Published in Tough Talk Magazine – May 2013
Me and Mickey walk along the road towards the Radisson. I’ve been sweating in my white, Armani dress all day. I want to have a shower and change before he takes me out to dinner. He’s trying to make me eat more, which is sweet of him really, but I’m not hungry. I never am. Apparently, there’s a sushi restaurant I’m going to love. What I’m most looking forward to is the sake. Mickey says it gets you drunk fast. He also said it’s made from fermented rice, which doesn’t sound particularly nice, but if it gets me drunk and doesn’t taste too bad, that’s all that matters.
I’m feeling the best I’ve felt since I’ve been here. Today with Mickey has been amazing. We haven’t done anything, not even kissed. But he’s held me for hours in the back of his van and not once did I have a flashback. It feels like a real breakthrough. I’m dying to tell Dr Fielding but Mickey’s hungry and I’ve already talked him into stopping off at the hotel so I can freshen up so it’s not fair to make him wait while I call Dr Fielding too. Later tonight, I’ll be too drunk so I’ll need to leave it until tomorrow.
As we approach my hotel, Lorna’s standing opposite on the other side of the street. She looks like a hooker in her red boob tube top and her jean shorts that are so short they show half her arse. I look away, hoping she won’t see me, but I know I’m probably the reason she’s stood there.
“Oi, Nicole!” she screams.
“What do you want?” Mickey shouts back at her.
“Can’t she talk for herself, chicken legs?”
“We’re off out now. Come over on Monday,” I say, because I want to spend the rest of the weekend with Mickey before he’s back to work.
“Just cross the fucking road, Nicole,” Lorna yells. “I won’t take too much of your precious time.”
I run over to the seafront, leaving Mickey outside the Radisson. I kiss Lorna on the cheek, hoping to calm things between us after the lie I told. “Have you got my two-hundred dollars?”
“Forget about your fucking money. Who do you want to be with, me or him?” Lorna shakes my shoulders. “I know you’re fucking him as well.”
I look away from her and turn my head towards the sea. “I really like him, Lorna. I’m sorry.”
“Well you should’ve said before and not led me on.” She digs her nails into the bare skin on my back.
I rip her hands off me. “I didn’t lead you on. Last time, I was gouched out and when I came to you’d taken off my clothes and were all over me. You fucking took advantage and that’s not the first time.”
“You lying fucking bitch.” Lorna slaps me hard on my cheek. My head swings to the side. As I bring it back up, I nut her on the forehead. She falls flat on the pavement.
Mickey comes running over the road. “I told you she was trouble.”
“She’s a dirty little fuck, isn’t she Mickey?” Lorna pushes herself up from the ground. “That’s what you like though. She’s right up your street. A dirty fucking whore.”
“C’mon, let’s go,” Mickey says forcefully.
I stand next to him on the curb, waiting for a gap in the traffic. I’m shoved from behind. I can hear Mickey calling my name as I spin through the air.
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.