Whatever

Whatever.

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(Sometimes I just write to get things out, this is one of those times.)

I want to hurt because it’s there. I want to scratch it out and make it go away. I want to make me go away. I want to turn it all off. I can’t cry it out enough, shout it, say it, or do anything to get it all out and gone.

It’s anger and aloneness, all at the same time. I want to curl up so it will go away and leave me alone. Then I don’t have to feel it any more.

I want him to take it away, say he was sorry, and know what it feels like. I want him to feel it so he really does feel sorry, not just words, but for him to understand. I want him to go back and fix it.

I want to be normal, go back, and make me be normal then. Why couldn’t I have proper things like food or clothes or just to feel safe? I do not know whose fault it is. It’s a mess.

I can’t think. It makes me want to put my head through a wall. There doesn’t seem to be a point. I can’t undo any of this. I just hide. It’s all a secret. People think I am one thing and really, I am something else inside.

My brother said when he moved out of my father’s house that it would be the end between them, but instead, he gets a normal relationship. His father coming to his house to help with DIY projects. My brother pops to our dad’s for things, he has a key, and he just walks in like a normal son. He gets everything and I have nothing.

I keep my dad away and I feel bad for it, but if I don’t, then it doesn’t change. He touches me, he hurts me, he leers at me and reminds me it’s all my fault because I was a ‘nice’ child. It was me. I turned him on. I flirted. I was the one with the smile and the face that promised more.

That is how I get everything.

That is all anyone ever wants.

It was me who climbed into his bed and I never said stop, not when he started to remove my clothes. I could have. I wasn’t afraid. I could have got out of the bed but I didn’t because I wanted that and he knew it. He knew it all the time. When I would come home from school and get changed; the way I got changed and that he could see me, made him want me. When I took a shower or a bath and walked passed him in just a towel.

It was all me, not him. Not him, because he didn’t make me. I got him to do those things. Not him. Me. It was me.

That’s why I don’t get things, because I’m the bad one and my brother is innocent. I am hard faced and I don’t feel anything and I don’t care. I am bad.

 

New Therapy

New Therapy.

I met with a new therapist today. He was pleasant enough and direct which I think is what I need. Not someone that will aww and pacify me. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just not for me.

It was very hard to talk and tell him the things I did. He asked me if I wanted justice and my answer was no. I don’t. I don’t see the point. My father is sick, what would ripping a family apart to label him whatever achieve?

Then my therapist explained it and I’ve never had it explained before. He said if I sought justice it’s more symbolic. The blame gets given to him. The words are said out loud. It would officially not be my fault.

What a thought. I can’t even begin to explain how it feels. That maybe I didn’t do anything wrong. I didn’t make him do it like he said.

There’s a child inside down on his knees crying because maybe it wasn’t him. Maybe he wasn’t bad inside. Maybe he was really loveable. Maybe he wasn’t made evil. Maybe he didn’t make them do it. Maybe it wasn’t the way he was made.

Maybe it wasn’t his fault at all.

And the adult on the outside, I feel such anger and frustration, I can’t ease those feelings. I can’t bring myself to gain justice for that child. All I can do is watch the child suffer and not be able to put it right.

I keep him where his father put him.

I wish it had been someone else and not my father. I wish it was just a no one that treated me badly all the time, maybe then I could hate him enough to not care.

There isn’t anything I can do.

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Alley Kid 10

I follow the police into my lounge, the anxiety in my chest feels almost too much. I’m sure the moment they walk in they will see the phet like and hone in on it. I promise myself no more. Just this last one and if they don’t see it, no more. I’ll be done with the drugs. I realise what I’ll lose if they find them. I think about Will and him at his mothers, I can’t give him up for the drugs; I’d have nothing left at all. I think about Maz’s words, what I promised her. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t do it to my son and let him suffer for my choices. That would make me no better than my own parents.BaseballBat

I look down and the phet is gone. I’m relieved but I’m afraid Joanne has it on her and they will search us. The police look everywhere. They lift up the cushions off the sofa, take out drawers, I have no real clue what they thing they are going to find, but it isn’t anything I have that they would want. The police finish, but they don’t clean up and the flat is a mess.

They leave but don’t really say anything to me and I sigh at yet another invasion from them. Its beginning to get to the point that I fear each time I open the door it will be them, many times it is, mostly they are looking for Mark, and usually they have just missed him. I am glad of that, but I know if he is there and he is caught, I’ll hand him over, maybe that makes me a coward. But I don’t care. I put my child before Mark and if that means I become a grass I don’t care.

I asked Joanne where she put the phet and she gives me a smile like she knew I was worried. She reaches down into the box that holds Wills toys and pulls out one of his bears, such a classic place for drugs but the police didn’t look there. I guessed they weren’t looking for those.

We all clean up when the police leave and in a way the place looks better than it did before. Maz comes back with the phet and my earlier promise is soon out of the window. I have every intention of not taking more, but it’s just this time, while I have the money. I have to be ready to quit I tell myself. A fake promise I know, but I still believe it. I have to quit, but not today.

