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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

grace

to be trapped inside yourself is a very dangerous thing, the risks escalating considerably if you have not ever been taught just exactly how to get out.  

...being pregnant, broke and abandoned in a crack house on the other side of the world scared me just enough to reach out and ask for help. unfortunately the closest thing to help was the junkie neighbour's floor to sleep on for the night. i told them what had happened and that i didn't know what to do. also i think looking back i wanted L to worry thinking i had gone and didn't need him if he came back. i was carrying his child after all. i didn't want to sleep in the house he had left me in. so next door i smoked and smoked and finally curled into my sleeping bag on the floor in the living room. the couple who lived there and some other guy played cards and smoked crack from a broken green glass pipe. smells like rubber when it's smoked. each with swollen faces and hard beady eyes sitting around a table cluttered with empty beer bottles full of cigarette ashes. their kids crying themselves to sleep in the back room. i can still hear their children crying. they asked me to join them but the party didn't seem like mine anymore. it belonged to someone else. it wasn't fun anymore. my mind spinning. how did i get pregnant anyways? how long did it take to damage a unborn baby by using/drinking? how developed was a fetus by 9 weeks? they had taken my passport saying they didn't trust me but that if i hadn't stolen anything by the morning i could have it back. i felt totally helpless. cried myself to sleep. 

now for most of my life the worst part about waking up has been remembering where i am. their house no exception. it was early maybe 6am, no signs of life. my passport on the table soaked in beer. i found the address to a crisis center in a ripped dusty old phone book on top of the fridge. grabbed an orange off the counter, shoved my backpack together and quickly left. walked for over an hour in the hot sun with all my stuff on my back. in a waiting room...waiting...to speak to a counsellor. sitting there i remember was the first time i felt tired. tired enough to not get back up. this was the first time in my life suicide crossed my mind. i wasn't going to jump out the window right then. the thought just appeared. it wasn't even a formed thought and it certainly didn't stay long. it passed by darkly and quietly, almost like a possible alternative to the present. i can't remember what the counsellor told me. basically your fucked in a much more professional manner. she couldn't give me money. only advice. pamphlets to read about what to do in the event of being fucked. i think she told me to go home. instead i went back to the empty house and i'm not exactly sure why...the truth was, i was wandering lost in a fog. i wasn't sure exactly where to go. i sat there for almost 6 hours looking at the wall and smoking rolled cigarette's when i heard a car pull into the driveway. it was L. resentment surged up like a tidal wave inside of me. anger covered my eyes in bright red and fear put it's hand tightly over my mouth. taking pity on me i guess. he never said otherwise. 'more trouble than your worth' was the only thing he said on the 12 hour drive back to cronulla. i was just thankful to get a ride back. 

my old roommate begrudgingly opened her door temporarily as the room was still vacant and i was obviously in a state of distress. she said i could find work and back pay her. i think part of her liked me, the same part that liked to watch train wreck's. 

a friend appeared. K, a man i still love and treasure to this day. he was an early morning walker who stopped frequently at the small cafe. then he would swim in the ocean. he is the one friend i made in australia. i'm not sure if i told him how much he saved me, or what the money i was borrowing was actually for. knowing me back then i most likely lied saying it was rent related. i bet he never thought he'd see it again.

abortion clinic in sydney. the polite way to phrase voiding an unborn life is terminate- by definition 'coming to an end or capable of ending' was i capable? i was almost 12 wks by this point. 3 months. i will never forget this day as it has taken something away that should have stayed. something i should have been more careful with. this day took happiness and hope and left shame, guilt and grief. a small hallway. nurse holding my hand. lay back on the table. soft blue gown. exposed. open. the mask coming towards my face. {.......it's not a soul...not yet....is it? just think of it as science....i cant go back home with a baby. how did this happen to me? ....just do it. he doesn't want you. you loser. you miserable fucking worthless whore. your hurt is spreading now...taking other's with it....look at all the things you have destroyed...... } warm and fuzzy. the next world comes to me. i'm floating in the soft pink cracked porcelain bath tub with swirls of blood surrounding me. i'm fine. no you can't take this away. i've already tried. the only thing that takes it away is alcohol. alcohol. alcohol. passed out. alive. hungover. passed out. blackness. and on and on and on. one morning i stood up and blood poured down my legs.

