A Few Questions

I was asked some general wonderings, too, when I asked what people wanted to know. I guess that these are things I can’t quite cover in the book, so I’ll answer them here. Anything else I might not cover, just ask on my page or here, or message me. 🙂 I try to answer as best as I can.

These come from Kimberly:

 

“What happened to Nathan? “

 

We were friends until I was around 27. I still see him on Facebook, but we don’t talk that much really. He doesn’t live far away. As far as I can see, he is happy. We drifted apart because as my mental health got worse, I started to cancel things and eventually, he stopped asking. I miss him a lot, though.

“Are you still friends with anyone from college? “

 

No, aside from Facebook, I don’t see them anymore.

“Do you still live in the same area? “
I don’t live that far away from where I grew up. Probably just a 15-minute drive.
“How are you doing without being in therapy?”
I found therapy useless to be honest. I do better alone. My last one, last year, was pretty bad. He wouldn’t let me talk about anything. He’d say, What does it matter? It’s in the past. And had me down as having low self-esteem issues, which I don’t.

I did have CBT for my OCD at one point, but it didn’t cure it, just helped me to calm it a little. I needed that back then. I was living in a bubble.

I went to one therapist about my PTSD and the badman. He pretty much accused me of having an overactive imagination and said we’re all afraid of the dark when we’re on our own.

So, without therapy, I cope as best as I can.
“Do your children know anything about your abuse?”

 

They don’t have a clue. They know little things, like me not having a bed until I was 9, but no, they have no idea really, and I am glad about that.

 

“I’m also curious why your brother hates your dad so much. Was he aware of the things going on maybe, and just didn’t say? Was he abused in some way? Do you have a relationship with either of your brothers?”

 

I don’t exactly know why my brother hates my dad so much. I think it’s just a bad relationship and that our father is selfish, and he sees that. They fell out really when my brother asked me lots of questions, like whether my Nan used to beat me, like our parents had claimed. He realised it had all been lies and that made him angry. I don’t think he was abused, but he has issues from living in that house. Maybe he saw things. He was in the same bed as my father and I. He doesn’t live too far away. He comes and goes, but we talk. My older brother lives abroad now; we talk on Facebook. I have other siblings from later in life. My youngest sister is 12. I don’t really have contact with them, though.

 

 

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Sanity

This is another one of those posts from me asking what people want me to talk about. TeAnne asked, “How you kept your sanity. I know you had survival mechanism in place?”

I am not sure I have really. I have many problems that I deal with day to day, but back then, I didn’t know I had them. In writing Teddy, I can see where many started. I can see where my OCD began, and I think that was a survival mechanism to begin with – some kind of order in my mind about this world I didn’t yet understand. sanity-is-madness-put-to-good-uses-george-santayana

Obviously there is my bear. I told him everything. I had an imaginary friend, too, called Andrew. He is also in the books. Both of those helped me; it was a way of having some kind of social aspect without a real social aspect. I also read a lot. I could read for hours and hours and take myself away into the stories. I learnt to read very young. I was reading at four, and by the age of six, I had read the Hobbit – to give you an idea of my reading abilities.

I also wrote. I wrote all kinds of things; stories for one. I wrote those for hours. I wrote poems too. Sometimes, though, especially right after some form of abuse, I would cry and write everything down, asking why my dad didn’t love me. Why I had to do those things.

I used to count too. I think that’s where my number OCD came from. I’d tell myself that in an hour, I’d be in my own bed. I’d be sleeping. I used to try to count to sixty, sixty times. I pretended I was asleep a lot too. I could pretend it wasn’t happening to me.

Of course, there were times I didn’t cope. I was maybe six, I think, when I tried to drown myself in the bath. I got into sniffing petrol fumes when I was about 9. Started smoking and drinking at 12. I even ran away from home, but got taken right back.

I became very introverted. I think that was the best mechanism I had. Taking everything inside, and outside, I just smiled.

Day Two!

Day two. Yes, day two of no self-harm, quite an achievement, especially when I didn’t start the day that way. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I didn’t want to face the day today, but I did, I got out of bed before that harming feeling took over. I wanted to share something today, it’s from a reader, he gave me his permission to share this. If all my books ever do is help children like the one he speaks of, then they were so worth writing and sharing. I’ll paste it below. I wish everyone in the world could have this kind of insight.

