It’s dark outside now. I’m in Kings Cross, walking through a flow of trendy people. It reminds me of Soho in London – the bright lights, the sex shops, the junkies and the hookers. This is where I feel at home. I didn’t want to go back to the hotel. In the bar there, those kind of people aren’t my kind of people. They’re the type I would charge to be in my company.
Waiting at the bus stop, a woman comes over to me. She has the same lank, blonde hair as mine, though hers is shorter, an inch below the shoulder. She has the same clusters of red spots on her chin, cheeks and forehead. She’s a skinny thing too, like me. She’s my kind of people. I can tell.
Leaning towards her, I whisper in her ear, “Can you score any smack?”
“How much do you want?” she says.
“Two-hundred dollars worth,” I say, because I don’t know how it’s measured here. This is the first time I’ve bought heroin since I’ve been in Australia. It’s been five days since I arrived but eight since I’ve had a hit. I did my cluck on the aeroplane, the two-night stopover in China, and the first couple of days here in Sydney. Being in agony from the cold turkey, I missed out on Beijing and the Great Wall. I didn’t leave my hotel room once.
She looks me up and down. She’s checking me out. I delve into the front pocket of my Dolce and Gabbana jeans and show her my cash – the proof I’m a smackhead with money, and not planning on skanking her. She takes my hand, leading me away from the bus stop. My heart beats faster. It’s banging in my chest like a drum. This deserves a drum roll. I’m on my way to score. At last, I’ll be high again, back together with the only thing that can fix me. It might only last a short while, but that’s still a short while of not feeling like I want to die.
“Have you got clean works?” I ask blondie as she drags me along. I’m tottering behind her in my stilettos. She’s wearing flats. Maybe she’s not much shorter than my five feet and seven inches.
She nods. I hope she has. I don’t want to end up back on the gear if I’m not going to be shooting it. That would be a waste of the pain and sweats I’ve only just recovered from.
She’s pulling me past punks, past prostitutes, and past parents pushing buggies. I can’t bear seeing the babies. I look away but it’s too late. I feel sad. I need this hit and I need it fast. Tears well in my eyes. I can’t see where I’m going properly. I twist my ankle and stumble.
She stops. “Are you okay?” she says, helping me up by my arm.
I dab the corner of my eyes with the sleeve of my pink cardigan. “Yes, thanks. It’s dusty out tonight.”
“I’m Lorna.” She smiles. Her teeth are good for a junky.
“Nicole,” I say. We shake hands as if we’re meeting for the first time, but we’re not. Our kind of people know each other. We recognise each other. There’s an attraction. There’s something unspoken. Somehow, we just know.
“Only a few more minutes, Nicole.” Her voice is soft like Shelley’s. I miss that girl so much. I wish she’d have been able to come out here with me.
We stop at a turquoise door by the side of a barber’s shop. She lays out her hand and I hand her the money. “Wait for me here,” she says.
I light a cigarette. I can’t just stand and be. How do normal people do that? Be. Especially in one spot and especially still.
A moment after I’ve stamped out my cigarette, Lorna returns. She puts her arm around my waist and gives me a squeeze. “Where are you going?” she asks.
“Manly,” I say. “That’s where I’m staying.”
“Where are you from?”
“London.” I brush my hand across her cheek. I’m feeling lonely and I don’t want to be alone.
She looks up at me with sexy eyes and a cheeky grin. I think we’re in for a good night.