I take the phet to the bedroom. Maz comes too. It’s not a big room; it fits the double bed and a single bedside table, that’s it. The window has a large crack through it, but it has tape across it, not that its much use, it still lets in a draft. We don’t have curtains, we can’t afford them. Joanne has tacked an old towel across the window to keep the privacy, but it doesn’t bother me. I feel better when the window is open and the curtains aren’t back. I don’t feel trapped when it’s like that, but she likes it dark.

Maz sits on the bed, but she doesn’t say anything as I prepare the phet and inject it. She does the same with her own concoction of things. She gets onto the bed properly and leans against the wall, crossing her legs at the ankle. I put the things away, light a cigarette and give it to her and then light one for myself. She doesn’t say anything when I climb on the bed with her and lay my head down on her legs.

She runs her fingers through my hair and sometimes I think I could stay there forever when she does that. We talk about the baby, about Froggy, about me working for Lorraine and a million other things that I can hardly remember, but we just talk. Putting the world to rights in our own little ways, with dreams of what we could do if we were able. And when it reaches midnight I wonder where the time has gone, me and Maz have hardly moved and save for a few disturbances from the others mostly we were alone.

I tell Maz I have to go out.

“Karla?” she asks.

I nod my head and smile.

“I’m surprised Joanne hasn’t caught you yet,” she says.

“I’m sure she doesn’t give a shit.”

“If you were mine I’d kick your arse,” she tells me and I laugh.

“If I was yours, I’d be dead.”  I sit up properly and lean to her and kiss her. It’s what we do. We don’t even hide it. Froggy and Joanne never seem to complain, they do similar. I wouldn’t care what Joanne did with Froggy.

“I love you, you little shit,” she says to me and I grin and put my arms around her to say goodbye.

“I love you too,” I tell her. She’s the only one I can say it too and feel happy about it. I hold onto her for just a second. “I’ll be back soon.”

I don’t tell Joanne as I leave the flat and race down the steps, I’m not even sure she is in herself. Colin is in bed I noticed though.

Karla is already finished when I get there. She’s sat on the counter with her small black coat on, hair done and a smile on her face. She jumps down and wave’s goodnight to her colleagues. She comes outside and flings her arms around my neck.

I take her hand and lace my fingers through hers. “Where are we going?” she asks me.

“I have something to take care of,” I tell her and then she starts to tell me about her day. I’m not listening so much, my mind is racing and alive. Most people bore me, Karla is one of them, but for some reason I keep her in my life. I’d say it was for the sex, but I can get that anywhere and most of the time, I’m on the phet, it makes the sex part hard.

I walk us all the way to Phil’s house. Not where he lives with Sarah, but where he keeps his car. Silly idiot keeps it at his other place in case Becci ever drives passed. I know where he keeps his bat too. I give Karla and cigarette and tell her to wait there.

“What are you doing?” she asks.

“You’ll see,” I tell her, then I duck down the side of the building that Phil pretends to live at, go into his shed and pull out his baseball bat. I’m hardly thinking as I do it, it’s been cooking in my mind since the moment I realised who had called the police.

I don’t feel bad as I charge back to where his car is and launch the bat into the driver’s side window.

“What the hell are you doing?” asks Karla, startled at my attack on his car, but he deserves it.

“Pay back,” I tell her and then I knock out the back window on the same side.

Karla comes at me; she grabs my wrists of the hand that holds the bat. “Someone’s going to come and hear you,” she says.

I shrug. “What are they going to do?”

“Call the police.”

I raise the bat to take out the rear window, slipping my wrist from her reach; she folds her arms and stares at me, waiting for me to make my decision.  I pause with the bat ready to strike. A light comes on in a house over the road. “Fine,” I say and then I throw the bat into the car through one of the already smashed windows. “We’ll go.”

 

 

 

Forgiveness, The Afterthoughts.

Yesterday I wrote about forgiveness and how to do it, almost after I had posted it and replies came in, it occurred to me that perhaps it isn’t my father or even my mother that I have to forgive. Perhaps it is the little boy himself that needs the forgiveness. 

I’ve hated him for a very long time, to the point if anyone asked me I would say, I would happily push him down the stairs and hope it hurt for the things he did.  But I have to ask myself, if he were a real child stood in front of me, if he was anyone but me, would I do that to him and no of course I wouldn’t  I would never hurt a child.

In a way it is like I am on the side of my mother and father, I help them to abuse him even more because I blame him. I get asked many times if I think I could confront him about the things he has done and I can’t, not that I am afraid of him, but if I confront him, then he will know that he abused me and I don’t want to hurt him. How strange is that? But it’s what I feel and I think, points to I actually have to accept that what my parents did was abuse, because I don’t, and I only call it that for the sake of here. When I was in therapy I could never say it out loud, it felt like I was lying, not about the events, but about the label.

I found myself nodding a lot to the replies I received yesterday; one of them was from someone named Lil, her words were so very true. Especially about my recent issues. I have a very hard time right now sticking to the decision of having my father out of my life. He doesn’t make it easy because he keeps emailing me and messaging me, of course none of them are nasty, in fact most of them are so nice its heartbreaking, because he is teasing me with exactly what Lil mentioned the answer to my craving for a parent.  He’s showing me what I have longed for my entire life, but part of me knows that if I go back, he’ll snatch it right back again.

