The day I drove away from you, you were drinking. You said you’d take me to court to keep our kids away from drug addicts. Your voice, loud enough to qualify for a job on stage. Our daughter, our son, curling up and clinging to me. It was bed time.
“Your mother’s a fuckin junkie. Your mother’s taking drugs. Your mother’s injecting heroin.”
But you know I’m not, don’t you.
This is how I have to love you from now. Away from the street we once shared, the same streets, the same houses and parked cars look different. On the estate, the old brown Cortina pimped with chrome has lost the smile I used to give it. In the supermarket, I buy food for our children, but never for me. I buy brandless shampoo without bothering to smell it first, and cheap baby wipes. I don’t buy rice anymore. You told me a meal is not a meal without rice. Last week, I cooked a curry and rice and left it to putrify, day after day, until the smell became too much. Even the dog seemed repulsed by it as she watched me scrape it into her bowl. Now a silence of insults and condemnations divide us. This is how I have to love you from now.
You sent me texts asking me why. Do you honestly not know why? You say I have kidnapped our children. How can I force them to speak to you? They’ve been through enough. Don’t you think? They tell me no and no and I don’t know and my heart breaks. I am not punishing you; it’s not how you tell me in texts and emails. Oh, you. You say you still love me. Well, I heard that once with a black eye and all-over bruises. I stayed and hoped and wished and believed in romantic ill-usions. It makes no sense any more. Romantically slinging words like practise cricket balls. Prostitute; slag; descara’a; junkie; smackhead; babylon; traitor. Cunt; bastard; arsehole; shit; alchie; abuser.
Remember when you said to me,
‘Don’t ever tell me you love me again’
It made you angry, you said.
Last night, you texted me that you had no money. That the house was too big, that you wanted three pounds to buy cigarettes. Our home, where I fucked you at the kitchen sink in broad daylight, still doing the dishes and laughing, me asking you if you thought the neighbours were looking. Our home, where the kids planted carrots and beetroots and moonflowers. Are the beetroots ready yet? Did you eat the kids’ rainbow carrots? The children were so excited when they bit through purple skin to find orange inside. They will be no good for eating if you leave them too long: you might as well. Our home, where you banged the bathroom door shouting
“Are you enjoying your injections?”
The moonflowers died before we left, eaten by the slugs.
I cannot answer. I have no words. Meanings get lost in translation and as the insomniac hours draw in, I sit, alone, listening to our children’s soft, sleepy breathing. I thought we would share foreverness and the misery of old age, waiting to see who dies first.
It wasn’t enough, our volcanic, hateful, jealous, sick love. Only self-hate could keep us there longer, with your frustrated rants concerning my 'imminent overdose'. My 'subsequent death'. You always said you’d find another woman, someone ‘better than me’.
But I’m still alive, still here.
When I met you, I had six months heroin free. I traded my elixir for our wet, psycho-fucks which had me craving endlessly more. I substituted marriage for the intravenous heroin I once thought was all I would ever want or need, until I thought I’d need nothing else but you.
It wasn’t endless, though, was it? What do you think we would achieve if I came back? It’s unexpectedly hard for me to write this. I don’t want to cry any more. I was crying every day before I left. Do you remember?
Do you remember when we walked though Parque Central and you wouldn’t hold my hand? Do you remember sharing a Vegas, always twenty sweet-papered, cigar-flavoured cigarettes a day between us, and half and half made ten. The tiny, cardboard-petitioned room, storm rain dripping through two hundred years of plaster, wood and horsehair and landing on our naked, sweating fuck-bodies. Do you remember how I would shout 'Vete pa’ la pinga' at total strangers in the street? 'Go to the dick', a strange translation for 'fuck off'. Havana killed me with guava rum from Pinar del Rio, drank straight from the bottle, and her lecherous street boys who touch before speaking. We killed each other with obsessive, unyielding suffocation. You never believed a word I said.
