Matt, Sadie, Helen & Mo

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Helen

The train sped through the countryside on a direct route to Paddington Station. Helen looked out of the window and watched, now and again, she stared at her own reflection, she hardly recognised the woman that looked back at her. It had been months since she had last been identified as ‘that woman from the train’. Her hair was now dyed to a mid brown colour and it gave her face a warmth that she had lacked before. She glanced around the carriage and noticed a man looking at her, he smiled. Helen quickly returned to looking out of the window. She wasn’t ready for that. The journey seemed torturously long and the idea of meeting Abbie seemed less and less like a good idea. If it hadn’t been an express train, Helen would have got off at the next station. What would she say to Abbie? Would London have forgiven her yet? At home in Bristol, in her parent’s house, in her old bedroom Helen felt safe and had spent the past months working through her demons. She had joined AA and NA, the latter much to her mother’s horror.

“I had no idea you were a smack head as well,” she had cried.

After the shock and the wave of disruption Helen brought with her, it seemed as if the family were healing as a whole. Helen’s mum had a job again, to rear her wayward child, and her father resumed his unofficial role as Helen’s chauffer. The daily meetings, although “poxie” at first, had been extremely painful, but with the support of the group who’d been welcoming even though each of them knew who Helen was, and what she had done, had given her the strength to forgive herself and try to move her life in a positive direction. The pain of losing Craig opened up as if it had happened yesterday, but this time Helen mourned.

“This train will shortly be arriving in London Paddington,” said the overhead speaker.

Helen swallowed hard and felt her stomach clench. Before she even got to Bond Street to meet Abbie, and say God only knew what, Helen had to face the tube. “There are over 3 million commuters in London every day, no one will remember me,” she mentally chanted as the escalator delivered her to the platform. She glanced around, her eyes darting from one face to the next, sweat prickled her neck, God she needed a drink. “No I don’t,” she mumbled, “I can do this.” The doors opened and after the herd left, she stepped inside the stagnant carriage and squeezed the pole, urging herself to stay upright. He legs felt weak. Why was she doing this again?

In Bristol, it had seemed like a great idea, her sponsor had warned her it might be too soon, but Helen felt like a completely different person from the woman who had shouted, “there’s a bomber on this train…”.

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