And here I am, full circle in my thoughts, I don’t accept that what they did was abuse, I don’t accept it because it’s my parents., I can’t let go of the belief and hope for the parental love back. I blame the little boy for what he did and making me who I am today, because if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have been abused and would have the relationship I so clearly want.

I need to forgive that child. I need to forgive myself.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness.

It’s a strange word and while I do know what it means in theory, knowing what it means in feeling it is a completely different thing. I am not even sure if it is something that is possible. How exactly do you forgive someone?

I am not a religious person; I don’t believe in God, I know a lot of people will answer with regards to their faith of God and forgiveness. I think if I did believe in God I wouldn’t know how to forgive him either.

I guess forgiveness comes in many shapes and sizes; it makes hypocrites out of us. Me especially. I haven’t been very good with keeping up with people this last month or so. Not that I have ignored anyone, or not replied, I just haven’t had it in me to talk. Messages have gone unanswered, my phone has been left, emails not responded to. Yet I in some way expect and hope that these friends will understand when I say I am sorry. Many of them have thought they have upset me and that isn’t the case. It’s just a bad time and I hope they forgive me for my lack of communications.

But forgiveness is probably part of why I have been quiet. I wonder if discovering forgiveness would be the key to removing or at least healing the pain inside. It was my birthday just a couple of weeks ago. It’s never a good time; it makes me anxious and afraid. I’d happily ignore it if I could. This year was worse, added to that is my decision to not have my father in my life. It’s made me very ill these past few weeks.

My hands are very sore through the overwhelming feeling of not being able to get clean, though I know some part of this is my minds way of coping with everything else. I do suffer from OCD and when it is at a point that my hands are bleeding, I know I have something bothering me. The fact that even my wrists are cut and bloody tells me I have a problem. I have had days of not eating and over eating. Nights of no sleep or nights plagued with bad dreams, but the biggest one is, in ten days I have only had two days where I have not self harmed. Some of myself harm days have been multiple occasions.

I look at all of this and why I do these things. I feel sane on the outside, but my actions feel far from it. None of my insanities can ease the pain I feel inside. I wish if I could give my father anything, it wouldn’t be confrontation, but it would be a day of feeling what I feel.

Forgiveness might be the key, but how do you do it? I’m not sure it’s possible. I wonder if forgiveness is real at all, or is it just something we convince ourselves of?

Alley Kid Part Nine

 

Colin eats his breakfast as though he hasn’t eaten for a week. I wish Will was with me. I wish I could shower him this way, with food and the things he needs instead of starving, and the deprivation he receives being my son. I chase away the pangs of guilt. I tell myself I am doing my best, but I know I am not. I’m failing him. He just doesn’t know any better and doesn’t complain.

Joanne eats her food, too. I smile at her enthusiasm over the money and what we can do with it. She runs off all her excitements in such fast succession that I am not sure I can keep up. I know her though; these are nothing more than pipe dreams.  She, too, has thought about filling the cupboards but, of course, our first thoughts are going to Froggy and scoring for the weekend. What a great time we will have. I agree, I can hardly wait. Anything to take away the inner gloom that plagues me constantly.

The time ticks by and I wait for Phil to come back. I know he will come back. I trust him that much, but not much else. Even so, some part of me is relieved when I see his car approaching and then he pulls onto the forecourt to the café and comes in. the hammering in my chest threatens to break my ribs and I let out my relief.

Phil comes in and his grin is huge. He sits himself down and orders too, for him and Becci. I want to ask for my money. I can feel myself reaching out for it and being able to touch it, but he doesn’t say anything. I am waiting with baited breath for him to put it in my hands and relieve the anxiety I didn’t know existed.

I know he’s teasing me. He knows I want the cash and is waiting for me to ask on purpose. I’m thankful when it’s Joanne who asks him.

“What makes you think I have it?” He tells her, and Joanne doesn’t believe him. She holds her hand out waiting for it.

“You have the money?” I ask him myself, in the end, he keeps grinning as if he is debating on what to say and then he laughs.

“Look at the scared look on both your faces.” He reaches into his pocket and pulls out some cash. I take it from him before he has chance to take it back and tease me some more. I can hardly believe it’s there.

We finish our food off and then Phil says he’ll give us a lift back to our flat, but he can’t stay. He is on curfew and wants to be home. Poor Becci thinks he means home to his place, but he means his other girlfriend, Sarah, and I wonder how he keeps up with it. Sarah has a daughter and Becci is pregnant.

Sometimes, I have been with Phil and Sarah and if we go to see Becci, I slip up and Becci scowls at me. Part of me thinks she must know, maybe she just doesn’t want to see it.

We go back to my place and Joanne says she needs to go out and get some smokes. She’s going to get them cheap from her mate. “I’ll be a couple of hours,” she says, “Are you going to Maz’s?”

“Yes,” I say. “I promised her I would do.”

There’s a figure sat on the steps leading up to our door when we get there. Colin recognises him right away and  is over everyone and out of the car so fast  to go into his older brother’s arms.

“Do they know you are here?” I ask.

Mark smiles and shrugs. That means no, I guess. I don’t say anything, but I wish he would stop it. He’s going to get me caught and I have no desire to end up behind bars.

