few stationary cars with strangers sitting inside eating food from McDonald. She knew those people had just been from the cinema right opposite the McDonald building.
For a little while, she was resolute, sensing what is going on outside her car. Her eyes were scanning every nook of the car park. She could see a couple of nocturnal birds picking leftover food on the ground. It caught her attention, staring at them for a few minutes. The birds were caring for each other, giving food to one another just likes a loving husband and wife. The sight of them touched her soft spots. Her eyes were welling a bit. It is because it reminded her of someone in the past. “I cannot turn the clock back…just move on and go forward. No looking back,” she whispered, eyes looking away from the birds picking left-over food from the McDonald paper bag abandoned under a lamppost a couple yards away from her car.
The cars from a distance were all gone. Hers stood alone next to the bare tree. Selena turned her face to the McDonald restaurant. She stared for a few minutes. She wanted to be sure nobody inside was looking at her before she would disappear to the rear and to start making up a makeshift bed and curtains. This is her routine before she retires to sleep.
She jumped to the back. Her eyes check to each window to ensure it had a little gap to let air in. Then, her eyes flashed to all doors to double check if they were all locked. It is all okay. Safe.
It does not take long for Selena to get ready to bed. Makeshift bed and curtain are done. Just like living in a traditional home, she always changes her clothes at night. She wears Mark & Spencer pyjama with a hood and socks to keep her warm at night. There you go, Her body slipped in the Vango sleeping bag laid nicely on the two-full-packed of clothes travel bags sat next to each other. Her pyjama hood covered her head. Then an extra layer of Merino wool blanket spread across her body. She looks cosy and warm. Her eyes shut, then open. She remembered she must have her carbon monoxide gadget next to her head. God knows where she kept it. She forgot? Oh no, she did? Selena turned her face to the left. Her hands snapped a carbon monoxide gadget buried in her clothes in a bag next to her side. Her finger pressed the button. It howled. No one could hear it except Selena. She dropped it on a box beside her head. Then she went to sleep.
It was quiet. She was drifting to sleep through half of her brain could hear the nocturnal birds were scratching the car roof. It lasted for three minutes before their wings flapped and went.
She slept until the strong wind shook her car. It’s the English weather. It changed. Sudden. At six o’clock in the morning, cars were coming. She rose. Her eyes peered out. She could see some families are going to the Health Club a few yards behind her car. At this time, the McDonald is full of eaters. The car park was pack with all sorts of vehicles. She could hear the talking of everyone and the kids’ whimpering.
Then, she spotted a scrappy old man wandering outside her car. His head bent down to the ground, eyes were busy looking for something. Her eyes followed in his direction wondering what he was after for. Yes. He was after for something. Cigarette. He picked quite a few half used cigarettes and put them in his pockets. Next thing, he staggered to the white disabled van parked four yards away from Selena’s car. He crept inside. Not long, he appeared with a cigarette lighter gripped in his hand. He lit one half-used cigarette and puffed.
It seems Selena’s morning diary is fascinating. It never stops there. She lowered her upper body back to the makeshift bed. She shuts her eyes. She just wants to have more hours sleep. Who can blame her? No one. She was up until two in the morning last night writing her diary. Last month Selena had joined the National Novel Writing Month from 1st until 30th of November 2015. It was 30 days writing the novel challenge to write a 50,000 words novel manuscript of any gender. She did it. Selena wrote a thriller novel entitled “London Halloween Murder Plot.” She won this challenge. It boosts her self-confidence. That is why no one can stop her… writing … ever since. Let’s see if it is going to be a bestseller of all times. You will never know what future holds for her writing skills. Perhaps she is too ambitious! Well, who can blame her? Dreaming is free. Why dream small, if you can dream bi?. Yes, she is, she is a total fucking dreamer. Some people are laughing at her. Some are smirking behind her back. Well, individual has his or her own opinion. Good! Selena just brushes it off. Ignore them.
In the past, one of her old friends had said in her face that her life has no direction. Who the hell she is? Her life is stagnant! Telling Selena that her life has no path. This woman needs to look herself in the mirror.
It is cruel to say things like that to a friend who had been through so many down in life. This is not true! Selena is not scared of a career change. She is not scared of being alone. Selena is always learning new things to upgrade her life’s skills. She is not scared of moving away from London to Devon. She is flexible.
When Selena told her old friends that she is going to camp in her car to save money, they could not believe it. Since then, she has not heard from them. No calls. Nothing. Selena had called them to say “Hi or Hello.” They are all hiding. No one ever returned her call. No one invites her to stay a night if she wants to, in case she will not cope sleeping in her car. They are all frightened because they think, Selena will ask a favour from them. Well. Good on you Selena. Now you know they are not your friends. They are just users. They would call you if they wanted something from you. Do not be naive Selena. Wake up. Clean up your friend’s list. Just keep a few. They had distant themselves. Why? They think Selena is mean as she can afford to pay rent for a flat if she wants to.
