Walking around to see Liam, I settled on the nicest way to describe him – Natural. A pre consumer is what he calls himself though. Everybody else just calls him an unemployed loser. He’s not down about this though; on the contrary, he’s full of optimism, he has a degree in conservation. He’s also odd which most people see as indifference but I see originality. Besides, he’s never boring and that’s all that matters. Last week he told of his shutdown process and prioritisation. When unable to afford electricity or gas he’d stop cooking and make a bottle of no-name sauce and a loaf of yesterday’s bread last a week. In winter his jacket from high school was his heater and in summer his undies were his cooler. To save water he’d walk to the park and use the public toilets, said they were safe during the day, but if desperate he would just go in the back garden. He only washed himself when it rained heavily enough. I don’t know what he’d do if he had to pay the rent. Luckily my mum’s the landlord and Liam’s an old mate despite him kissing my sister once.
Waiting for Liam to open the front door, I noticed a downpipe that used to be firmly fixed vertically to a brick wall of the flat, was diagonally strung up by pieces of wire. And instead of entering the ground, the pipe had been duck taped to the edge of a kid’s plastic swimming pool. Mum would have a fit if she ever came over. Liam opened the door.
‘I see you’ve solved the water problem,’ I said.
‘Do you think it’s for drinking or bathing?’ Liam asked.
I didn’t answer as I was immediately distracted by Liam’s outfit. He stood barefoot, wearing a school uniform dress much like the one my sister used to wear. I must say, I was glad the dress was cut below his knees. It then occurred to me that perhaps Liam had more than kissed my sister once.
‘I’m not even going to ask.’ I smirked, not sure how to laugh and cry at the same time.
‘About what?’ Liam twirled his finger in the edge of his beard that had been tinged blue, the colour of sunny days.
‘Couldn’t find the Tbars?’ I asked
‘What?’ Liam stared at me, nonplussed. ‘Everything else is dirty or won’t be dry till later and what were the odds of you coming around?’
‘At least your hair’s not long enough for a pony tail.’ I smiled.
‘That’s an idea.’