“I thought I’d take Colin out for something to eat,” he tells me.

“He’s just eaten.”

“No worries, we’ll find something to do.”

“Can I? Asks Colin and there isn’t a way I can say no, not that I think he would listen to me even if I did refuse and I would have no grounds to stop him. I nod my head and Colin forgets himself for a moment and hugs me too. I watch as they walk off down the alley way together.

Joanne leaves too and I tell Phil and Becci thanks and then go to see Froggy and Maz.

Maz is sat on the step in the hallway of the building her flat is in. She’s been crying. She is smoking a cigarette.

She starts rambling and I don’t really know what she is saying. Mikey and Froggy. How she hates the drugs but she took them anyway. She shows me her arm, swears at it, shouts and tells me how bad she is, and that she won’t ever get her son back. Soon, she’s going to lose this baby too. She points to her stomach. There isn’t anything I can say. I put my arms around her and we just stand there for as long as she needs while she cries.

“Promise me something,” she says.

I nod my head.

“Don’t ever let them get Will. Pick him first.”

That’s easy. “I won’t,” I tell her.

She pulls back a little to look up at me. I wipe her face dry and kiss her as she wraps her arms inside my shirt. In that moment I feel at peace.

The door opens and Froggy comes out.

“I thought I heard your voice,” he says to me and tells me to come in.

Maz doesn’t move, but I put my hand round hers and drag her behind me.

Froggy already has my phet ready and good to go. Seems he knows me too well. I take the bag and hand him over, one hundred pounds. Froggy gives me one of his needles and I use their bedroom to take it. Although, it’s only been hours, as the phet takes hold, it feels as though everything gets washed clean away and I can live.

Joanne pops in for a moment to tell me her and her mate are going back to our house. I figure I need to go too. Colin will be back soon and, no doubt, Mark would have to get back to the farms.

Maz comes with us. Joanne has two girls with her. Lauren doesn’t stay so long. Her boyfriend comes and picks her up, but the other girl, Angela, who doesn’t look more than fifteen, I have never met

“Angela needs some where to stay,” Joanne tells me when she takes me into another room.

“We already have Colin,” I say.

“Exactly, so we can have Angela too. She’s fourteen and she won’t be a problem.”

“How come?” I ask.

Joanne tells me Angela’s parents don’t want her. They live the other side of the country and have thrown Angela out. Angela, who has clearly been listening, knocks and comes into the room.

“You can call and ask if you want.”

I look at Joanne and she nods at me. It doesn’t look like I have much of a choice other than to take another in. I can’t exactly turn a young girl out onto the street now can I?

The rest of the night goes fast. Colin comes home and goes straight to bed. His brother stays only long enough to steal a cigarette while Joanne shares her phet with Angela and I sit and talk with Maz.

Daylight creeps in the next day and the phet is almost gone. “Can I get some more from Froggy?” I ask Maz. We haven’t seen him since the day before.

“Sure,” she says. “If not, I’ll ask Woody,” she says before she leaves.

Woody lives next door to them; he deals too.

Joanne has just set Angela up on a spare mattress in Will’s room with Colin, when someone knocks on the door. I think its Maz again, but Joanne answers it and its the familiar sound of the police.

“We have a warrant to search the premises.” It reads.

One of the officers hands me a copy and I hardly have time to read it before they begin to look inside everywhere and turn everything upside down.

I don’t care about the warrant. My mind is at the bag of phet in the lounge and how I will get to it before they see it. Joanne has the same idea. She gets there and removes it before they see it.

The officer says they were told Mark had been here. I deny it of course, but I don’t need to ask who told them. I already know it was Phil. I’ve seen him play these tricks a dozen times, perhaps, this was karma for the times I have laughed when he has called the police out in jest on another friend.

Alley Kid Part Eight

Phil arrives but he doesn’t come in. He sits outside in his car and sounds his horn. I tell Colin to hurry up and get his shoes on

“You don’t have to do this,” says Maz, again. I don’t know why she is worried. I’m not, iI’s a fool-proof plan.

“I’ll be fine, I promise.” I tell her and then I kiss her and she puts her arms around me.

“You better come to mine when you get back so I know you’re okay.”

I swear I will, and I shout Colin one more time to get a move on. Phil isn’t one to be made to wait. I stand by the door and wait for Colin and he runs out passed me, to the car. Joanne comes too. Becci is sat in the back of the car. She doesn’t look at me or Joanne. Colin climbs in and over her. Joanne goes around the other side.

“Move up you stupid cow,” Phil says to Becci, and none of us look at her.

 I feel her embarrassment inside. I don’t want to see it reflected on her face. I have already noticed the tears in her eyes as she tries not to look at any of us.

We get in and before I have a chance to put my seatbelt on, Phil puts his foot down, and the car slides as he wheel-spins it. He laughs at the look on Becci’s face as he glances in the rear view mirror.

“Cheer up you miserable git, or get out.”

She doesn’t smile, nor does she look at him. He slams his foot down and stops the car, and stares at her, waiting for her to make a decision.

She sits forward, and I open my door, and get out of my seat so that she can climb out of the back of his two-door car. She puts her hands on the back of the front seat to steady herself and Phil swings and lands his fist in her face.

