Make sure you read the first three parts before you get stuck in here so it all makes sense:
Part 1: The day we met
Part 2: A new addiction
Part 3: Walking into the abyss
The opposite of rehab
The cab I ordered from the hospital took us straight back to his share house in the Inner West of Sydney. The house was on the corner of a busy road and a tree-lined avenue that lead up to the main street. All six bedrooms were occupied and there were two dilapidated caravans in the yard that sometimes housed random transients.
It was one of those old single story inner city homes that had had any trace of garden ripped out and replaced with concrete. The front door was never locked because there was always someone home and people were constantly coming and going. It was always dark inside to keep the power bills down because of the nine regular residents, only three had legit jobs.
The smell emanating from the joint was of weed, nicotine and damp. You could smell it from the footpath out the front of the house despite the constant stream of heavy vehicles which passed throughout the day. Every single one of the people who resided there smoked both marijuana and tobacco which bellowed out of the house like rotten dragon's breath. They each had a host of other drug and alcohol issues to their names as well. This was the only thing I had in common with them.
This house was the opposite of rehab, the place I had just escaped from: it was where people who didn't want to recover or couldn't afford to recover went to eke out the best life they could while maintaining their addictions. I could have gone back to the room I was paying extortionate rent for in the next suburb, but I felt comfortable and oddly safe here amongst society's dropouts.
His room was the second on the right. It was smallish, about three metres by four or five. He had an old wardrobe in the corner where the few clothes he owned were piled. Also, sitting on an upturned milk crate, was an outdated rear projection TV, alongside a kid's motorcycle, a chair and finally a single mattress made of foam laying directly on the linoleum floor.
I dumped the belongings I had taken with me to rehab on the floor: some clothes, toiletries and my doona, pillow and ugg boots which came with me every time I entered a psychiatric facility. No one should do rehab with hospital issued bed linen!
Before I even sat down we were on the phone hunting out drugs. I had to get wasted; as fucked up as I possibly could without dying, although that probably wouldn't have bothered me either as long as I got to enjoy myself and go out with a bang. I just needed something to shut out the voice of reason. The voice of anger. The voice of despair and worthlessness. The echo of the argument I'd had with my father only hours before.
And so began a three week orgy of sex, drugs and rock and roll. Back in London, in my cocaine snorting days, I'd always had the delusional fantasy that I was bit of a rock chick, cool with my constant supply of Charlie and ability to consume vast amounts of alcohol. Now though, spending nearly all of my time with this person on a foam mattress on the floor, off our heads for all our waking moments I felt like Sid and Nancy or Kurt and Courtney: So rock. So cool. So fucked up. But with a couple of glass pipes (one for smoking weed, one for meth) instead of a needle.
The only reason I didn't completely lose my head was a handy supply of Seroquel, an antipsychotic medication that when taken after consuming amphetamines will help bring you down and let you sleep. It also prevented any of the usual come downs I was used to in the past. It made having a three week binge possible.
The other factor allowing us to go on the ultimate bender of avoidance was my UK credit card which I'd paid off with an Aussie personal loan when I first arrived back home. In my "I don't give a fuck about anything" mind frame I just kept withdrawing cash off it. This, in retrospect, was why I think this man who would provide the seed that created my son, hung around for so long: I was buying him drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, paying his rent and feeding him. I even bought him some clothes and a pair of shoes in the short time we knew each other.
We hardly ever left the house. Actually, I hardly ever left the house. In my position as money provider I had all the power in the relationship and I used it to send him on trips for drugs, food and other supplies. I even gave him my pin numbers to get money out of my accounts from the ATM because I just couldn't be bothered to go anywhere.
I occasionally went up the road to the shops. Eventually I got all my stuff from my room in the boarding house and ended my rental agreement with the agent. While I was there I discovered that he had taken money from one of the students that lived in a neighbouring room with the promise to score pot for him. He'd never got the pot or returned the $50. I repaid the debt. Something I had to do on numerous occasions.
About two to three weeks from the day I left the hospital and arrived at the house I knew something was up with me. My last period had been strange: late and it stopped and started. I figured this was because of all the drugs I'd been taking. When it was late again, I thought I might be pregnant but I doubted it. Was my body even capable of such a task? I really thought it was probably the same situation as the month before.
I went to the chemist to get a test seriously thinking I was wasting another $20 bucks or whatever they cost at the time. I did the test as soon as we got back to the house and there were the two purple lines. I was pregnant and everything changed. Strangely enough it was almost one year to the day since I was raped in London, the almost catastrophic event that sent me skidding into the abyss in the first place.
