giorge thomas

KOOL-AID: at the end of the day, you’re usually to blame

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I can probably pin-point the moment when my relationship with him began to fall apart.

You see, he was quite the golden boy in the church. Poster child. Success story. Still is.

For a while, I was too.They loved me. And I was successful. Just not a success story. Because my success all happened before the church. So they couldn’t attribute my success to the church. To be honest, they were my downfall.

There was no time to work. Everything was devoted to the church. The whole of you. Also, I don’t think he liked me being successful. I do have legitimate reasons for thinking this, in case you’re wondering. I just can’t talk about it.

Me being the least successful of the partnership was extremely beneficial for him. Because he held all the power. The church loved success. Success meant popularity. And money. I know the moment the moment the tide changed. It was me they came to when we entered the church. Me the leader would single out. Until I wasn’t. I knew my sheen had dulled and his brightened when it was him they went to first. He whose hand was first shaken, whose back was first slapped.

Is such a weird thing; the ego. You can say you don’t give a shit about all that, you can say you don’t care if you’re not loved but you do care. Because it’s a great feeling being loved and admired. Horrible when what follows shortly after is indifference. Is like being wealthy followed by being poor. Not a good feeling.

At church we would have these sessions which are kind of like therapy sessions but not, because therapy, we must remember, is the devil itself.

These sessions are when you reveal your deepest, darkest secrets. So yes, like Confession. But unlike Confession, it’s a requirement, and unlike Confession, if the person administering the session feels you haven’t ‘confessed’ enough, you’re not allowed to leave. I’ve been kept in that room for hours! Is like an interrogation. They break you down to a point when you’d do anything or say anything just to get the fuck out of there. I would have committed to a murder just to leave.

I’m half-Italian, you see. It’s in my genetic make-up to require feeding every hour. So being kept away from food made me angry. Frustrated. Made me desperate.

I can’t be sure, but I think they knew this.

So one day I found myself revealing how I was fourteen when he and I first met. He was twenty-four.

And it was fine. Left the session, stopped at In and Out Burger and went home. He came home moody and distant but there was nothing odd in that because he was often moody and distant. He loved you when he wanted to love you and it was a raging love. Made you heady and desperate. The rest of the time he didn’t really care. He was selfish like that. And of course you spend the entire time wondering what it was you had done to cause the distance. Because how could he love you and then be so indifferent?

But then the following day I was called in for another session. They wanted to talk about when he and I got together. How I had led him on. How I had seduced him in a way.

Now — in all honesty here — I hadn’t thought about how old I was when he and I met. Didn’t think that there was anything wrong with it. Honestly, didn’t. He wasn’t inappropriate and I hadn’t been taken advantage of. Yet when my church tells me I was wrong, that I was the one at fault, I was outraged.

And also sick inside.

Because I knew what it all meant. The church saw this as bad publicity. The church knew it meant their golden boy was not so golden. And the church knew if he and they were going to come out of this clean, that he would have to distance himself from me, and all of it had to be my fault.

I was a liability.

Foolishly, I thought he’d come back. I thought he was going through the motions, keeping everyone happy and when it all died down he would come back to me.

But he never did.

He let me be sucked dry financially. Let me be sucked into the ‘clergy’ as I had no money and therefore no option. He let me and everyone else be treated like second class citizens.

Admittedly, at the time, I really did think it was my fault. I believed that I had been inappropriate. That I was a fourteen year old hussy. Hadn’t my dad called me a slut at sixteen? I must have been. I’d lured him in. I put his reputation at risk.

Now, I cannot believe it. Now I know the onus was on him, the adult, to do the right thing. If a fourteen year old kid had sex with a four year old, would you blame the four year old? No. You wouldn’t.

The whole situation is one of the reasons they would want to keep me quiet. The other would be the evidence of what he and others like him said in their sessions. I copied the video files, but I’ve not looked at them. In truth, I’m too scared to do it. Too scared of what I would find. Surely I can’t be the only one? There have been stories. Insinuations. Everything would fall apart if if people found out. If I found out. Him. The church. Me — we’d all fall.