 “Sit down,” he says. He looks up at me, “I can’t believe you were going to let her get out of the car.”

I shrug; there isn’t much I can say to him, he’s in that kind of mood. It’s easier to be quiet. I get back in the car, put my seatbelt on, and we set off again. Phil, wheel-spins the car once more, but no one says nor does anything. He doesn’t stop, and we drive towards the main industrial estate where the store is with the television. All the time, my mind thinks about Maz’s words about the money and what I could do with it. It would be nothing for me to just sell sex that way. What did it actually matter? They were just strangers, and it was nothing. I wondered if Joanne would mind. I was pretty sure she wouldn’t if it got us some money.

We pull up outside the store, and the television we need is in the window. Phil gives me some paperwork and I read it.

“It has my name on it,” I say to him, “I thought I was using someone else’s details.”

“I couldn’t get them, but my uncle said we could do it this way, it’s all the same. Your credit’s clear right?”

I want to say no and get out of the car and go home. It doesn’t feel right now, but I can’t spend more days with no phet. I already feel the dread and darkness within. I know I won’t survive until Tuesday when my social security comes in. I don’t have a choice.

I get out of the car and we all go into the store. I stare at the television like it’s going to come out and bite me. I don’t know if I have it in me to ask and say that I like that one. I tell myself it’s five hundred pounds and think about what I can do with that.

A sales assistant notices us, comes over, and I smile at him.

“Can I help you?” He says. I stammer my words. My mind isn’t working, and I feel hot.

“We’re looking at this television,” says Phil to the assistant. “It says a year on credit.”

The assistant nods. “Yes,” he says.

“We’ll take it,” says Phil, without hesitation.

“Do you have an ID?”

My hands are shaking as I tell him yes and try to unfold the papers to give to him. Utility bills with my name on them.

“Do you have anything else? Passport?”

“Driving licence?” I offer.

He nods yes. I pull it from my wallet and give it to him. He tells us to wait a moment and then he’ll be back.

I try not to stare at him from across the store as he loads my details in his computer, and calls someone for a credit check. I know my credit is clean. I’ve never used it. It doesn’t take long for him to come back, but already Colin is growing bored.

“Take him outside,” says Phil to Becci.

“It’s freezing out there,” she says, but he doesn’t care.

He stares at her and waits. She sighs and takes Colin’s hand and leads him outside.

“Great news,” says the assistant. “I just need your bank details and we can arrange delivery.”

“Can’t we take it with us?” Asks Phil right away.

The assistant eyes us oddly as though he doesn’t get that often.

“Of course, if you want to,” he says. “This way.”

We follow him and Joanne is silent as she comes with us. Part of me wishes to hold her hand, not because she offers me comfort, but because I need something. My insides have done nothing but turn over, and I fear in a moment I could vomit from the nerves and the anticipation of my next fix. I wish Maz was with me.

It doesn’t take long to fill everything in. The assistant offers me a print out and tells me to read it. I stare at the words. None of them make any sense. They are nothing more than black marks on the paper. I sign anyway. It doesn’t matter. I pull my bank book from my pocket and pass it over him. He copies down the details and asks me to sign for payment.

It’s as easy as that, and I wonder why I was worried.

“If you want to bring your car around back,” he says to us, “then we can load the television, and you can be on your way.”

I thank him and shake his hand, then I follow Phil. He’s already stood up and left. I can’t keep from smiling at how easy it is. Soon the money will be mine, and then everything will be right again.

“What about paying it off?” I asked Phil when I catch him up. “He took my bank details.”

“Don’t worry,” Phil reassures me. My Uncle will write you a letter to show you lost your job; they have insurance to cover these things.”

 I calm a little at his words. I never knew that. I have never taken anything out on credit before.

We drive around back and two warehouse workers bring the television, and load it into the boot of the car. It’s massive. I wonder how all of us, plus it, will fit inside, but I don’t say anything.

Once it’s in, one of them gives me more paperwork to sign to say I received it, and they go back inside, leaving us to squash up. We have to have the rear seats wedged forward, and Colin sits on my knee in the front of the car.

“I’ll drop you at a cafe around the corner,” Phil says. “Then I’ll take the television to my uncle and meet you back there.” He hands me a twenty pound note to buy some food.

It’s nice at the cafe. I feel happy as I order myself a decent dinner and tell Colin he can get what he wants. Joanne orders a burger, but Colin’s delight makes him loud, and he can’t choose. I order him a milkshake and burger too.

I watch the smile on his face. Maz is right; I’ll call Lorraine in the week. I’m sure nothing can break my mood as we sit and wait for Becci and Phil to come back with my money.

 

 

Alley Kid Part 7

It’s just after dawn, Saturday has begun, and the world is getting busy again. I like this time of day. Just before everything starts, when it’s quiet and peaceful. The air is still fresh and clean and save for a few birds, there are almost no sounds at all. It’s like getting to the new day before everyone else.

Colin is sleeping. I checked on him before going outside to smoke. He gave up just after midnight, but he was determined to stay up as long as us. Of course his wasn’t drug induced wakefulness and although he fought, his eyes had given up on him and he had fallen asleep on the floor. He hadn’t even woken when I picked him up and put him in Will’s bed.