It took me a while to realise he was talking about me and talking about that little boy from long ago. I had to read it a couple of times before I understood, but here it is. Thank you Colin, and everyone else for the bundles of support I receive every day. I hope you all know how much it means to me.

Hello James my name is Colin. I don’t know where to start… It feels like I’m sitting down to write an essay… I’m 43 living in a small town near Shepparton Vic , Australia.. I’d like to tell you about a small friend of mine.. He doesn’t know me but I feel I know a small piece of him and his life.. He decided to write about himself and published a series of books. He wrote in a fashion I could understand about his misfortunate upbringing and day to day life….. I’d like to tell you how much I cried and still cry on a daily basis of the horrors this little friend went through and I believe still goes through every minute he breathes.. I can’t understand and I never will how he feels. He doesn’t know how much his books have changed my life forever…. I have lived in a gay relationship with my partner of 12 years, He’s a GP and has been there for me in the past month for when I felt really down and helpless reading my little friends books.. I couldn’t help him and I got heavily depressed… But that was ok, My feelings were nothing compared to what this boy was going through. My partner was very understanding and I feel for him too as he has to try and diagnose people with their own problems.. Recently my bike was stolen from my house by a 14 year old boy, He was caught and charged. I thought nothing more of it until I received a phone call one day.. I was requested if I had the time to be apart of a group conference for the young lad. I find out later this boy is living in a foster care type of accommodation and is only allowed to see his mother for 2 hours a week. I thought long and hard about doing this, I was in the middle of reading my small friends book at the time and took a different view of this young thief. I did go to the conference. I’m a funeral director and to be honest with the job I do I really couldn’t care less about my bike. What I was more concerned about why had this kid got into the state he was in… The funeral industry has changed my views on a lot of things, one being, life is too short as it is to worry about material things… I explained this to the kid and how in the first few months of doing the job I had to prepare a 14yo girl who had suicided for her funeral… I explained how I cried and that she had made a bad choice, he on the other hand still had his whole life ahead of him.. The long story short he seemed like a nice enough young man and had been influenced by the conference. I got a good feeling from it as well but then heavily saddened by what life he has gone through to get where he is. I would like to help this kid so I’m making a few phone calls to see if there is anything my partner and I can do for him. We have to be careful as some of the public are still on the belief that all gay people are perverts… Anyway It brings me back to my own plight, While reading the books I felt there was a heavy bearing of my own life in them.. I too sniffed petrol from a very young age and from a broken family of alcoholism on my father’s side I had my own questions to ask. As a child of around 7yo I remember overnight stays with one of my mother’s male friends of the time. I don’t recall any bad doings from this man except sleeping in the same bed. Confirming this with my brother and sister I think I was fine. My mother has passed away so I couldn’t ask her anyway. I’m sorry I hope I haven’t rambled on.. James I think you know my little friend very well, I’ve started to cry again as usual while typing this but he has taught me that’s ok.. please cut him some slack and give him a big hug for me.. That’s all I can do.. I still feel helpless but I hope for the best for him and yourself.. One of your photo’s say “sometimes when you see a person cry…….. I am here!…..” You can re-blog my letter if it makes any difference

Please tell our little friend how much he means to me… Thanks Colin

 

I know you all can't hug me, but when you send messages, even when I am too sad to reply, this is how it feels.

I know you all can’t hug me, but when you send messages, even when I am too sad to reply, this is how it feels.

Scars to Bear

I’m not going to write any more books after Goodbye Teddy, however, I am going to spend some time writing the parts after and putting them available online for free, via Wattpad

scarscover

This is the years after the books. Scars to bear picks up where Goodbye Teddy left off. I chose not to put this one out as a book, but on here. However, should you feel that you don’t want to get something for free, two sites which have helped me tremendously over the few years are –

http://www.lorissong.org/ and http://www.isurvive.org/

Both of which thrive on donations.

I will upload these chapters as I write them, but I am also writing some fiction at the same time 🙂 I’ll try and update as often as I can.

Thanks for reading.