So as I read your hidden messages to an Argentinian woman with a face like mine, as I read your romance to her, her who you called your princess of love, as I read your invitation for her to come to live with you, of your lies that we were separated, that I 'knew about her and didn’t mind', so the cravings for heroin set in. Don’t you think that reaction is normal for a ‘fuckin junkie’, no matter how long abstinence is? My only surprise is that I didn’t go score a bag and pin it up years ago. I tried to forgive you. I tried so hard. But how could I forgive, with your constant word-debacle and counter-accusations? I am not you. I did not do as you did. Neither did I use heroin. You used to ask me about every mark, every bruise. You’d look and ask me,
‘What’s that bruise?’
‘I don’t know’
‘What’s that dot in the middle of it?’
‘How the fuck should I know?’
‘Looks like a needle mark to me’
How I wished it was.
I could have done it soon after our daughter was born. I had so many contacts then. It would have taken one phone call and my old best dealer would have been waiting for me in the bus stop visible from our old front window in Sheffield within ten minutes. I could have done that when you were out. You would never have noticed.
I could have done it when I dropped our daughter off at nursery. Half the mothers were on the gear, weren’t they? I could have had a word in their ear and gone to the needle exchange across the road, bought some citric and be straight enough to walk home happy for a good fuck in the child-free hours. You wouldn’t have noticed.
When they gave me the diamorphine before my operation, I tried not to enjoy it. But fuck, it would have been magic if they’d put just a little more in. After the post-op pharmy smack wore off, the nurses treated me like a naughty child when I cried through the night, every night, because they wouldn’t give me enough to kill my pain. I was in agony. You were angry with them, do you remember? You demanded to see the boss and we both knew some insider was swigging the oramorph, skipping patients’ doses. Because I spent my days clock-watching for the next dose, and my hospital sheet lied. You swung from kind to cruel, telling me I had my operation so I could have a nice cunt for someone else. Don’t you think I deserve a nice cunt? You try giving birth twice and prolapsing: fucker.
And as I heart-wrenchingly debate a return to the pin and spoon, of morning aches and the endless search for the return to normal, you sit in our family home, waiting for me to come back. I can’t do either. Much as I crave the two kids two parents set up, I can’t go back. You and me were exhausting. Now, I can breathe. Much as I crave the needle, I think of our kids. Do you think they would notice?
Don’t you think they noticed how desperately unhappy we were together? You sit, now, in our family home, amongst our things, my books, the kids’ toys, their clothes and writing, my violin.
Are my dirty knickers still on the floor where I left them? When I left, the sheets were still washing in the machine. Did you hang them out to dry? Do you wank, sniffing my dirty knickers, thinking about me pissing in your mouth and how we fucked on the trampoline, naked, at three in the morning. Or is it just words? The “I still love you” line. Does it matter how much we love when we don’t know how to love without destruction?
I was about to tell the kids a story when you started shouting, remember? Do you remember how much they loved to snuggle up with me in bed and hear the stories I invented for them? Do you remember telling me to stop telling them overexciting stories at bed time?
So now I sit here, in someone else’s house, without you. I don’t want to be bitter. I don’t have the space in my heart to be angry anymore. You are who you are and I’m not easy to live with either. I told you never to marry a heroin addict again, no matter if they’re using or not.
‘You weren’t a heroin addict when I met you; you were clean.’
Well, I use deoderant and like my baths. Ah, but how naïve you thought you weren't. Didn’t you tell me, over and over, year after year, how your best friend Jicoteo died of an overdose, ten years clean? I told you it was suicide. You said no; no, it was too strong for him. It gave him a heart attack, clutching his chest post-injection, crying, ‘Mama, Mama, mi corazon!’
I’m sorry I scared you with confessions of my desire for heroin. I couldn’t handle the pain, my beautiful boy. Do you remember when I called you that, when first we were lovers in Havana? Back then, I never thought I’d hurt so much as I do now. I never thought I could love anyone like I loved you. Sometimes, I have wanted to hate you until the stars implode.
It’s dark and autumn is creeping up with the smell of wood smoke. Our trips to cut wood won’t happen now. Will they? Do you really think I wanted to leave?
My heart is smashed into pieces on concrete like a plated dinner thrown against suburban dining room wallpaper, pieces of steak detaching and globbing onto shag-pile carpet. Gravy running around the contours of red flocked flowers.
I never intended to stay away. But I didn’t have the choice.
Grrrr.... Hope you're all having a better time than me hahaha,
Love& inspiration, Vee X
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