KOOL-AID: cramp in the night

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So last night was sleeping on the couch in Landlord’s house when I heard a scream. Horrible, blood-curdling scream. Was coming from Landlord’s room upstairs. Thought he was being killed. All those terrible things come into my mind. They’d come for him. They were getting back at me by hurting the only person they assumed I was closest to. Obviously hadn’t heard about the policeman.

Without thinking, I raced upstairs. Like an eejit. What the fuck did I think I was going to do? Honestly. Protect him? Ridiculous. Also ridiculous because Landlord didn’t know was in the house.

Burst into room. It was empty apart from Landlord. Just him, struggling. Yelling out in pain. He was leaning forward, grabbing at his leg.

Was weird. He wasn’t surprised by me being there.

‘It’s nothing. Cramp,’ he cried in desperation.

Cramp is a bitch. Knew it was a bitch. Had been through it. During the purification process. And it hurt like hell. But I knew what to do.

Rushed to the bed to grab Landlord.

‘No, no, no,’ he objected.

‘You have to stand on it,’ I told him.

‘No, no, no,’ he objected again.

Because he was naked. Still managed to get him to stand. He wouldn’t put his right heel down, though. Knew that was the culprit.

‘Put down your heel,’ I commanded.

‘Ah. No,’ he cried.’

Bent down, taking hold of the back his his heel. Forced it down to the ground. Landlord yelled out in pain, holding onto my head. The majority of the cramp, I knew, had abated.

I stood up. Was now time to walk it off. Took hold of his hands, led him towards me as I walked backwards. He grimaced, and limped as we took a walk around the room.

‘Can I go back to the bed now? This is slightly mortifying.’

Understandably. He was naked. Helped him back into bed where he very quickly covered himself.

I reached his foot once again, taking it in my hand.

‘What are you doing?’

‘Just going to rub it for a bit.’ Still felt odd, talking. Like I had just learnt a new language and wasn’t yet sure of the feminine and masculine pronouns.

Gently, I rubbed at Landlord’s foot.

‘Why have you been sleeping here?’

He asked the question quietly, not looking at me when the words escaped his mouth.

So he had known, somehow. I didn’t have to ask it — Landlord was still accustomed to my lack of speech. A glance at me and he knew my question, answering it without me having to utter a word.

‘I came down for water the other night,’ he explained. ‘You were there. Peaceful. It was the first time your face looked peaceful. Even, all those years ago, you wore the expression of someone under constant trial. Like you do now.’

I could not respond to his judgement of my expression because it seemed impossible to respond to someone who had so easily read my face. Someone who then, and now, barely knows me. But I suppose he does know me. Somehow, in some way. Which is my failure. Because I am always trying so hard to not let people know me at all. Even Him, my greatest love, didn’t really know me. He knew the idea of me. He knew my pain. But never my joy.

It is true that I haven’t much joy. Yet it is in there somewhere. The joy I feel when seeing rain or smelling popcorn. The joy of touching leather. The joy of smelling a book, new or old. Small joys hidden under synthetic ones. Because I was ashamed. Ashamed to be happy. I suppose I thought I didn’t deserve happiness.

I told Landlord that I had been coming to sleep in his house because I feared someone had been in my own, I feared that they had found me.

It was easy to tell him such things, easy to speak in full sentences, because the room was quite dark. Secrets lie in the darkness, and I was willing to divulge them.

‘What would happen if they found you?’ He asked.

I listed my fears. That they’d blackmail me into going back. That they would try to kill me, masking it as a suicide.

‘Why would they try to kill you?’

‘Because I know their secrets,’ I told him.

And I do know their secrets. Not all of them, that’s true. But enough. Maybe not enough to bring down the church, but fracture it at least.

The problem, of course, is that they know my secrets, too. And to be honest there’s a greater chance of me being fucked over by my secrets then they will be by theirs.