When I showed Noo's father the testing stick he was shocked. The look on his face told me exactly what he thought and it wasn't positive. He actually looked scared.
Even though I'd only known him a short time, he'd already told me he loved me. He told me all the time that I was beautiful, that he was in love with me, that I was the best thing that had ever happened to him. We spent all our time together in our room in that house, except when he was on missions for supplies or when on the weekend he would see his kids.
He spent one day every single weekend with two of his children and he loved them very much. Although he talked to me about them in great detail, I won't write about them or their mother because I don't feel that is my right. All I'll say is he was estranged from their mother. I found out she had an AVO (Apprehended Violence Order) taken out against him and he wasn't supposed to go anywhere near her or the kids but they had an agreement he could see them one day a week because she had to work.
He and I had spent so much time talking and getting to know one another that a sort of bond had formed - for me anyway - but I hadn't returned the 'I love you' until that moment I showed him the pregnancy test. All that desperation, helplessness, uselessness I had felt for so long started to lift almost immediately. This wasn't going to be just another day to get high and avoid the reality of my life.
Morning sickness kicked in around three days after I found out I was pregnant. At first I was just a little nauseous but that could have been because I'd completely stopped all forms of illicit drugs, alcohol and cigarettes and my body was in shock. By the second week I was vomiting from 3am through to 5pm every single day and continued to do so until week 14.
Still not speaking to my family or friends I had to think about how I was going to manage my recovery and the pregnancy on my own. There was no way he was going to get sober with me, although I talked about it with him constantly. I was pretty naive and somehow thought that we would work this out together. I'd convinced myself that I did love him, despite the fact that we had nothing in common but a love for being wasted.
His mother was 16 when she had him and he'd been mostly raised by this grandparents who were Ten Pound Poms that came out to Australia in the late 60s. He somehow made it through the school system without learning to read or write. He told me he had excelled at all sports and that was how he scraped through.
His grandfather, a tradesman, took him on as an employee at age 15 and I'm guessing because he was illiterate he wouldn't have had any official trade certificate. In retrospect I guess he got through life with charm, wit, violence and a pathological ability to lie on his feet.
I heard him on the phone to his ex partner all the time lying through his teeth with ease. He was enormously paranoid of her coming around to the house and finding me there, which she never did. He was also overly concerned about any police attention the house might attract. I never understood either because, as far as I knew, they were broken up and, except for breaking the conditions of her AVO against him, the police should have no reason to want him.
As time wore on and I sobered up I became more and more incapacitated by the pregnancy. Vomiting all day had made me extremely dehydrated and couldn't even keep my antidepressants down. I saw our family doctor who was unimpressed with my state and told me he was very sad that I was pregnant. My doctor's connection with my parents was too strong so I opted to change GPs to keep them out it.
As the news I was pregnant made it around my family and old friends the reaction was negative to say the least. How could I possibly care for another human being if I couldn't care for myself? Good question. I had to somehow prove that I could do it. I had to clean up my life.
When I first laid eyes on the screen of the ultrasound equipment reality kicked in as the tiny little blob kicked around for us to see. It was just a little white foetus on a black background but it was moving its tiny little legs furiously and looked full of life. He came with me to that first exam. He showed some interest but he'd done this all before. Several times before.
Weeks turned into months and we were still living in that one room in a house full of misfits. I'd gotten one of those 24 month interest free loans from a furniture store and bought us a queen sized bed, chest of draws, HD TV and TV stand.
I spent day after day in bed vomiting into my red garbage bin. I was given that bin for my 14th birthday (yeah, go figure!). It had somehow survived all my moves to and from Melbourne, been stored by my dad while I was living in London and made its way back to me when I moved to the boarding house. I love that bin.
|My 24 year old red bin today. We've been through a lot together.|
I would start every morning retching, head bowed over the rim of that fair dinkum Aussie made red plastic garbage bin, early before anyone else in the house was awake. He was always worried the other tenants would figure out what was going on and constantly told me to keep it down. He didn't want anyone to figure out I was pregnant, but they didn't clue on as far as I know. He told me he didn't want his ex to find out on the grapevine, or in retrospect, he didn't want her to find out at all.
During the day I would get him to clean out the bin of its watery contents. I was obsessed that it would make it back to our room. Anything left outside was fair game for anyone to take. I trusted no one in that house. Not even with my old red bin.
That is enough for now. Part 5 is written. I'll post it later in the week.
Thanks for reading.