I flick my cigarette ash out the window. Me and Mickey are sitting in the front of the van. We were in the back for hours. I was stuck there. I felt frightened. As soon as he held me, that’s when it happened – I went off somewhere in my head.
Dissociation – that’s what Dr Fielding says it is, when I disappear like that. It’s taken a longer time than usual to come back. Piece by piece, it’s happening slowly. I can speak again now and I can move my body. Mickey was patient and understanding. I don’t know what I was expecting but it wasn’t that. I’m used to men criticising and judging me. I’m used to angry men, men who only want one thing from me. Mickey’s different. He’s a good man.
We’re still parked on the side road near where his connection lives in Narrabeen. It’s peaceful here. Cars are parked up but there’s none driving by. The street is lined with trees. The trees in Australia seem brighter shades of green than the trees back in England. I could imagine living here, being near the sea. I like being by the sea. I like the sound of it.
We shot up the last of the heroin before coming to sit in the front. We need to score some more. My money’s at the Radisson. I didn’t put my purse in the white handbag I’m using today. Mickey said he’d drive back to the hotel as soon as I felt ready. I feel ready now. I tell him, and he starts the engine.
He’s been completely hands-off with me since what happened in the back of the van. I’m sure he’s going to keep it up. But there is a part of me that’s scared he’ll do something that makes me disappear again. I can manage him holding my hand. When he did that at the party, it wasn’t a problem. It was okay when I woke up with him this morning as well. It was the expectation of something sexual that caused it.
It’s so strange because if Mickey was a punter, I could’ve acted the part and done the job. Being with a normal man in a normal way isn’t something I’m comfortable with. It fucks up my head that I’m more comfortable being with a client even though I hate it.
Earlier, Mickey said we could just be friends, but I want more than that if it’s possible for me. He said he did too. But it won’t work between us if I keep disappearing. He won’t put up with that. What man would? And I’m sure I can’t cope with it happening either.
I know I’m not cursed but that’s how it feels. I want to be like most other women. But can a woman who’s had a life like mine ever be like other women?