get it together. new job. nanny. 2,4,7. louie, christian and peter. three little boys all from different father's. 3 months live in. i met the mother the day i was hired in her enormous mansion. after that i never saw her again. i cooked, cleaned, read books, bathed, dressed, ironed...i was their mom. not much time to drink. it was a really nice time i enjoyed them. i normally picked them up after their school in the car but one day walked bringing along the stroller in case louie's legs got tired on the way home. i was moving hastily running late, bumping it all around behind me, pulling it up curbs. a lady looked at me in shock from her car thinking there was a baby in it. but there was no baby. i was pushing an empty stoller. she would have been a girl. she would have been 12. she would have been named gracie. i'm sorry gracie.

i had been in australia almost a year when my position was up. a girl arrived for the interview outside the house in her black convertible with music blaring. 'your the old nanny? 'yup' i said putting out my smoke. 'are they brats?' she asked. i smiled. she was a wild crazy thing. blond hair. tight shirt. enormous fake breasts. glossy lips. hadn't bothered to turn off her music. she went to turn as i asked 'aren't you going in for the job?' 'nope, sounds like work...need a ride?' she said heading towards her car. haha she just threw in the towel right there. billy jean was blasting as she sped up the windy hills away from the enormous mansions along manly beach. i remember thinking she's fun. she's crazy. so reckless. i love her. i want her wild strength. but you know i can't even remember her name. she was the girl who taught me to roll down your window down and blow gum out as hard as you could, to insert a tampon while driving, to politely accept or decline group sex, to steal. we snorted beautiful thick white rails at her house for 3 wks. people sprawled everywhere in her fancy apartment. together we were like fire and gasoline. explosive. volatile. we consumed you. man, drug or bottle. 

ok now it ends abruptly and i'm terribly sorry but i do not recall exactly how. my next memory is flying to melbourne, taking a bus along the great ocean road to adelaide and being lifted up again in the belly of a 747 into the beautiful soft clouds towards malaysia. disappearing into the air.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

what goes up...must come down...

sitting next to me on my first international flight to the land down under was a very well dressed business man from LA. we chatted, he ordered me a drink, touched my leg. he slid his credit card through the phone on the seat in front of me and asked softly as he passed it over to me 'who do you want to call baby?' i remember thinking, nobody. warm red wine in miniature bottles. i closed my eyes feeling glamorous. arriving in LA i had a 5 hour layover and was waiting outside when he casually walked out into the light smog of los angeles, into the humidity, into the arms of a beautiful woman... who was presumably his wife considering she had 30 grand on her hand. the man that was laughing and flirting with me not 30 mins before now looked back over his broad armani clad shoulder, right through me. i lit a smoke. 

we flew for almost 2 endless days with stopovers and awful delays....by the time we touched down on australian soil i was exhausted to the point of being delirious. was it day or night? the passengers anxious and blurred, the noises distorted and far off, i felt numb and gave in letting the flow of people carry me along like a current towards the baggage carousel. as my backpack rolled by me on the conveyer belt it occurred to me albiet briefly where i was and exactly what i'd done. i had just flown around the globe on a whim. an angry prideful whim. 

outside the wind was warm and it was night. my feet ached and were thankful for the firm ground finally underneath them. a taxi took me to a hostel in kings cross which is the last place you want to be in downtown sydney at 3am unless your a shit faced university student who's lost his way, a crack dealer or a hooker. i curled up into the thin sheet on the lower half of an old wooden bunk bed, my backpack against the wall behind me. images flying through my head. excited and scared. 

the next morning when i woke up i realized it wasn't a dream. i felt hungover without having drank. in my pocket 200$ and an email address of an australian boy D i had met in canmore. if it wasn't for this particular family taking me in while i found somewhere to work/rent i can't imagine what would have happened to me. the mom S was funny and strong willed and curious, wondering what the hell i was up too. the 2 younger brothers R &A shy and handsome. their father an indian man (dot not feather) was arrogant and outspoken. i shouldn't complain even 12 years later as i was technically nothing more than a squatter in my sleeping bag on the floor of his small office. D played guitar and was... and still is handsome beyond your wildest imagining. eyes and voice absolutely dreamy. i stayed 10 days watching him, eating with his family, contemplating my next move. maybe longer. i remember the dad telling me over supper one night that i ate like a horse and did all girls from canada eat with such an appetite? then excusing myself to go and throw up in their bathroom. i was so angry. watching the water spin the opposite way down the drain, i felt all the rage and shame i had ran from. had i gone so far away to feel exactly the same?