Who knows if Selena is in debts? She had loans to pay. She had families abroad that never stop asking financial help. Every time they called for money, she helped them. She knows how to be poor and hungry. Selena was born from a typhoon belt country, Philippines. Almost half of the population is poor. Starve. Sick. Some are hardly have anything. It can go on.
All these things were flashing back on her mind while she returned on her makeshift bed staring at the ceiling feeling the car shaking by the roaring winds.
She rose to peer out the window to the left. No more car park spaces left. It was a full house. Winds continued beating her car. She snapped her mobile. The battery was almost running out. Selena had to get up and dressed. It was eleven o’clock in the morning. Then, she thought no rush. It is her day off. She dropped her body back onto the makeshift bed pulling up the edge of the sleeping bag up to her neck. The pyjama hood was still intact on her head.
At an instant, she jerked when something knocks on the side of her car. Immediately, she rose to catch the sight of the police officer leaving out from the driver’s seat. Her heart sank. Then, she realised that they were not after her. They parked the service car next to hers. Her eyes followed to them until they disappeared in the McDonald restaurant. Her hand wiped her eyes, and the other was taking off her pyjama hood away from her head. Her heart was racing up. Cool down, Selena. The police officers are just hungry. They want food, not you. She is fine now.
She got up and dressed. Soon, she ran to McDonald to use the toilet and sink. It is time for her to go to the health club and have a wash, steam and sauna. That is Selena’s favourite hung out. Sauna. Steam.
She hasn’t eaten yet. It is nearly twelve o’clock in the afternoon. She grabbed some fruits, a bag of nuts and the sushi food she bought last night. She ate them and went.
While driving to the health club a few miles away, her mobile rang. It’s her daughter. “Mom, can I borrow your video. I need it,” “Okay, I will come to see you right now.” Right. Instead of going to the gym, Selena drove to East London to drop the video to her daughter. You see that is a mother’s love. Mother drops anything when a daughter wants something.
Selena is excited to see her daughter that she hadn’t seen for a while. Every time she asked her daughter to meet up, she would always make an excuse. “I am very occupied, mom.” Okay, perhaps her daughter is genuinely busy. Selena did not mind. She never gets upset about it.
Driving to East London, the weather still windy and gloomy. It looks like the rain is looming. It takes awhile to find where she lives. The route from Northwest London to East London is not straightforward. It is traffic.
An hour later, she got there, feeling happy to see her. She rang her daughter telling her that she is on Bromley high street. “Mom, I know where you are, but I am a bit far from where you are.” “So tell me where to go, okay.” “Can you google St Andrews Medical Centre, my flat is near there.” Poor Selena. She googles the medical centre, and her daughter is right. The Google maps are expert guiding anyone. A few minutes later, her car crawled at the front of the medical centre. There was a problem. Parking restriction is active in the area. Selena could not find a space to park her car. She called her daughter. “Where are you now? I am here now,” says Selena, “Can you come and pick me?” Not long, her daughter appeared. Selena wound down her window. Her daughter ran to her. Their eyes met. “Jas, Look! What is happening to your skin? It looks dry.” “Mom you are very mean, always telling me off.” “Nope,” says Selena, “I am your mother. I always want the best for you. Eat more avocados, apply coconut oil to your skin.” “I know. I know. I have a bit of eczema,” she says in a hurry leaving her mother, ” I am going now mom. I am busy.”
She turned away running back to her flat. Selena stared at her daughter until she entered into exclusive blocks of apartments in the building.
You see… teenager’s daughter behaves as if she knew everything. It never ends there. Selena noticed that her daughter had a nail extension. She texted. ” Hi Jaz, if you want to keep your nails healthy, stay away from nail extension. Nail extension ruins your natural nails. Listen to your mother. Okay.” Her daughter never replies. Selena has started revving the car engine. Her eyes glanced at the mobile expecting her daughter might send a text to her. None. She got annoyed this time feeling she drove a long way and never invited to see her flat. She texted. “You are a bit rude. If I have known you would not show me your flat, I will not come.” In a second, Selena got a reply. “Mom, you can see my flat next time you come around.” “Okay,” she texted back to her daughter.
Selena never sees it coming. Her daughter calls when she wants something. Do not worry Selena. It is a teenager thing. She will change one day when she is a bit mature. Yes. She is only 19 years old. Give her a break. Let your daughter makes her own mistakes. Yes now…she thinks she knows everything in the world. Just be there for her. Will you?