Where my Roman landlady was, was a mystery. I only needed to give Alessia 65 Pounds per week and she would go to the bank to pay the rent in cash. Daryl did not like being around in Brixton too much, so I used to sleep at his place almost every night. He used to share a newly build 4-bedroom terrace house in Greenwich, not too far from the Cutty Sark. His flat mates were all nice guys, Kath and Keith were always kind to me, but I had some issues with Paulo, the Portuguese guy, who seemed to be jealous of Daryl and me.
Towards the end of September I went to the enrolment for the Marketing and International Business Degree Course at the North London University in Holloway Road. It was a part-time degree course and I could take up to 2 modules at the time. I opted for Marketing and Quantitative Methods. I was standing in the queue, waiting for my turn to come, when I heard someone pretty loud, talking French with a strong Italian accent. As it was a familiar voice, I looked behind and I tried to figure out where I had seen that guy before. After a few seconds, I shouted: “Massimiliano! Sei tu?” Massimiliano recognized me and we were both pleasantly surprised to find out that we had chosen to attend the same modules. I had lost contact with him since I had moved away from Bayswater and it was great to find a known face in the university.
My Monday-to-Friday schedule was getting really busy. I used to wake up at 5am, work at the restaurant from 6am to 1pm, attend my modules from 2pm till 5pm and meet Daryl at 9pm. The gap between 5pm and 9pm, excluding 1-hour for transportation, was soon filled with another job: Viagra Market Research Interviewer.
On a Friday evening after calling some 20 Sicilian men on their sixties and asking about their Viagra experience, I went home. Daryl was at his friend’s Colin in Brighton for a long weekend and Alessia was visiting her relatives in Italy. Once outside Brixton underground station I lighted up my cigarette, I gave Daryl a short call and I started walking towards home. I was dying for a hot bubbly bath, a warm soup and a relaxing evening with a book. There was I, I opened the door, press the switch to turn the light on, but nothing happened. “Shit”, I thought, “The bulb must be burned!” I went to my bedroom and realized that there was no power there either. “The bloody plastic key!” Alessia had taken it with her. So much for the hot bubby bath, the soup and the book! I went to bed without dinner and I spent the whole weekend with neither electricity nor hot water.
The following Monday Alessia was back with some bad news. The Roman “landlady” was coming to London from some Caribbean Island and we had to turn Alessia’s bedroom into a living room again. I was rather confused, I asked for explanations and eventually I got to know that the flat belonged to the council and I was paying a sunny vacation to the Roman girl. Apparently some council workers had to come to fix the leaking problem and Alessia and I had to pretend that we did not live there. At the same time the other girl would have interrupted her sunbathing to fly back to London. I was that disgusted that I left the flat on the spot and I went to live at Daryl’s until I found a new home. A week later the Roman girl realized that her dirty business was too risky and decided to live in the London flat and look for a real job.
On the first week of November I moved to Forest Gate in East London. Massimiliano had found me a single room in a cozy IKEA furnished house, which belonged to a gay couple. The house happened to be next to the one where Massimilano used to live, which made us neighbours.
On the second week of November a mouse moved in as well and it was chaos. It’s funny to see how such a small animal can destroy the peace in a gay house.
I was tired. I had 2 jobs, a university and a boyfriend and since September I had moved 3 times. It was time for a change: I needed a better job. I got my C.V. ready and within two weeks I managed to fill a great vacancy as a network technician for the aviation industry. I did not know much about routers, but I had a diploma in I.T. and language skills, which helped me getting that well-paid position. I started working for my new employer in December, after quitting both my two other jobs and the university.
My office was near Heathrow Airport and it was definitely too far away from both Forest Gate and Greenwich, so Daryl and I decided to look for a flat in Hounslow. A blond lady with a red sports car from a local estate agent’s showed us a very nice one but it was too small for us. A couple of Indian guys took us to view an end-of-terrace, which was too far from Hounslow Central tube station… We had some 10 viewings and eventually we found a 2-bedroom flat, which we both liked. Two weeks later, we moved in and just a couple of days after, I had to fly to Rome for work.