The night has gone fast, or at least it seems so. I still feel the sting a little of Maz’s harsh words. She wasn’t happy with my new high, but I had got Colin food and even some for Mikey. Their bellies were filled with pizza and coke. They had eaten until they couldn’t take another piece in and after, laid down together to play Nintendo, while enjoying the childish freedom and amusement of belching at each other. They were happy.

Colin hadn’t heard Maz’s dissatisfaction with me, just more evidence of my failure. Of course I had lied about how I got the pizza; even Froggy had given me a suspicious glance when I had said that I had bought it. I did in a way, maybe not with cash. Joanne had asked if my dad had given me some money and I gave a noncommittal nod of my head and then went to do something else to avoid the question of how much.

Maz knew something wasn’t right. She always knew, she had been mad at me, but I don’t think she really knew why. I had no doubt some of her shouting had been fuelled by the pain of taking Mikey back to his foster parents and knowing that at night, when he went to bed, when he got bathed and hugged and a bed time story, that another women would be in her place. Even giving him that night time kiss and watching as he went to sleep. I had let her shout at me. I let her say all the things she wanted to get out in her frustration and then I had put my arms around her and she had cried. I didn’t ask why and she didn’t say, but I knew.

My own pangs of guilt at my actions didn’t last long. They didn’t need to. Everything was good. Everything was great. Now. Now that I had had my fixed. Everything was perfect.

Joanne didn’t bother to ask how much. With the phet and the pizza, she no doubt came to an assumption in her head. She doesn’t really care about the girl that works in the take away. Karla she is called. She likes me, Joanne knows that much, but I don’t think she realises how much, not that it matters. Isn’t the saying, what they don’t know won’t hurt them? Even if Joanne does know, she doesn’t care anyway. She doesn’t seem to care so much, as long as she gets her fixes too and I ask no questions of her, all is good. She is no different to everyone else. She doesn’t care for me.

Maz is different. I’m not really sure where she places herself in my life. A motherly sister perhaps, but even that doesn’t fit right. I’ve slept with her once, nothing serious. Fun one night between Joanne, Maz, Froggy and I.

I guess that’s what I’m made for. It seems so at least. Everything always comes back to sex and what people will do if I give it to them. People see something that says it is okay and so they take it. It was there as a child and it’s here now. Maybe I will never figure out what it is and how to turn it off.  Maybe it’s all I have to offer.

Even the backwards events of my childhood seem to confirm it. I wasn’t able to tie my own shoe laces; I couldn’t reach things in the top cupboard. I had a bed time and I wasn’t allowed to cross the main roads by myself, yet I knew how to have sex. I knew how to give people what they wanted.

It’s my purpose.

I look at Colin sometimes. He’s seven, the same age I was my first time with a girl. I can’t imagine him reaching beyond his years into such adult activities.  He might not have much, but he has his innocence. I never did, maybe that’s what people see.

Karla, sex for food. It’s nothing to me. Karla is just another taker hidden behind a sweet smile. A smile that gets her exactly what she wants from whoever she wants it.  I wanted food.

I put my cigarette out and I try not sigh. I know that sigh, I’ll let it go and my next intake of breath will pull in the darkness of my day. I can feel the weight of everything beginning to build up again. Like the ruckus as the day begins, cars moving, more and more people outside. My mind feels as congested as the world. I want to sleep before it becomes more than I can bear.

I’m thankful for the light at least. The fears of my mind aren’t so bad in the day. The flashbacks of a monster long since gone in reality, but ever present in my mind are dulled by the daylight. His grinning face doesn’t plague me as much. His smile, his eyes, the intent in them. With daylight I can fight the bad man.

 

***

I don’t sleep so long. Less than four hours. Between Colin and his ever quiet elephant feet as he tries to walk quietly back and forth through the flat so not to wake me and Phil.

Phil calls to make sure that everything is still on for the day. I hear his voice on the phone and the anxiety spikes in my stomach at perhaps he is cancelling. As he asks me if I am still good for the job, I relax a little, but I still feel the echo of the apprehension inside. I mumble a half asleep yes as I get out of bed and Phil talks, but I’m not really listening as I venture to the bathroom and set the bath off running before I go to the kitchen to find my cigarettes. The content has depleted a little; my foolish over tired mind forgot and left them on the kitchen counter and Colin has been in them. I don’t like him smoking. I guess I see the child he still is and he sees the grown up he wants to be.

I shout Colin’s name, he has my lighter. Everyone else is asleep, but I glance at the clock, it’s nearly 11am.  Phil tells me that he’ll be there in an hour, and then we’ll go and get the television.

“I’ll be ready,” I say to him and then I hang up without saying goodbye. Colin comes in and puts my lighter in my hand without me asking for it.

“Bath time,” I say to him.

“I had one,” he replies. I know he hasn’t. I curse his mother in my mind for making him my problem.

“Bath, now,” I say. “I don’t care if you had one, another won’t kill you. Go, and leave the water in for me.”

He goes to bathroom muttering to himself and I make coffee. Maz, Joanne and Froggy all wake and get up like a conveyer or people, by the time Colin is done and it’s my turn, the flat is filled with noise.