KOOL-AID: we met in camden

we met in camden

Right. I think I’m ready to talk about him. Don’t even know what to call him. Him? Dickhead? Wanker? Fuckhead? All a bit harsh. Especially because I don’t know if I think he’s a dickhead or fuckhead or anything else derogatory. Don’t know how I feel about him. Changes every day. Every hour. Every minute. Sometimes I do think about him every minute. Sometimes I don’t think about him for days. Sometimes am angry. Sometimes am sad. Not happy. Guess that should give me a clue about how I feel about him. Can hardly remember the happy times.

We met in Camden. Mum and I had just moved there from Australia after she and my father divorced. Admittedly, was a bit vicious back then. Angry. Afflicted. Fuck the world and everything in it. Except Mum. I was a shit but I respected my mum.

She didn’t argue with my smoking. Twelve years old and she let me do it. Didn’t make her a bad mother. Was just an argument she couldn’t be bothered having. If I could buy them, I could smoke them.

And people sold me cigarettes because I looked eighteen. Was the boobs, I think. No one would expect a fourteen year old to have boobs that big.

He would be there. Same time of day, same time of week. Dark eyes, dark hair, half mob, half teddy boy. Gorgeous.

We didn’t speak for maybe two weeks. Just looks and smiles.

And then he spoke, and that was it. I knew he was older than me, but I didn’t know how much older he was at the time. Just older. And yes, my ego swelled at the thought of an older man, an adult, fancying me.

So yes, a lot of things happened that shouldn’t have happened so early in my life. Mum knew it. Is why Mum didn’t like him. Slimy, she called him.

She tried her best to keep us apart. She was unsuccessful. He hated Mum for it. And when Mum died, he blamed her. Honest to goodness. Because Mum dying meant I had to go back to Australia. Because I was underage. He said Mum died on purpose to keep us apart.

That time in Australia was horrible, fucking horrible. I’d lost my mum, yes, but all I could think about was him, and how he was back in London free to do whatever he liked, while I was stuck under my dad’s thumb.

He did do what he liked. I found out, of course. And it crushed me. Because he said it would always just be us. That we would go to the moon to be alone. Just the two of us.

And that fucker had ruined it. But it wasn’t his fault. I’d left him alone there in London. So I got him back, resulting in my father calling me a ‘fucking slut’. Sixteen years old and I was out of there. Booked a ticket with his credit card and flew back to London on my own. Lived in old flat I shared with Mum on my own.

Met Gruff. My surrogate father. In his own way, he took care of me. And life got better. I had a career, was doing well.

And then he came back.

And because I know no better. because loved him desperately, because I thought I couldn’t live without him, I took him back.

That was it. Joined at the hip. Desperately together.

Until we weren’t.

Loving him was my first drug. Drugs were my second. The church was my third drug.

What about now? Have I gone cold turkey then? Will I relapse if he came again? Would he ever come again? Would he find me here? Do I want him to find me here? I don’t know. I just don’t know.

KOOL-AID: am I like her?

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There’s this chick. Ex-member of cult. Am interested in shit like that. Am interested in other people who have also been caught up in cults. Guess it makes me feel better. Am not alone. Am not the only fool. Am not the only dickhead out there.

But not this woman. This woman makes me feel like all I’m doing here is wrong and selfish.

See this chick, and I have to give her credit, she’s clever. Very good with social media. As in, prolific. Facebook, Instagram. All these things, of course, are practically a mystery to me. Was at the church during the rise of social media, so has been interesting seeing it all since getting out.

Have been on a lot of social media sites lately, because a lot of the cult stories can be found there.

Anyway, this one woman — she’s on a crusade of some kind. The poster child for the ex-cult member. She’s a pretty girl, too. Am not saying this is why she has such a following. I’m not. Everything this girl does, she documents. Going to the beach for the first time since leaving the church — a picture of her in a bikini looking fabulous. First time going ice skating — picture. Fabulous. Lighting candle at church — wearing a shawl and all — picture. Fabulous.

She has a website, too. Fancy one. Much nicer then my blog. Am not jealous. No. Not jealous. She sells merchandise. Hashtag I got out. Hashtag I’m free. And she’s doing speaking tours! By the looks of things, she’s making a lot of money from  being an ex-cult member. Probably not a lot of money. But enough.