JD

Alley Kid Fifteen

The moment before I open my eyes is the most peaceful. It’s when I don’t remember. It’s when I am awake for the first time, and everything feels right. But it is nothing more than a fleeting moment until my mind does remember, and everything crashes through my head. I am awake, and I am alive. Why am I alive? I don’t understand. I don’t want to be. I want to be gone forever where nothing can hurt any more. I don’t want to feel anything.

I curl myself up onto my side, wrapping my arms around my shoulders in the only comfort I know. In a childish move that I taught myself, I hook my feet around each other, and without thinking, I rock myself and push away the tears. I’m not supposed to be here. My chest heaves from the effort of not sobbing, but in a split second, my stomachs flips and my throat contracts; I realise I am going to vomit.

I scramble from the bed, almost falling as the sheets tangle between my feet and I half slip, half run, from the bedroom to the bathroom, as my body heaves and the contents of my stomach rises into my mouth. I try to keep my mouth closed and not let it out onto the floor. I can’t even think as I launch myself into the bathroom, and over the sink, and let everything out until I can’t breathe.

I turn the cold tap on in an effort to clean the stinking mess away, but my body has more. It retches and turns my insides upside down until there is nothing left to come out. I know this. I have been here before, with my mother and her vomit-inducing medication. She made me ill even though I had nothing to bring up other than the burning bile and stomach lining inside. But, she isn’t here. I grasp at the running water with cupped hands and shove it into my mouth, and down my throat, so there is something to bring back up.

I’m cold and shivering as I collapse on the floor of the bathroom, panting from the strain of so much vomiting. I grab one of the t-shirts from the washing pile. I don’t care if it is clean or dirty. It’s an effort to put it on; each movement causes my head to ache and my stomach to threaten another round of trying to escape. I have no idea what time it is or for how long I slept. I don’t even know why I am not dead. I drag myself backwards and manage to sit up and lean against the bath. I can’t stop the shaking, and my body is clammy and tired. I wish I could close my eyes and go away. Why do I never go away?

Joanne comes to the doorway with Colin and Angela behind her. I guess they heard me being ill. I try to look away from them. I don’t want to see them, and I don’t want them to see me, not like this. I’m such a failure in all ways. I can’t even end my own life. I should be dead, not here, and I can’t keep my bottom lip from quivering. I’m so disgusting I don’t understand why they don’t see it. It’s all over my skin. I try to make it go, but it never does. I can’t even make me gone.

“Are you sick?” Joanne asks me, keeping her distance.

I would too if I was her. I don’t answer her though, not that I can. As I try to nod my head, my body crumbles at the movement, and everything spins again inside. I hold my breath, wondering if I should try to get to the sink, to the toilet, or if it will pass.

Colin gets passed Joanne and comes to me. I wipe my watering eyes and mouth. He shouldn’t see me this way. No one should.

“Shall I call work for you?” Joanne asks.

I work behind the bar at a nightclub in town on the weekends.

“What time is it?” I ask her. Perhaps I will make it.

She tells me it is 5 p.m, and I know they I won’t be alright in five hours, not like this, but I hate to lose money. Its two days worth of phet money, but I don’t have a choice. I just nod and ask for my cigarettes. Colin goes to get them, and when he comes back, he takes one from my pack, lights it, and gives it to me to smoke. How pathetic I am, that a seven-year-old boy must light my cigarette for me.

I take it from him, but it tastes bitter in my mouth. The action of inhaling threatens to make me gag once more, but I persist. I hold it all in and keep myself still. I don’t say anything as Colin takes a cigarette for himself from my pack. I don’t approve of him smoking, and he might not be my son, but he is still a child. Unfortunately, I don’t have the energy to argue with him.

“Leave me alone,” I say to them.

They stand, gawping; there is nothing they can do for me. Joanne takes Colin and Angela. She shuts the door behind them and leaves me to it. I lean against the side of the bath as my head swims between awake and asleep. I try to tell myself to get up and secure the bathroom door so no one else can come in.

I click the lock over eventually, but I can’t make it back to the bath. I just lie where I am. I can hear them in the other room, laughing, joking and watching television. I let myself sleep on the bathroom floor until someone knocks on the main door. My heart sinks as I listen Joanne greet my father and invites him in.