I take my mug and go to the bathroom myself. I only just get undressed and sit in the water, and Maz comes into the bathroom. She isn’t bothered. She does this often and we chat. She pulls out my envelope of needles and takes on for herself. I don’t stare as she pulls the toilet lid down and sits on it to make her hit up. I feel the jab of envy burn inside as she shoots up.

“Are you really going to do this with Phil?” She asks me.

“Yes.”

“I don’t trust him.”

“You don’t like him,” I say and Maz clears everything away and rinses her spoon under the tap. I watch as the last evidence of her drugs go with it, like watching food being washed away and starving enough to taste it.

Maz sits on the edge of the bath and takes the shampoo bottle from my hand. I don’t say anything as she washes my hair. In a way I like it. It feels calming as her nails scrape along my scalp. “There’s other ways of making money.”

“Not fast like this. I’ll have £500 in my pocket tonight. Where else can I make that?”

“Lorraine,” she says. “She just has two guys on her books, they make a fortune.”

Lorraine. Maz’s ‘friend’ as she calls her, a woman that runs an escort agency. Maz works for her, or she did until she got pregnant. Not much call for an overly pregnant woman to spend some quality paid for time with.

I tell her I’ll think about it then I finish off my bath and get out and dress ready for Phil.

“It’ll be fine,” I tell Maz as she stares at me. “It’s just some easy money.”

Alley Kid Six

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I can see Froggy in the distance, stood waiting for me where we agreed. He leans against the wall, cigarette in his mouth, as he watches the world like he has no cares. I wish I was like that. I wish I could just stand and watch and not feel anything.

The dull heaviness I feel inside is a constant battle. Life seems like one long sigh and getting to tomorrow feels impossible. I wish there was a way to induce the simplicity that some people seem to have. That zest for life, like they can’t wait for a new day, yet I wonder why they don’t see the truth like I do. Why are they happy? I don’t really understand it let alone know how to feel it.

Maybe they are fortunate enough to experience the highs without medicated help, or perhaps, they take the health service’s offer of wonderful happy pills. Perhaps that’s it; prescribed happiness.

I drop the piece of metal from my father’s garage over a wall, and into someone’s front garden. The evidence of my shame is discarded and hidden behind the picket fence of someone else’s happy life. I push everything aside the same way I pull the sleeve of my coat down over my physical self-inflicted wound. I pull the inside sleeve down as well and cover everything with a smile.

I hold up my twenty pound note and nod at Froggy to show him my victory. He smiles back as I pocket it again and offers me a cigarette.

We walk back to my place and Froggy tells me about the phet he just scored. It’s like music to my insides that I can’t quite hear, but the desperation of it has me straining my ears until, not only can I hear the words, but I can feel them, too.

“Do you want some?” He asks me.
Every part of me screams yes. Yes, I want some but, I can’t even bring myself to turn him down. I can’t make the words come out. I force my head to shake from side to side and that’s about all I can manage. Pathetic, but it’s one of the hardest things I ever had to communicate to anyone.

“I can’t afford it,” I say.

“You’ve got that twenty,” he says, and nods in the direction of my pocket.

I’m grasping for breath on the edge of what’s right and what I want to do. Colin isn’t my child. Why should I care? Why is it my problem to feed him? I want to reach into my own mind and break up the war that reigns within. I can’t make either side shut up. I want what Froggy offers. I want it so bad; perhaps even more than I want to be able to live in happiness. Its right here being offered right in front of me and all I have to do is say yes. Just three letters and its mine, but I can’t. I can’t do it. My guilt worms its way through me. Torturing me.

“What’ll I tell Joanne and Maz?” I ask him.

I’m not really asking, I’m just saying my thoughts out loud. I can see their faces. Maz’s in particular with the look of disappointment on her face when I tell her.

“F**k ‘em,” he says. “They don’t have to know. Tell you what. Split that twenty with me and I’ll sub you the phet. Some for Joanne too, then she won’t moan about it.”

It’s possible. My mind gets excited at the thought of it.

Yes, yes. I can. I tell Froggy okay. I’m getting the television tomorrow. Easy money. I can pay him back then.

I smoke a cigarette and drink a coffee while I wait for Froggy to cut the phet. He does it with heroin, not glucose, but I don’t care. He can cut it with mud and I’d still want it. My mind can’t say no now, not now that it has a way. That would be worse than anything.

It takes everything I have not to snap Froggy’s hand off as he offers me the wraps for Joanne and I. I give him the twenty to change.

“I’m just going over the road to buy cigs, you want some?”

I nod and he leaves.

I light another cigarette and grab the envelope of needles from my bathroom. I sit with my back against the door in my bedroom and roll my sleeve up. I stop and look at the wound on my arm. I guess it’s my own fault. Its scabbed over, but the blood that was there is dry and smeared along my arm. I look at it and remember the disgust at myself, hours before. I pick at it, reciting each word my father said, in my mind; one at a time, spitting them with my thoughts as I pick and make it bleed once again.
Failure. That’s what it amounts to. That’s what I am and always will be. I prove it each time.

