Times have changed, and not for the better. I am no longer the naive and trusting teenager I used to be. I've become cynical. I've been lied to and I've been hurt to many times. Trust is a commodity that is long gone.
It began, I suppose, when the lodger began to demand my house. Yes, that's right. He claimed that my home belonged to him. What nonsense! I refused, of course. You'd do the same. What right does he have to my home. When the police came after a particularly brutal act of violence he said it had all been a big mistake, that he only wanted a place to sleep, that he didn't mind me living there. It was all a lie, a deception, but I was persuaded, in my stupidity, to allow him a place to be. So I agreed. Once inside my home he again became abusive and violent. My life was hell. Somehow I managed to drive him out and I managed to evict him. He spent some time away from me. The restraining order kept him some distance away from me and I began to feel safe. I began to put some order and tranquility back into my life. I had a short period of quiet. He appealed to me to let him back in. I refused, of course. Wouldn't you? Who would do such a thing having experienced what I had experienced with him? But he spoke to the neighbours, and he spoke to the authorities, and he signed an agreement witnessed by others to say this time he was going to be a good boy. Just give him a couple of rooms and everything would work out fine. No violence, he promised. Promised? That's a laugh! The witnesses said they would guarantee his good behaviour. They were respectable and influential people. How could one not have faith in their word? How much of a sucker do you have to be?
The moment he was installed back into my house he tore up the agreement and started beating me up again, swearing, cursing me, using violence, inflicting injury, worse than he had done in the past. He demanded the whole house. He demanded that I should leave. I turned to the authorities for help. I pleaded with those dignified people who had promised to guarantee his good behaviour. They said we had to sort out our grievances between us. They did nothing. They never do. I had a decent standard of living. I did well. Much better than the neighbours whose world has gone to pieces. My home was a good place to be. Economically, things were good thanks to my success. My neighbourhood went to hell. By the way, his relatives, who live in the neighbourhood, surround my home and are threatening to come and help him get me evicted. Once or twice I thought I had reached an agreement with him, but he never signed the paper at the end of the day. I offered a compromise to him, I offered concessions, I even took my things out of one more room and made way for him to use it. He did. He used it to store the tools he used to try and wreck the rest of my home. He rejected my offers, he rejected everything. The truth was he wanted it all. The authorities were no good. One or two, very few of them, muttered some words of support but did little. That didn't help. The majority were against me. It seems to me that the authorities are made up of his friends and relatives all ganging up on me. At least one of them actually publicly and repeatedly threatened to come and kill me. If I didn't give my home to him he would come and blow up my home and kill me with it. Now he's trying to change the law to make out that I have no legal rights to my home, that I am the villain and he is the victim. In the mad world I am living in the authorities have set up committees to examine his claims and to challenge my right to live in my own home. One of them has even put him down as being the owner.
And so I appeal to you, dear reader, I ask you what am I to do? What would you do in my shoes? Leave home? No way! Kiss and make up? We've tried that so many time before. It ain't going to happen. I am still ready to give him a share of my home but to kiss and make up is really, for me, the kiss of death. So I ask you again. What would you do in my shoes? And while you are thinking about your answer allow me to introduce myself. My name is Israel.