I cover my ears with my hands. Perhaps, if I can’t hear him, it is not real, and he is not here. But, Joanne knocks on the bathroom door and tells me my father is here. I mutter something, but I don’t think she hears it. She tells my father I have a stomach virus and have been in there all day.

“I have to nip and get some milk and bread,” she says to him. “Do you mind staying here while I go in case he needs anything?”

My father, the fake Samaritan, says yes, and I try to curl myself into the corner away from him, even though there is a door between us. I wish he would just leave.

Joanne leaves and takes Colin and Angela with her; a chance to stock up on alcohol and cigarettes for them, to. I listen as they all leave and the front door locks behind them, leaving me with my father. I know he is on the other side of the door. I feel him, but he doesn’t move. Maybe he is waiting until he is sure they are gone.

He knocks on the door as I expected him to, and calls my name.

“What are you doing?” He asks me.

I wrap my arms around my head and pull my knees up to my chest. I don’t want to see him.

“I’m sick,” I say, but he tries the handle.

I peek out between my arms, watching it. I hope that it stays, but it’s nothing more than a hook and a loop pushed into rotten wood.

“Open the door,” he tells me, and I am grateful the lock holds.

“I can’t move,” I respond in the hope that it is a strong enough answer and he will leave me alone.

It isn’t. He pushes against the door. Perhaps he will break the lock. It’s small, and if he wants in, he will get in. I try to slide myself back to the door and lie in front of it, but the movement, and the fear of my father causes my stomach to twist in agony. I crawl to the toilet bowl and let out what’s in my stomach once more.

The bathroom door opens, and I swallow like when I was a child, and had to push the vomit back down, or be beaten. I can’t breathe from the effort of it. Vomit stings the inside of my nose and the back of my throat. My eyes water and I cough as my father’s hands grasp onto the back of my t-shirt and pull me away from where I am kneeling. He flings me into the hallway, and my head cracks off a wooden box where we keep the shoes and coats. I don’t know what I have done wrong. It will be something, it always is. I don’t ever do things right. I make everyone hurt me.

He storms out of the bathroom, his heavy feet crashing on the floor. He comes over to me and slams his hand against my already bruised chest. I try not to say anything as he winds me and with no effort, pulls me to standing. He is big and strong, built for the bikes he rides, and I am nothing more than his half-starved junkie son. My legs are weak and don’t want to take my weight; my entire body shakes from the effort and I lean against my father without thinking for support. He pushes me away, making me stumble. The wall catches me, and I let myself sink down and rest on the floor. I know he is going to hurt me. He is angry with me and won’t stop until his temper is satisfied. This is always how it is. His blows will come until his anger is gone. When I was a child, I would pray that I would pass out just so I didn’t feel it any longer.

“Just do it,” I tell him.

I am tired of this game. I want him to hit me and get it over with; my words seem to fuel his anger towards me. He crouches next to me, takes my jaw between his fingers, and digs them in. For a second, I am sure he’s going to punch me in the face. Instead, he grips my jaw tighter to the point it might break. Pain shoots up the side of my face.

“You’re not worth it,” he tells me.

 

Alley Kid Fourteen

We drive. I don’t really have a destination in mind. Where I want to be is just not here. I want to be away from everything and everyone. It doesn’t matter where.

I keep to the side roads to avoid anyone seeing us. I know them so well, it will take me nothing to drive fast and get us away if the police should be around.pill_bottle_and_pills1

Karla tries to talk to me, she twitters on about something from work, but I don’t care. I nod and say yes in all the right places and she thinks I am paying attention, but I’m not. I don’t have anything to tell her. I light another cigarette and offer her one. I take it in deeply and the phet rises up my back again, in little bubbles. I smile and Karla thinks it’s for her. She squeezes my knee as if it’s supposed to mean something, but it’s just fake affection to get what she wants from me. I have no doubt that if I were important to her; it would be about more than just sex.

“Where are we going?” she asks me. I glance around and tell her I don’t know. I just drive until we drive to the junction between motorway and country lanes. I could go either way, but I chose the lanes, dark and out of the way. It feels like we’ve escaped the world and no one is around to see us.

