Me and Lorna have been at the beach, drinking vodka, since this morning. We’ve positioned ourselves a few feet away from the sea. I like it here. I like being with my new friend, even if she didn’t care to call an ambulance for me. I understand why. She’s being lovely looking after me today. As well as treating me to breakfast, she bought me a sandwich for lunch. I rarely eat once a day, let alone twice. I’m surprised she eats so much, being as thin as she is. But I do have a suspicion she doesn’t keep it all down.
I’m trying to listen more carefully to what she says. I find it hard to listen to anyone fully. I always have other thoughts swimming in my head. They don’t stop when people are talking to me. If anything, they get louder, fighting for my attention. I’ve already upset Lorna by getting some of what she’s told me wrong. I don’t want to do it again. She worked in the brothel for two months, I remind myself. She had a termination at sixteen, I repeat in my head. I don’t know where I got two years in the brothel and the termination at seventeen from. I’d find it offensive too if someone wasn’t listening to me properly.
I’ve been looking out for Mickey, but he’s not here. I wonder if I will get to see him again. Although I’m happy here, I can’t wait to leave. I can’t stop thinking about getting back to my hotel suite. When I get back, I can take the hit I stashed in my toiletry bag this morning. Because Lorna doesn’t know I have it, I’ll need to get rid of her for a while so I can take it. Not knowing whether the syringe is dirty isn’t going to stop me. I can’t hold out until Lorna scores tonight. I need my fix too badly to wait. I’ll be getting myself checked out at a clinic either way. So it doesn’t really make a difference whatever I do.
I’m not going to overdose again. I’ve made a decision. My thoughts aren’t facts. That’s what Dr Fielding says. Just because I think I want to die, it doesn’t mean I do. I think that’s what she means. I’m going to take the hit in two goes to be safe. After nearly overdosing on the shot last night, and being that they are the same strength – which they would be having been drawn up from the same mixture – I need to be careful.
Lorna throws back her head, taking a swig from the bottle of coke that we premixed with vodka. “I think I’ll need a sleep before the party tonight.”
“Me too. I might go back to the hotel in a bit.” I hope she doesn’t want to come with me.
“Wait here.” Lorna staggers towards the sea. She looks as drunk as I feel.
I stay lying on my Betty Boop towel. I watch her sway along the shoreline. The sun’s bright in my eyes. I put on my Ray-Bans. She’s talking to someone. They walk into the sea together. It’s a man. She’s holding his arm, probably for balance. I think he looks like Mickey. I’m not sure. They’re not that near. I can’t see clearly enough.
I’m feeling dizzy but I stand up. I want to know if it’s him. I still can’t tell. Should I go over and see? No, I’ll embarrass myself. Mickey didn’t turn up to see me here last time. He’s not interested in me. I can’t have him reject me a third time. And I’m drunk. It’s best I stay here. I sit back down on my towel.
Lorna and the man walk to the shore. It is Mickey. He’s looking over at me. I wave. He waves back at me. I don’t have much make up on today. In fact, after going into the sea a few times, and covering myself in oil, I probably don’t have any make up on. I change position, lying on my stomach with my head in the direction of the promenade. I’m not looking at him now. I don’t want him to see me. Not today. Not the day after I tried to kill myself. Not drunk. And not with no make up on.
After a while, with my face buried in the towel, I hear Lorna say, “How do you know Mickey?”
I sit up. She’s standing in front of me, shielding my body from the sun. “I met him the other day…here.”
“He’s no good.” She rests her hands on her hips. “Stay away from him.”
4 thoughts on “Friendly Warning – 24 December 2000 – 2PM”
Hi Ruth I hvent read all of it sorry. I like the fact that it doesnt glamourise prostituion n addiction. It is written well however I have felt it hard to read at times & i think its needs a balance of light n dark.
Thanks Estelle. That’s really useful feedback. I’ll try to add some lightness but it’s finding the right moment. I can imagine it’s hard to read as it’s hard and painful to write x
Hey Ruth, congrats on writing this. We used to know each other in the early days. I like the excerpt. Well written. I don’t find it hard to read with the darkness, it gives a good insight into the life. I think it will be hard reading for some, others not. Go with your gut and when you get an agent they will guide you.
Thanks Mel x