12 Jun Do you want a return ticket?
6am – I got up with Emily, she was off to work at 8am and I was due in court at 3pm. It was far too early for me but I wanted to spend that last morning with her. I am glad she was going to work and not joining us at court, she didn’t need to see what was about to happen.
We were sitting on the sofa downstairs, cup of tea in hand whilst my step mum, Helen, fed the cats. It was almost like a normal morning. I was oddly optimistic and yet numb to the thought that I might not be sleeping in my own bed tonight. We held hands and sat in silence until she had to set off for work. Everything was so quiet, I didn’t want to leave all of this but at the same time I just wanted the waiting to be over.
As she left we shared a kiss and a hug and I watched as she reluctantly drove off. That was it, she was gone, I wouldn’t see her for another 16 days when she visits me at Armley prison.
I went upstairs to shower, my bag was already prepared the night before. I had been to Tescos, bought miniature toiletries, rolled my clothes up, put in a couple of pairs of shoes. It was just like packing for a holiday, except I wasn’t worrying about weight restrictions for where I was going. What a bittersweet feeling.
Mum came over to Dad’s house at half twelve and we headed for the station. Helen didn’t join us because she wouldn’t be able to see me in that box. She also said there will be enough drama for you without me being there.
We got there in plenty of time for our 1.03pm train. Colin, my mentor and my business partner in The Lazy Camper was already at the station ready for our day out. So many times I have met him on that platform to go to London and conquer the world. This time we were heading to somewhere so different to that life. How the heck did I get here?
On the train, Dad had his earphones in. He recently worked out that he could listen to the radio on his iPhone, so distracted himself by listening to R2 and 4. Mum was sitting next to me holding my hand, she didn’t want to let go. She knew deep down I was going to be remanded in custody but didn’t share it with anyone, not even me. I was showing Colin how to send group texts to my ‘tell these people’ list on my phone should the judge sentence me to custody. He tried to strike a balance between paying attention and not acting interested as it wouldn’t be needed. He kept saying ‘It will be fine, he won’t go to prison’… As much as I wanted to, I didn’t believe him.
The train guard walked up to our table and asked everyone in turn what ticket they needed. We all said to Leeds, he then looked at me and said ‘Do you want a return?’. The 40 pence question between a £4.80 single and £5.20 return ticket. Obviously the 40p wasn’t the point but it was at that moment the world seemed to stop. 11 months on bail had lead to this day, this moment. Will I be coming home?
I could feel my heart in my mouth and I couldn’t give an answer.
Mum jumped in, ‘return please, I’ll get this one’.
I’m going to share what the court, the sentencing and my first night inside was like in my prison diary. Day one will be released on the 1st July 2016 – exactly one year on from that awful day.
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