There is a lane just near the fuelling station. I’ve been there before. At the end is a field high up, and it’s like looking out over the world. Sometimes, I wonder what it would be like to jump. Could I feel like I was flying even though I was falling? My dad would bring me this way sometimes, when I was a child. We would take the dog for a walk and she could run around. I always used to get scared that maybe she would run off the edge, but he said she wouldn’t. I didn’t let her go near it anyway, just in case he was wrong. I didn’t want to take the chance.

He always told me that she would die at home. She was ill and one day, we would wake up, and she would are gone to heaven. I never wanted her to die alone and I didn’t want her to go to heaven. I didn’t like heaven when I was little. It had all the people I liked.

I stop the car at the end of the lane. The field is guarded by a locked fence. No tourists at night, not when drunken teenagers can play games and fall over the edge, and kill themselves. We don’t get out of the car. Instead, we climb in the back. I’m useless on the phet for what Karla wants. No sex for her, but that doesn’t matter, it’s only for her own pleasure and not mine. I give her everything else until she lies there leaning on me, and I smoke cigarette after cigarette.

The hours go by so fast, I don’t even notice them. Karla is tired. She dozes a little and I can feel the phet wearing off. It’s making me feel heavy. The darkness tugs at the sides of my vision, threatening to take me down once again. I could get home and buy more. I’m sure Froggy would give me some phet if I asked.

Karla gets herself dressed and straightened up. Like everyone, she is pleased to have what she wants from me and I can take her home. We get back into the front seats and I start the engine. The sun is coming up, but it hasn’t cleared the night away just yet. The darkness seeps from the outside into me and I try to drive before it takes over entirely.

I don’t know what is in front of me. Its sudden; a cat or a dog? Something small, I have no idea. I twist the steering wheel to avoid it, but the front wheel of the car catches a ditch and takes control from me. We land in the hedges with the car, a hedge that is hiding concrete wall.

We both sit there, still and staring.

“What do we do?” Karla asks after a moment and I try to make my tired mind work and answer her. I can feel my hands shaking. I feel clammy and tired. I can smell the phet on my skin.

“Are you okay?” I ask her. It’s the first thing I can think to say.

“Yes.”

I know what will happen if we call someone. It’s not my car. The police will come and I’ll be arrested.

“We need to run,” I tell her. “Now.”

As I say it one more time, I get from the car and she does too. I realise I am hurt. My chest aches and so does my knee. I must have smacked them off the steering wheel and column. I can hear the sound in my head. The way metal on metal sounds, but I know that is not this car. It’s one from long ago; the one that took my mother, and one I should have died in too. All the sounds mingle together.

My knee aches as we run, but the fear of being caught, presses against my back and forces me to keep going. We get to the fuelling station. There is a couple of taxi cabs sat there. One of the drivers is just reading his morning newspaper. We stop for a second, and I catch my breath. Karla is okay. She grips my hand tight, letting me lead the way and not saying a word. She has tears in her eyes. I guess she cried, but I didn’t notice. I knock on the window of the taxi and nod my head at him to ask if he is free. He nods back and folds his paper and we climb into the back seat.

It doesn’t take long to get to Karla’s and drop her off. After, I give the driver my address and he takes me back there. Joanne is still asleep when I let myself in. I don’t think anyone noticed that I was gone. I dump my clothes down at the foot of the bed and climb back in beside her. My chest hurts from the seatbelt, and it hurts inside, too. My emptiness is there once again.

“Where have to been?” Joanne asks, as I let my eyes close.

“To buy cigarettes,” I say to her.

It isn’t unusual for me to do that. The petrol station near where we live is open all hours, and I don’t sleep very well. She accepts my answer and moves closer to me, resting her arm across my chest; I try not to wince under the pressure.

She is like Karla and everyone else. She’s being nice to me. I know what that means and what she wants. I just want to sleep, but to do that I have to give in. I let her hand slide down my chest and body. I don’t say no to her as she climbs up on top of me. The phet has worn off, my head is pounding. I don’t think she notices I am not interested so much.

Afterwards, she slips out of bed to take a shower. I tell her I want to stay in a bed a while. I don’t feel so well. I listen as she leaves the room and goes to the bathroom. She turns the shower on and I hear the doors open and close.