On one side am thinking, who can blame her? Probably would have left with nothing. Deserves to make herself a living.

But on the other hand, it makes me feel a little uncomfortable. Is it okay to make money off of this? To gain popularity from this? It just, to me, seems a little disingenuous.

So it makes me wonder what the hell I’m doing. Am I the same? Because I am doing this for selfish reasons. Is my escape. Is my therapy. Doesn’t make me any better, though. Makes me feel a little fucked up in the head, if am honest.

Just for the record, though, you’re not going to see my face. And you are certainly not going to see me in a bikini. Cripes, no. Nobody deserves that.

KOOL-AID: trip to the village

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Cannot believe I ran out of cigarettes. Well. Can. Because I did. Had that panic I remember getting when me and him ran out of drugs. The absolute horrifying panic of being sober. No, no, no, no. Did not want to feel normal again. Did not want all the shit in my head to come out from under the drug-duvet. Well, okay, was not that bad, but bad enough. Cigarettes is all I have. And you can’t fucking order them online, which is shite. So had no choice. Walked down to village hoping that 1) village shop would be open, 2) they sold cigarettes and 3) they took bank cards.

Fuck me drunk, that place.

Looks like the kind of shop you see on The Walking Dead (current binge show) which hasn’t been open since the zombie apocalypse and has been long-stripped of all useful goods.

Has one of those old-fashioned bells on the door. The one that strikes fear into your heart when you hear it. Fuck. Here comes the murderer. That kind of thing.

Extremely dark inside. Owner of village shop not a fan of bright fluorescent lighting.

By the door there is one of those old bread trolley shelf things. On wheels. But this one is all rusted and bare, apart from one single loaf of bread which may or may not have been out of date.

On the shelves there was a variety of mismatched cars. Different types of beans, mostly. A packet of Hob Nobs, packet of Digestives. Guess you’re one or the other.

Almost didn’t notice the lady behind the counter. She just kind of blended into the background. Olive green walls, olive green pinny. She was staring at me with suspicion. Mousy grey eyes wondering who the fuck I was, and hating herself for not knowing.

She had glasses on a chain around her neck, and had to put them on to read the note on my screen I put in front of her.

‘Don’t think I have a carton of those,’ she said. ‘You can’t talk then?’

Shook head. No, no. No talking. Typed on phone: would have all cigarettes she had. All.

Ended up with three cartons worth, all different varieties. A lucky dip of cigarettes.

Shop lady bagged them up in what was clearly a second-hand bag. But could not care less — just wanted out of there. Got to door, opened it. Made the ridiculous tinkling sound. Shop lady spoke.
‘You’d be the one living in the gatehouse then. Interesting, that is.’

Couldn’t even rebuke it. Am topic of gossip. And why is it interesting?

Although, when I think about it, back in the day, Landlord’s home would have lorded it over the village folk. Maybe even literally. Back then there probably would have been a ‘us and them’ mentality. Guess it’s still that way for some folks.

All for cigarettes. Was worth it.

KOOLAID: silver lining

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I’m still here. Some of you were kind enough to message me. Yes, yes, am still alive. Just haven’t really feel like writing.

No other feeling someone has been in the cottage, but then, I wonder if have been looking too hard.

Last Thursday, when I cam home, I couldn’t fathom staying alone here in the cottage. Like Kismet, Policeman texted me. Did I want to have dinner at his house?

To be honest, didn’t really want to. Am not sure why. Was it what Landlord had said? Hoped not. What would it matter if they had a history? But then, needed human contact. Having closeness. Feeling the touch of another without cringing.

Walked to Policeman’s farmhouse, after making dinner for Landlord.

I do that now. Am a right little home maker. Go and check on Landlord in the morning. Make him a salad or sandwich for lunch. At night, I cook him dinner. He no longer objects. We sit down, we eat together, often in silence, we clean up together, and then I leave. Later, I go back to Landlord’s house. Don’t worry; I’ll fill you in on that a little later.

