Mickey climbs into the back of the van and I follow. He’s parked up on a side street near where we scored in Narrabeen. It’s a quiet road. All the houses are detached. On the grass verges, there’s trees every few feet that have been planted with the greatest precision. Now, I’m in the back, I can’t see any of it, just the grotty guts of this van. I strategically place a few of the multi-coloured cushions on the floor, so I can lie down without my white dress touching the dirt.
Yesterday was a write-off. I didn’t wake up when Mickey left early for work. I didn’t wake until the afternoon. With my skin painfully sunburnt, there was no point going back out in the sun. I stayed in my hotel room, rationing the gear I had left. Under my breasts, the skin’s stinging. I’m sweating, not from clucking. It’s the heat. This day must be the hottest since I’ve been in Sydney. With no air-conditioning in the van, it’s like a sauna.
Mickey passes me my filled syringe. Finally, I can have a decent hit. To make the smack I had last until this morning, I was only using enough to stave off the aches and sweats. The dodgy vein on the inside of my elbow still isn’t healed. So I inject the hit in my lower arm.
“Can I hold you?” Mickey asks.
“You can try.”
He arranges the spare cushions to make a slim bed next to him. He opens his arms and rolls me over. My head is on his chest as it was the last time, but my eyes are directed at his face. Although it’s a strain, because the heroin makes my eyes close, I force them to stay open. Looking at him helps. It stops other men’s faces entering my head. He’s not like most men. I don’t need to be scared. I repeat that in my head.
“Is there any news on your grandma?” I say.
“She’s doing all right. Dad’s still with her. That’s sweet of you to ask.”
“Is your mother blind?”
“No. Why would my mum be blind?”
“Must’ve been a dream.” I’m feeling so fucked from the gear, I forgot I didn’t want to bring that up. “That morning you left when you had to take your mum shopping, I thought you said she was blind.”
“She doesn’t drive, that’s all.” Mickey chuckles. “You’re a funny one, Nicole.”
“What do you mean by that?” I pull away from him and sit upright.
“Nothing bad, beautiful. I think you’re great. You’re just not like the other girls I know.”
I lie back down with my head on his chest. No, Mickey, I’m not like the other girls you know, but for reasons I don’t think you’re aware of. Or maybe he does know. Maybe Stix has told him what I am. I shut my eyes tight as if that’ll make it all disappear. Hiding the truth is a lie. I don’t want to lie to Mickey, but I don’t want him to reject me.