‘Would he disapprove of my single heathen lifestyle?’: me and my Syrian refugee lodger

ESPMI Network

Helen and Yasser eat their separate breakfasts. Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian Helen and Yasser eat their separate breakfasts. Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian

“You are not going to like me saying this,” my dad said, “but you need to get a lock on your bedroom door and a lock on your bathroom door. Men can get very frisky when they are away from their wives.”

I rolled my eyes, hung up and panicked. I’d rung my parents to tell them that Yasser, a Syrian refugee, was coming to live with me while he arranged for his wife and baby to join him in Britain. I was a little nervous about the arrangement, but of all the many things worrying me – would he disapprove of my single heathen lifestyle? Could I carry on having bacon butties at the weekend? Should I edit my drinks cupboard? – the possibility of getting molested by my lodger had yet to occur to me.

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