Wednesday, 4 March 2009 - 5:43 pm

All about the journey

Today was back to normal. Which is weird, because this life is starting to feel normal to me now. Get up, scrape breakfast out of a can or maybe a box of unlubricated cereal. Change into a slightly fresher set of underwear and pack everything back into our bags. Scour the building for anything we can use, and put our shoulders behind a car until the engine catches. Then out onto the road for the day’s journey.

The world of hair products and worrying about getting to work on time seems like so long ago. It’s been over two months now. In the scheme of my life, that doesn’t seem like a long time. But it doesn’t jar me that the lights don’t work any more and I’ve stopped turning on taps in the hope of clean water. I’m getting used to sleeping in other people’s beds, though I do make them up in the mornings in case someone comes along to use them after us.

I still hesitate when it comes to taking things. Not food or water – we need those to survive – but clothes and equipment. Somehow it’s easier to take from other people’s houses than it is from stores – there’s something inherently naughty about tearing off the tags. Taking from someone’s wardrobe or shed feels more like borrowing, like one day I’ll come back and return everything. I know that’ll never happen – and after a week with us, no-one would want this stuff back – but that’s how it feels.

Then there’s the paranoia. The constant vigilance, the jumping at every noise that echoes down a street we thought was empty. The way we sit up in shifts through the dark hours, though we’ve never been attacked then. The way that each of us carries a weapon now – or two, in some cases.

It has all settled into routine, into habit, into normality. It frightens me sometimes. But at the same time, it’s a comfort. We’re surviving. We’re getting through this, and we’re finding the things we’re looking for. Some of them, anyway.

It gives me hope that Dad is still out there somewhere. That he’s surviving too. He’s a practical guy, he would be able to make things work. He’d know what to do. He’d tell me all the things I’m doing wrong right now.

We’re all stepping forward now. Getting closer to where we want to be. No-one asks what we’ll do when we get there; it’s all about the journey for us.