I roll onto my side and listen as she showers, the way the water falls, the way it hits the shower doors, and the low hum of the radio she has playing. My head feels heavy, as if it is too much to lift it from the pillow. I lie there thinking about the next day and wonder what the point is. What is waiting for me in the next day that is so important for me to get to?

There is a bottle on the bedside table. Joanne’s painkillers that she had been taking for a twisted ankle. I reach for them without thinking. I stare at the label. Who would really care if I took them? Whose life would it affect other than mine? Will is too young, it won’t matter. There is no one else to bother.

I haven’t swallowed tablets since I was a child. Not since I nearly choked on one of my mother’s made-up pills, but I know this is the answer. Two by two, I swallow them until my throat wont take anymore, and as I swallow the last one, I feel ashamed. Not at what I have done, but at the thought that people might assume this is a cry for attention. It isn’t. I just want to slip away unnoticed.

Maybe Joanne will find the almost empty bottle, The thought that Joanne will find the almost empty bottle, fills my mind with fear. I don’t want her to know what I have done. Not yet. I’m not stupid enough to think she won’t find me when it’s over, but I don’t want her to stop me, or call an ambulance. I stuff the bottle down the back of the bed where she won’t find it without a search. If I put the bottle back on the bedside table, she’ll see it. It feels like it would draw attention to itself and she would just know.

I lie back down after the bottle is hidden. Joanne finishes in the shower and the water goes off. I hear the shower door open. I close my eyes and let the darkness of my sleep take me. Maybe I won’t ever open them again.

Please God, don’t let me wake up.

Alley Kid Thirteen

Joanne doesn’t know that I am awake. I lie here next to her unmoving. My eyes watch the door, searching for shadows; listening in a childish way for fears from long ago. I know they aren’t real. I know what I saw was nothing more than my over-used, over–drugged mind, but I can’t shake the possibility from my thoughts.

She’s oblivious to my thoughts, not that it matters, and not that she would care if she knew.

I listen to the sound of her breathing. Each breath gets longer and slower as she falls asleep. I try to keep my mind focused. It’s been a week since I last saw my father. He wrote to me. Strange, really. Why didn’t he call or just come around again? The letter doesn’t sound like him. I wonder if he wrote it or it was his bimbo wife. The letter is long and full of caring words; the mirage of a father I long for, but not the one I have.Car-and-street-at-night (1)

I roll over onto my side with a sigh. Perhaps, it was written by him. A cruel trick. A way for him to lure me into some kind of false security. I’ve read his words a dozen times at least, but each time, it makes me feel worse than the last. His words from his last visit resonate around my head. His presence and his letter argue with one another.

I’m nothing to him, he had said. Nothing. A useless waste of space.

My mind tries to piece together the lost hours from that night, but they are nothing more than blank memories of darkness. Its hard to keep my thoughts straight when they want to spin over everything, even the blood. For that, I have no explanation. Even now a week later, my body has not healed from whatever trauma it endured.

I don’t understand what happened. I don’t remember. As soon as my mind tries to answer my questions, I silence it.

Not my father.

He wouldn’t.

Not again.

Not after the last time. The last time, he had almost killed me. In some ways, I wish he had succeeded, but then I remember Will and he would be alone if I had died. But I can’t help wishing the doctors didn’t put me back together. They should have just left me.

I feel my own frustration raging at myself as I desperately keep my mind from putting pieces together the way it wants. It’s not possible.

Joanne is asleep now. Finally. I tuck my hand under my pillow and watch her. She seems content and oblivious to the way I feel inside. I hope her dreams are better than mine. I wish she understood how lucky she is.

I’m not tired. Joanne doesn’t know that I swallowed a phet bomb before I came to bed. She won’t understand I need it to take away the black thoughts, the darkness that awaits me on the side lines, reaching out to catch me.

I feel the adrenaline crawl its way up my spine. Its tiny fingers pushing in, covering and taking away my pain as it moves, and leaving a thick layer of numbness, so that I can breathe.

I clamp my jaw down to save from giving myself away. The phet is bigger than my darkness. It slips through, filling every empty cavity that I posses. My heart pounds in my chest. I wonder if it can be heard. A celebration as the phet begins to win the fight.

Every part of my body comes alive. I have to move and do something other than just lying still. I feel restless inside, but I force myself to stay there. Just for another minute, to be sure Joanne is asleep.

