Part I: The awakening
Chapter 1: First contact
He left behind his country while grinning excitedly. It mattered little what others thought, not because their opinions were insignificant to him, but because he wanted so much to get out of the country that no argument in the world could possibly amass the power to derail his plans. He got on a plane destination London by desiring one thing and one thing only, to go to the United Kingdom. Fact is, he had always been interested in foreign countries, especially those of Europe, but the fixation on the former “empire on which the sun never sets” came unexpectedly and furiously at that. For months he had been dreaming of nothing else, but he realized he had little choice of actually doing something about it. So he took the easy way out of that impasse: he searched for an au-pair post somewhere in England. He found a very promising family, tried to make them believe that he was the one fit to take the job of caring for their little son and after a month or so of negotiations, they were ready and finally paid for his plane ticket. So he left for England. Imagine where his grinning was coming from…
Luck was his name, and, as he later came to find out, the similitude between his name and the English word signifying the chance happening of fortunate or unfortunate events was not so by chance alone. He would experience both bad and good luck, and thus he was rarely able to determine whether or not his luck smiled upon him or on the contrary, kept dooming him time and again. The thing is that humans don’t know how to interpret the concept of luck. They suppose that random events have an innate quality of being positive or negative, when in fact there is no such thing as good or bad luck, as awful events may lead to great happiness and vice-versa. One has to make the most of one’s life, no matter what it might keep throwing at him. So no, the chain of events affecting our protagonist was not fundamentally positive, nor was it purely negative either. Even when fate might seem not to shine on him at all, newly found hope was never too far away.
Whether he was lucky or unlucky, it was too soon to tell. The fact was that Luck found himself aboard a plane to London, the opulent capital of a former empire. He had never left the country before but in spite of that, he was not in the least afraid of any of the possible outcomes of his journey. For the first time in his life, he felt confident. He had no idea why that was or how such a newly discovered feeling took charge of him, but somehow, it happened all the same. Maybe it was time to mature, to get past the troubled teenage years. Luck had an easy life, but still, a troubled one at that. He needed to grow up and get past any inconvenience his entourage might have caused him. And what better way to do that than to travel?
He did not manage to see much while rapidly flying over much of central Europe, as the night allowed him just the luxury of spotting the bright street lights of towns but not much else. He would have loved to be able to know exactly over what town he was passing over at any given time, but he could only take a guess as to what the itinerary looked like. All the same, he found it easy to spot the British capital, even if at night the majority of its areas were poorly lit or, as was the case with the many parks of London, not lit at all. Luton Airport some 30 km north of London transformed that blistering darkness into a carnival of light sources. Compared to the tiny provincial airport from which he took off, Luton was of a member of a totally different class. He wondered how the much bigger and bolder Heatrow Airport must have looked like at night.
Getting off the plane, he realized the extent of the immigration in the UK: tantalizing, in every sense of the word. It was like the whole world was moving to London. During that single night! Every conceivable nation was represented, so the employees of the Border Agency seemed to greet the entire planet during a couple of hours, as if the Empire was still alive and kicking.
“Sir, your passport, please!” said a seemingly tired but still pretty much lively gentleman. He looked White British all right, but most of his colleagues did not: blacks, Asians, a Russian lady, different flavors for every taste. “I don’t have a passport, just an ID! Our countries are both in the European Union so it should suffice, I think!”, said the young man in front of Luck. “Yes, indeed, an ID is quite enough, don’t you worry!”, said the employee, smiling. The apparent lack of any thorough check-up regarding the reason and extent of stay of travelers took Luck by surprise. He expected more of an attempt to stop illegal immigration, but it seemed that the ID check was able to do just that, somehow.
“Who am I to question British policies? If they choose to let themselves get invaded by all those immigrants begging for social care, then why should I care?” though Luck silently. He handed his ID and in an instant he was able to step on British soil for the first time. It felt great, even though the majority of those immigrants surrounding him seemed a little less excited, as the lot of them probably came to England to work hard in menial jobs and would not have done so but for the lack of jobs in their over impoverished countries of origin.
Luton airport felt huge, even though it was nowhere near the biggest one in the UK, namely Heathrow, one of the busiest in the world. It took Luck a while to get to the front entrance where a friend of his mother, Paul, was waiting to take him to his home in north London in order to pass the night. Luck had never met him before so he had no idea how the guy was supposed to look like, only that he resembled his brother back in the home country.
The sight of a car waiting near the bus stand caught his eyes and he went there to inquiry: “Good evening or should I say, good night! Are you Paul, George’s brother, the one who’s supposed to pick me up?”. “Indeed I am!”, replied Paul. “Pleased to make your acquaintance, Luck!” “The pleasure is all mine, Paul! I’m feeling so nervous that I don’t think I could manage to get myself to your house all by myself, so your coming here is God given!”, replied Luck.
“Don’t mention it”, said Paul, while helping Luck put his luggage into the trunk of his car. If memory serves, the car was a Fiat or something like that, but what mattered more than the proper identification of Paul’s automobile was the impatience of getting to London, having a good night’s sleep and then enjoying a stroll through central London.
The airport had a built-in tunnel over which the planes landed and through which cars leaving the airport area got to the motorway. The motorway which took them into London, the M1, was like nothing Luck had seen before. Properly illuminated, wide and smooth, it took them pretty fast into north London. Pretty darn impressive, for one coming from a small east European country which lacked even the most basic cross-country roads. Paul and Luck chatted for a bit, the usual small talk one might expect so late at night, and soon they crossed the M25, the motorway encircling the whole of Greater London, thus properly entering London.
What went through Luck’s head at the time was hard to tell. They soon arrived in front of a typical semi-detached house found all throughout Britain. Luck went straight upstairs, to one of the rooms in which Paul’s little boy was sleeping like an angel. They said goodnight to each other after which Luck fell asleep in an instant. What he dreamt of, who could tell? But it must’ve been good dreams.