I remember Angel telling Shelley that some people can only stop using gear when the pain of their using gets worse than the pain they’re running from. I can’t see how that’s going to happen for me. I can’t imagine worse happening than what I want to forget. And if it did, I’d rather be dead.
At Manly Beach, I’m sitting on the sand, close to the sea. There’s a greyhound racing across the shoreline. He’s barking loudly. His noise is increasing the level of pain in my head. I’ve got two more hours before I meet Lorna at five o’clock back at the Radisson. Part of me is thrilled at the thought of shooting up again tonight. Another part is dreading it – I’m worried I’ll have a flashback like I did last night when we had sex. A third part is hoping she won’t turn up at all. Then I won’t end up with a habit.
A young man, who looks like a typical Australian surfer type, walks towards me. “We’ve been sitting on that bench there, perving over you.” He points to a bench on the promenade. Some young men, with goatees and dressed in similar Billabong-type attire, wave at me.
“What do you want me to do about it?” I smile. He’s quite cute. Maybe he could even have me for free.
“I might need to think about that over a beer or two.”
“Well, you go and do that, and be sure to come back and let me know what’s required.”
“I’m Mickey. What’s your name?”
“Nicole,” I say, with a wink. “I’ll see you later, Mickey.”
“Catch you around,” he says, taking a couple of steps backwards.
I watch as he heads back to his friends on the bench. He half turns, looking back at me. I notice he’s giving them a thumbs up. He’s a bit overconfident. But he had a beautiful face. Actually, that’s not totally true. He had beautiful eyes. His face was unusual: sharp jaw line, thin lips, strong cheekbones, thick eyebrows. His face told me a story. There was something to him, more than his flirting. It’s strange how I can read people. I think he’s one of us.
I apply more oil to my body then light a cigarette. I’m careful not to get the oil on the cigarette as it spoils the smoke. Suddenly, I feel Lorna’s mouth on my vagina. Not her actual mouth but the sensation of it. I stub my cigarette into the sand and run to the sea.
I lie on my back with my arms outstretched and float. With the smallest of movements, I don’t need a lilo like the other people floating around me. A lilo would tie me down. It would mean I’d need to carry it. I like to be able to be spontaneous. Do what I want, whenever and wherever I decide to do it. I like to be free. That’s why heroin doesn’t suit my personality. I saw what it did to Shelley. I never wanted that for myself.
When I get back to my towel on the sand, I check my watch. I’ve another half hour to sunbathe before I need to start making my way back to the Radisson. Thinking of the heroin I’m assuming Lorna is bringing, my heart races. I do want her to come. I do want to see her. She’s a nice girl. I can tell her I just want to be friends. I can say I think I’m straight. I can tell a lie. It would be better than the truth in this instance – I’m sure.
I stand to leave. I look around for Mickey. Resident Over-Confidence might have lost his confidence. On second thoughts, perhaps he changed his mind. Seeing me close up – the blemishes on my face and the scars from the recent abscesses I’ve had on my arms – may have turned him off. He was probably embarrassed walking back to his friends. He was probably doing the thumbs up for my benefit, to make me feel better. What a fool.