i found work at a tiny beach cafe wearing hideous flower shirts and serving coffee in flip flops. the boss yelled at me and spit at my feet saying i was a fucking worthless sheila. i took night shifts in a fine dining restaurant with white linens and polished silverware. one night an elderly lady drank so much wine and as she teetered to the front i asked her if she was alright...she smiled politely and putting her head slowly down began to vomit. instinctively i put my hands forward. standing there with two cupped hands full of old lady puke, my second day on the job. other than that particular experience the dining room was quite elegant. i rented a room in a small apartment shared with a chubby girl who had a pet rat that she let it sleep in her shirt at night. she didn't like me very much but needed the rent. the bathtub a light chipped porcelain pink. she hid her food. i looked in underwear drawer once and she had huge lacy dark costumes. goth. we avoided each other out of respect. on days off i'd walk down past the morning market's when the vendors were just putting out their fruit. melons and papay's and mango's. small winding paths around the oceans edge, kids with surf boards running down the esplanade. waves salty and crashing. the air heavy with humidity. a spot in the warm sand. cronulla. i liked not knowing anything about the place. i loved that no one knew anything about me. 

it didn't take long to lock eyes with one of the cook's over an order of lobster ready to be taken out. tall, dark hair, sly grin. a surfer boy named L. we became close right away. after shift we would sit on the big rock's at the edge of the ocean. drink warm red wine till we couldn't stand, eat stale bread bread that we had tucked away into our pockets, laugh about people. we made our plans out-loud. he felt dangerous with open ends, like me going nowhere fast. living in his apartment...i think we fell in love. i fell in something anyways. he also played guitar but not at all like D, his guitar wasn't soft and instrumental...L's guitar was your neighbor fucking hates you aggressive and loud. drugs. ectasy, mushrooms, dope. nothing too crazy. a bit of cocaine. one hangover blended into another and months went by like this. lighting incense. listening to beth orton. thinking about the food we couldn't afford because we drank it. a period of intense forgetting. one night we unknowingly arrived home into a domestic scene caused by his not so long ago ex who had ripped all his (my) belongings into shreds. a crazed drunken screaming woman is a fascinating thing unless she's after you. she was older than me and much more worn. she had broken cd's, town picture's, ripped clothing. withing seconds both her hands around my neck choking me against the side of the apartment i no longer felt was mine. i can still feel her long fake nails in my skin. she ran as police arrived. i sat there across from 2 cops looking up at L thinking my surfer dude was perhaps not so 'chill' after all. the one thing she yelled at me as she left was repeating over and over in my mind.... 'don't trust him...don't trust him' 


L and i traveled hours north by train to surfer's paradise along with his roomate N to work at a catering company for the FX games. we somehow found an abandoned crack house/pot grow op and i suppose he paid somebody something to sleep there and maintain the plants. it was an absolute leaking stinking shithole. 2 huge barking dogs outside belonging to nobody. peeling paint. no hot water. dirty shag carpet. we had no money and no food. stealing from work to survive. cigarette's go last and i chain smoked sitting on a sofa i was certain somebody had died on, and probably not that long ago either. tiny lizards clung onto the moisture of the walls and cockroaches scurried across the floor. i turned 19. the job at the catering company fell through getting us only a week or two of pay. we found a flat of generic grape pop which quieted our rumbling stomach's. molded bread and fruit. i desperatley got hired at some ritzy asshole place in town called 'cairo'. a few shifts in i was already showing up late and tired. not because i was hungover. not because i wasn't eating or because i was high. but because i was pregnant. almost 3 months pregnant. i found out the same day they fired me.

what comes up must come down my friend...but the higher the thing is, the longer it takes to do so... and the clouds were still far far beneath my dirty tanned feet until i woke up one morning inside the house alone. my life inside the backpack propped up against the wall. the driveway empty. a scribbled note saying 'i can't take this anymore' he had left me.