As I stood at the reception desk at the British Club Kitty’s words went round in my head. Kitty was Rupert’s formidable grandmother. “If you don’t ask, you don’t get,” she used to say before she became a victim of the NHS superbug.
So I asked the stranger next to me how long he’d been here. About 10 years he told me. “Oh,” I replied. “You don’t happen to know anyone who is moving and would like to let us have their apartment do you?”
“Why are you talking to strangers mummy?” asked Olivia. “You always tell us not to.”
“I do actually,” said the stranger, and explained that a colleague of his might be leaving and looking to sub-let his three bedroom flat in the middle of town.
“Well, goodbye then stranger,” said Olivia. “Here’s my card,” I said giving him my best ‘I’m not really desperate but please take pity on me and my three children’ smile.
We got into the taxi. Suda had gone off to Dubai so sent his room-mate to collect us. He is a young, good-looking man, also from Sri Lanka. He told us he was born in 1980. Isn’t that when I took my driving test? I feigned heat exhaustion and collapsed in the back seat. That was one thing I wish I hadn’t asked.
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2008