Her breathing is slow, and rattles in her chest. I force myself to be calm and slow, in my movements, as I try to slip from the bed without her waking. I don’t want the sudden weight shift to disturb her.

As I get free, I stand and watch for a moment at the need of the bed before pulling on my jeans and a t-shirt. I need my keys. They are on the bedside table next to Joanne. I curse at myself. Why didn’t I think to put them in my jeans pocket beforehand? Such an idiot. I step cautiously towards them, and clasp both my hands over them to shield the sound when they clang together.

I have no feelings of guilt or remorse as I stare at her from the doorway. Only anticipation of what I’m about to do. I wonder why I’m here; why I’m with her. I feel nothing for her. No emotions. Just like I am nothing to her. Just a toy for her to play with. Someone to use in her sick pleasures. I had feelings for her once, of course, but they ended long ago when she had cheated on me.

I feel only relief that she hasn’t woken as I was getting out of bed and leaving. Angela is asleep on the sofa. Colin is asleep in his bed in Will’s room, and Will is at his mother’s; away from my useless parental skills and me. I wish he had more than me. I sigh as I leave and let myself out of the flat. Locking the back door behind me, I stand for just a moment at the top of the steps that lead into the dark alley.

I put my cigarette in my mouth, light it, and inhale deeply. The smoke travels down into my chest, setting off the amphetamine even more, and I feel the rush of excitement wash over me.

Suddenly, I am alive. The darkness inside is gone. Dead and defeated in a drug haze. Nothing can hurt me. Nothing. Who cares what my dad might have done to me? It’s what I was made for. It’s why I am here.

I race down the steps and into the darkness of the alley; I don’t stop, until I reach the main street. I can see the dim lights of the fast food store Karla works at. They have begun to close down for the night. Crowds of drunken tourists walk past me, devouring kebabs and burgers, and laughing at each other as they sway and trip and share jokes about the night’s events. Tomorrow, it’ll all be some drunken memory for them, clouded by their hangovers.

They walk past me and don’t notice I am there. I stand outside the shop waiting for Karla. She sees me as she runs the mop over the floor. She smiles at me; a smile that lights up her entire face. I smile back; a smile that no doubt convinces her that I am as equally happy to see her.

In reality, she is like Joanne. She doesn’t matter to me. She is just some girl I met on my way home from working at the nightclub when I stopped to get something to eat. I’m pretty sure I mean nothing to her either.

I watch as she finishes her work and says goodnight to her co-workers before coming out to greet me. She instantly throws her arms around my neck. “I missed you,” she says to me, but I doubt that. I haven’t missed her. I hardly thought about her through my days except for the anticipation of this meeting, but its more that I am out.

“I love you,” she whispers into my ears. Her words are as empty as I feel.

“I love you too,” I say back casually repeating the words back to her. She doesn’t notice the flatness in my voice. Not that she would. People only hear what they want how they want.

People are fake. I am not someone that can be loved, nor am I capable of returning it. If I was, then Joanne and I would be happy and Will would have the perfect life. Not that I don’t love him, of course, I do. I just wish that he had better than me in his life.

I take Karla’s hand and lead her along the street. I know what I am looking for. A car, nothing spectacular, or sporty. I don’t care. I just want something to drive, to get away from everywhere for a couple of hours, and not be noticed.

“I’m not sure about this,” Karla says to me as I fight with the lock on a plain car, until it gives way and opens.

I shrug.

“You can go home if you want to,” I say.

I don’t really care about that either. She can come with me if she wants. It’s her choice. She stares at me for a moment as she makes her decision.

“If I go home will you come with me?”

The car door is open, my foot is inside already and I am about to sit down. I look at her and shake my head. I don’t want to go to her house and play happy families. I want to be in the car. I want to be on the road. I want to feel the speed of it.

I get into the car properly, crack the barrel on the ignition, and glance at Karla through the mirror, waiting for her decision. I’m not going to wait long. If she doesn’t decide, I’m going to drive away. I won’t force her to come with me, but if she wants me to get out of the car and beg her, she’ll be waiting a long time.

After a moment, she slips into the passenger seat beside me. I start the engine and smile at her, but she doesn’t smile back.