14

After quite a few pressuring emails and discussions and weeks of relying on Viv’s good nature, I was informed they’d finally found me a place to live: a wholly unfurnished two-bedroom terraced house. On moving in, I was given one plate, one bowl, one cup, one glass, one chair, one desk, one set of cutlery, and a mattress on the floor. I was also informed I had to pay for the £450 damage deposit myself due to the financial restrictions that disbarred The Institution from renting properties. It felt like the accommodation equivalent of the Tinkerbell room in the Community Centre: impractical and ill-considered. It was, however, functional, and I am not fussy, so I agreed to the deal. Since it had taken so long to get to this point, I felt it best to keep quiet about any concerns, lest it take another four months to sort out another arrangement. I would often return from a day of trying to make art with people to this empty house and call my husband, hearing my voice echo off the bare walls, the other empty rooms, the cupboards bare and the mattress pushed up against the wall like a dead body.

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