Life Begins At Thirty : Chapter Seven

The Apartment

I moved to London in January. It took me quite a while to find a place to live that I was happy with that I could afford. That may sound odd. I won the lottery, I’m a millionaire for god’s sake. But London is an expensive city and I’m a snob. The place I found was a two bedroom apartment in Primrose Hill and it cost me just under a million pounds.

What was I doing with a two bedroom apartment? You might ask, given my lack of any other people in my life. The answer was that given my attacks of loneliness I felt it would be a good idea to get a flat-mate to keep me company.

The apartment was on the fifth floor of a beautiful block. I’d always been a fan of good architecture, particularly modern white, glass and chrome tower blocks and this one met my taste to perfection.

Walking inside I was greeted each day by the buildings doorman, Joey. Whilst I planned to get a flat mate I was going to be alone at least at first and the idea of having security in the building was definitely one of the things that drew me to this apartment. There was also an elevator which would be helpful until I got fit at the leisure centre and gym which occupied the ground and basement floors.

Entering the apartment from the North side there was an open plan kitchen and living area lit by large windows on the Western and Southern sides overlooking Regents Park. On the East side there were three doors leading to the two large bedrooms and a large bathroom. There was also an en-suite with a shower off of the larger of the two bedrooms. My bedroom.

I got into a routine quite quickly. Breakfast at the Starbucks across the street each day around eleven. Lunch around two thirty. Dinner around eight. Drinking till dawn. I may have been depressed before I won the lottery but I wasn’t an alcoholic, now however I was drinking each and every night exploring every bar that London had to offer. I guess you could say it was through boredom but that’s not entirely true. It was loneliness. Drink made me feel less alone. Being in bars full of people made me feel less alone. What had happened that night in November was always in the background nagging at me, visit enough bars in London and who knows she might be there, it might happen again.

It took around a month for the drunk-all-the-time lifestyle to get old, I hadn’t found Hannah and the hangovers were getting worse. The sexual frustration was getting worse. The bars had turned to gentleman’s clubs and the money was being spent on the women instead of the booze. I had been to every club in Central London, quite a mission if you have a life, have any responsibilities or purpose. But not for me. I was becoming well known at these places. The strippers knew my name. Knew I had money and lavished me with the type of attention that I had grown weary of at work within ten minutes of my return.

It was of course different with the strippers. I didn’t know them. Didn’t feel guilty for looking at them, for treating them as sexual objects. They were half naked and desperately wanted my custom and would do almost anything to get it. One night I was in a VIP suite with two of the girls when one pulled out a small bag of white powder and invited me to snort a small line off of her colleague’s breasts through one of the six fifty pound notes I had paid for the experience.

I had never taken any drugs before and would never have considered doing them in the past. I’d never been offered them before in truth and, as I would imagine is true with most people who get hooked on drugs, I most likely would have done them just to have been popular. I certainly liked being popular with the strippers. I liked being popular full stop and the only people who wanted me now were whores.

Deep down I knew that my behavior was becoming just as self-destructive as it was before I won the money. Killing myself with alcohol, drugs and women instead of with a cocktail of prescription meds. Killing myself at a slower pace for a higher cost.

One of the strippers was called Caroline. That wasn’t the name she gave me of course, her stripper name was the ultra-original “Candy”, but at the end of the night she was almost as drunk as I was and as she pushed her hand between my legs she slipped and let me know her name.

As the night was ending I was feeling slightly more depressed about my lack of companionship outside of the strip clubs and the empty flat I was about to return to. I started talking to Caroline about the girl who haunted my dreams and let slip the name “Hannah”. Caroline froze with her hand squeezing my crotch. The name rang a bell with her. She knew Hannah.