Love on the NHS

Love on the NHS by Matthew Formby Read Free Book Online

Book: Love on the NHS by Matthew Formby Read Free Book Online
Authors: Matthew Formby
sunshine and a clear head. Gazing in  disbelief at his new bathroom closet, Luke washed himself and dashed off. He could not wait to explore the labyrinthine city of Woecaster.
     
     
     
     
     

XI
     
    There were so many people to meet. Something was always happening - a film launch, musical, boxing or international football match. Immigrants, high flying businesspeople, hairdressers, bohemians, artists, drug addicts, comedians, beggars, purveyors of electronic cigarettes, scholars... they were all here. American, European and Middle Eastern tourists crowded the trams to and from the sports stadiums and shopped in the malls. There were chocolate hotels, everything for a £1 stores, a barrel-load of buffet restaurants, open mic nights and nightclubs where photographers snapped the clientele. A political protest occurred almost every week, police sirens sounded every five minutes and shoutings of nonsense, laughter, arguments and buskers were a feast for the ears.
    The initial excitement soon wore off soon and for a few years Luke struggled to adapt to his surroundings. At times he drank heavily. He had lost a sense of who he was. He could spend hours thinking about it, turning over whether he was Luke as he had once been or Racey; yet why could he not be like the Racey he loved and knew in Lawson's Creek? No matter what he did, he felt he could not live up to what he wanted to be and he began to feel like a fraud. Anxiety and depression filled his days and thoughts of suicide were never far away. He would stand on a bridge near his apartment, overlooking the motorway. It had eight lanes of traffic and he wondered how easy it would be to jump in. Sometimes he would drink himself to oblivion in the hope something, anything would happen. Some human interaction might take place! But his nature was too quiet, his palette too refined; he did not speak in the grim sociolect of the locals. His efforts were largely fruitless. Days of sadness and longing turned into weeks and years.
    An acquaintance in Canada he had known for years on the internet invited him over for a stay. He jumped at the opportunity. It was just what he needed to get out of his rut. He paid £1000 for a return ticket and was extremely excited - but when he arrived at the airport in Calgary and could not show any hotel tickets, the staff became suspicious and called the acquaintance up. She told them she had not given him permission to stay at her home which was a lie. Luke never found out why but suspected she had probably done that because she was intimidated by their suspicions. Having to go back, never having set foot in Canada, only having seen it through an airport window was a bitter blow. The betrayal and loss of so much money left Luke at rock bottom.
    Life felt as though it could well be over - before it had began. And so he decided perhaps he ought to chase the only thing that made sense, the American dream. He had already changed his name by deed poll to Racey Witty. It was his way of rejecting the bland, humdrum reality people lived in. Why not go the whole way and move out to Bayside? Because it was unreachable, Bayside was a fictional place. Although it was supposed to be based in Cape Cod in Massachusetts it was actually filmed in Wilmington, North Carolina hundreds of miles south. As a result, when Luke flew out to Boston, Massachusetts - a few miles west of Cape Cod - although he had never been somewhere so exciting it was not quite what he expected.
    He flew out to Boston in the summertime in two consecutive years. On his first visit, he had no idea what to do and found himself wandering the streets in search of conversation. At length he saw an approachable looking man in a wine shop and entered. To Luke's amazement, the man was willing to talk beyond a few pleasantries, even to a stranger like him. Luke had never found it easy to strike up conversations before. The man was called Mason and let Luke serve people on the checkout while he

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