After the midnight walk-bus-walk-ferry-walk journey from Kings Cross to the Radisson Hotel in Manly, I’m shattered. Lorna’s lying on her stomach, stretched out over the queen-sized bed in my deluxe suite. From her white handbag, she gets out a bag of syringes. “Have you got a spoon?” she asks.
“Yes,” I say, rummaging for the dessert spoon in the bottom of my hobo bag. I picked that up from Shelley – carrying a spoon on me at all times.
“Water,” she says.
In the bathroom, I fill a glass with water. Back in the suite, I put the glass on the bedside table next to her.
“How long are you here for?” she asks.
“I haven’t decided yet.” I perch on the side of the bed. I take one of Lorna’s works and remove the orange cap. I dip the needle into the water and pull back on the plunger to fill it.
“I’ll hang out with you while you’re in town.” Lorna sprinkles the white powder into the spoon I’m holding. I’d heard the heroin in Australia was white. It’s meant to be a lot more potent than the brown I’m used to in London.
“It’ll be fun. I’ll show you the sights. Do you surf? I can take you surfing in Curly.”
I’m trembling as I release the water into the spoon. “No…I don’t.”
Do I even want to hang out with her? Sure, we can party tonight. I want the company. But I don’t want to get back into the life of smack. I don’t know how I’m going to manage without it, but the whole point in coming to Sydney was to get away from it. If only I hadn’t drunk earlier, I might have had more resolve not to use heroin. This is a one-off, I repeat in my head. I’m trying to convince myself.
Using the orange cap end of a syringe, Lorna stirs the mixture in the spoon. She takes off the cap and draws up the liquid into the barrel. She passes the syringe to me. While she’s filling her own works, I look for a good vein on my arm. They’re not too bad at the moment. The abscesses don’t look good, but there are still plenty of veins.
It’s amazing how quickly heroin can take you down. I’ve only been on it the last year. I remember Shelley telling me how it was worse for her because she was making so much money. The more you can afford, the more you use. Well, that’s how it was for her, and definitely how it is for me. I also think that what we’re running from, what we’re trying to erase from our mind, plays a part in that too.