I grind my teeth. My breathing is harsh as I look at the phet and my needles.
I am nothing. I know this. I am useless and worthless. I can’t even put a child’s needs before my own. No better than my own father, I am sure.

I get the cigarette from my mouth and the urge to run the hot end along my skin is almost too great. I could take the phet and do it wrong. If there’s air in a syringe, won’t it cause a heart attack? I’m sure I’ve heard that somewhere. I wonder if it’s fast; If it hurts. Do I even deserve such merciless things as time and pain free?

I’d be gone in an hour. That’s it. Sixty minutes and it would all be over. No one would know.

But I can’t. I think about Will alone without me. What would he do? Would he end up like Colin? Or like me even. I can’t do anything. I can’t leave.

I cry at the unfairness of it. I want to hold it in but tears of frustration roll down my face and I clutch my head to try and make them go away.

I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to exist. I wish someone would just kill me and get it over with. I curl up in the corner. The pain in my head bangs with my heartbeat. I wish it would all just go away.

I close my eyes, pick up the needle, and plunge it into my arm. I don’t care. I don’t pull it out when the contents are gone. What’s the point? I open my eyes and stare at it. This is me. All I have to offer. Colin needs better than me. Will needs better. I spent their food money on my hit, again.

As each thought of pitiful self-hatred begins to fall away, the euphoric release of adrenaline rises up my spine and I can breathe again.

I stand. The person I was, moments before, is gone; nothing but a laughable memory as I clean everything away before leaving the house to acquire food for Colin.

Once again, I am happy.

Alley Kid Five

I walk away. I don’t have an argument. She’s right. There isn’t anything I can say. I’m a mess, they’re a mess. Everything is a mess and I’m sliding down a slope with no clue how to stop or how to get off before I crash at the bottom.

Joanne answers the door. It is Froggy and I’m relieved.

“What are you going to do?” Maz asks. “Colin needs feeding, if anything.”

I shrug. I don’t have any answers.

“It’s just until tomorrow night,” I say. When Phil and I get the television. I don’t tell Maz that part, but I can anticipate her reaction and lecture.

“You can’t all last until tomorrow with nothing to eat.”

“You can ask your dad,” Joanne says. “He’ll lend you twenty quid if you ask him.”

I know he will. If I ask, he’ll do it. It’s about the only thing he does do for me. Course, I’ll pay for it one way or another and not just in handing him the cash back over. I dread the thought of it. The look in his eyes as I confirm I am nothing, like he has told me all my life.

“He’ll probably say no,” I say in a vain hope that they will believe there isn’t a point.

“He won’t,” says Maz. “Tell him it’s for the electric or some crap like that.”

I have a million answers why I don’t want to ask. Each one of them formed over years, yet I know none of my friends will understand. Each ‘yes, but’ will be rebuked with one of their own. I keep my thoughts to myself as I nod and agree to ask him.

Maz takes Colin with her and Mikey, Joanne goes too. Froggy and I walk along the promenade and I don’t really think about going to my father as we talk about nothing and everything. Froggy wanders off in his own direction a few blocks before I reach my father’s work place. It doesn’t take long to get there, but I feel the heaviness inside as I get to the entrance of the alley way where he works.

I hear his music as I get to the door. I walk through the first small garage to the part my father works in. The scent car filler, like antiseptic hits my nose. My father is working. Blue and white sparks fly and crackle around him like electricity, as he welds.

I wait. I know better than to interrupt him or talk until he has finished and I have permission.

He turns and nods at me, but doesn’t say anything. My illogical fear begins to eat away inside as I stand there.

“How much?” He asks.

“How do you know I want to borrow money?”

“That’s all you ever want,” he says to me. “Same as when you were a child.”

“I never asked for money.”

“No, but you always wanted something.”

I sigh. “It doesn’t matter,” I tell him and turn to leave, but he tells me to stop. He reaches into the top pocket of his overalls and pulls out a wad of notes. “Twenty enough?”

I nod.

“I’ll add that to the bill.”

“Bill?”

“Raising a child doesn’t come cheap you know. Ten grand I shelled out to raise you. Someone’s got to pay me back. “

I don’t have words. Of course, I shouldn’t be surprised. He has never thought I was worth something in his life; just an object to use and throw away time and again. I wonder if he classed his abuse as a complimentary service.

I take the note from his hand and thank him.

“No one you could f**k to get this?” he asks. “Probably could have made more than twenty. Isn’t that how you always do everything? Course, when you were younger you were a nice little boy,” he says, and winks at me.

I feel my face flush with shame; it burns hot under my skin and through my cheeks. It clouds my vision to the point that the real world feels hazy. I don’t even know what to say. I want to hide. I want it to go away. I’m sorry for those things I did. I know they were my fault. I would take them back if I could.

I don’t say anything to my father. I just nod and leave. He doesn’t say anything to me either. On my way out, I grab a piece of discarded metal off his sheet cutter and take it with me. I don’t plan to do it. I can’t help it; what I feel inside has nowhere to go. No tears. No shouting. No target.

I put the metal against my skin. I stomp my feet hard on the pavement as I walk. Both forces equalling each other. I dig in with the jagged edge. Dig in deep and make it all go away with the welcome burn as my flesh splits open.