I WAS IN MY CHILDHOOD BEDROOM at Slade Green Road in Erith. Some friends with young children had been staying with us. They had just gone home. The children had left toys everywhere and I was tidying them up. There were two single beds in my bedroom. One belonged to my oldest son, the other to me. My bed was covered in soft toys, with multiple copies of my two favourite teddy bears, Rupert and Trigger. Both beds had a yellow fluffy blanket on them, but mine had another blanket too—a yellow and pink one. My mum came into the bedroom and told me it was her blanket and she wanted it back.
Then I was with a group of Jehovah’s Witnesses at a meeting for field service. My mum was with me. Looking around the room, I could see that everyone there had broken up with their husbands and wives. There was an Indian “brother” who was newly divorced and already had a new fiancée. I was aware that I was also divorced. There was a “sister” there called Tracey. She was free to marry but I wasn’t attracted to her in the slightest.
The elder conducting the meeting, a guy called George, assigned my mother and me to visit a brother called Sean. He and his wife, Sue, had recently broken up and he had been missing meetings at the Kingdom Hall. I got in a car with my mum and dad. We drove to where Sean lived. It was a high-rise block of flats. Mum and I got out of the car. I told my dad to wait for us. We headed towards the block of flats which had “New York” written on the outside in large letters. I was carrying a Bible, a small green booklet entitled Coping With Life’s Challenges, and a sheet of paper.
I looked at the sheet of paper. It had Sean’s address on it—number 7 on the fourth floor. Mum and I entered the block of flats and started to walk up the stairs. Mum was complaining because she didn’t like stairs. Just then, the stairs ended and we found we couldn’t get to the fourth floor. We walked back down the stairs. I noticed Sean’s wife was walking next to me with her kids. I told her we were going to see Sean, but if she wanted any help with DIY to let me know.
I reached the foyer on the ground floor and pressed the button for the elevator. I looked around and couldn’t see my mum anywhere. Then I saw a silhouette standing outside the block of flats. It was getting dark. I called out to the person thinking it was my mum, but a man’s voice responded. I walked outside and looked up to the fourth floor. I thought I could fly up to Sean’s balcony and knock on his window, but I decided it would be better to take the elevator. Just then, my mum appeared in the foyer. We got into the lift together. It was really tiny and my mum was complaining of feeling claustrophobic.
We reached the fourth floor and exited the lift. Two men, one blind, got into the elevator. I saw a pair of sheepskin gloves on the floor. I handed them to the blind man before the elevator door closed, but he said they weren’t his. Then a woman appeared and said they belonged to her. I handed them to her and she thanked me.
I walked up to a black door with the number 7 on it. There were two bells. One was labelled “Good company” and the other was labelled “Bad company”. I pressed the “Bad company” doorbell but no one answered. I figured Sean had fitted that bell as a joke for people visiting his estranged wife, so I tried the other bell. This time Sean answered, but he was naked, drunk, and clearly stoned on drugs. I told him we had been assigned to have a Bible study with him. He replied, “It’s Thursday. I thought you were coming on Monday.”
“No Sean,” I said, “it’s Monday.”
Sean was in no fit state for a Bible study, so I told him to forget it. We got back into the elevator. There was a family with children in it and it was very cramped. My mum started complaining again and one of the children told me I was fat. Just then, I noticed the elevator was going up instead of down.
Then I woke up shouting, “Fuck! We’re going up!”