So Thursday night I made him dinner, left, returned home, brushed hair, and walked to farmhouse.

A proper farmhouse. Stone. Rugged. No eves. Slate roof. Lots of out-buildings. Chickens.

The house is snug, warm and lovely. We had pasta and salad. Policeman offered me wine, but I didn’t take it. Was never a drinker, apart from time I was a drug taker, and then would drink and do whatever it is I could do to keep the high going. (Smoking. Definitely smoking).

Dinner a little awkward because of the silence. Not talking yet in front of Policeman. Not sure why. So was almost relieved when dinner was over and we collapsed onto the settee, arms tangled, legs entwined. Yes, yes, we fucked. More than once.

And was blissful. Firstly — he’s incredibly sexy. Insanely sexy. Policeman doesn’t talk a lot. He’s like Landlord in that respect.

We fell asleep on the couch. At some point policeman woke me up and took me through to his bedroom. Was colder than the kitchen/lounge, but snuggled up with Policeman, so was warm and comfortable.

Woke up early so could go and check on Landlord. Was nice evening, but most of all was nice to sleep knowing would be safe.

Wanted to be safe Friday night, too. And Saturday night, and Sunday. But couldn’t rely on Policeman for that. Is a bit bunny-boiler if I rock up every night expecting to stay the night. Would be coming off too strong.

Have a key to Landlord’s house, though. Big house with cosy kitchen; always warm from the fire.

Yes. Have been sleeping there. All a bit difficult, really. Have been doing a lot of walking. Do the dinner, clean up, go back home, wait around for a couple of hours, on edge, before walking back to house, letting self into the kitchen and sleeping on the couch. Fucking comfortable couch. Set alarm on phone, wake up at seven, leave house (walking through the woods so won’t be seen on drive by Landlord), have a shower, and am back at the house by nine to check on Landlord.

Must say, is exhausting. But perhaps may loose some weight over all of this. Silver lining and all of that.

KOOL-AID: somebody’s been sleeping in my bed

Well, not really. Certainly hope not. But, yeah, someone’s been in my house.

Came home and just had that feeling. Everything looked the same. Nothing out of place. But you know, something was off.Was it on a smell? Am not sure. Because then was trying to think what cottage was supposed to smell like.

It was just a feeling. Was it paranoia? See, I didn’t think so. Hairs were standing on end.
Am not going to lie. Am scared shitless.

They’ve found me.

KOOL-AID: and so i speak

Now I understand the fear of that poor nurse trying to wake me when I had concussion as a kid.

I failed last night. Fell asleep in the armchair next to Landlord’s bed. Woke to the sound of my alarm. Suspected it had been going for a while.

Looked over to Landlord — had kept the lamp on hoping it would keep me awake — he was sleeping. Peacefully. A little too peacefully.

Shook his shoulders. This had worked the previous hour. But not this one. I shook, and shook, and he would not wake. A petrifying fear filled me. What if he didn’t wake? What if he died? Would it be my fault? Should I have forced him to go to the hospital?

Realised there were tears coming down my cheeks as I shook Landlord again and again, violently. I didn’t want him to die. 

Finally, as a last resort, properly crying, I called out his name. My voice croaked, sounding foreign. Wrong. I tried again, louder, more forceful, trying desperately to find the voice I haven’t used for so very long.

His eyes opened in confusion, and then surprise. He frowned at me. Realised we were very close — I was leaning over him, hands on his shoulders, looking down into his face.

‘You spoke,’ he said simply.

Stayed leaning over him, making sure he was actually awake, not dreaming; having some out-of-body experience.

Nodded, and sat back down. Landlord turned in bed to face me.

‘Have you spoken to him?’ He asked.

Didn’t know who he was talking about. Him, as in the ex? No.

He said the policeman’s name. Shook my head, but was confused. How did Landlord know about me and the policeman? 

‘I went to visit you. But he was there.’

He was terribly sad about this. But sad in a resigned way. As if he expected it.

I shook head, but didn’t know what was shaking head at.

Landlord leaned over. Took hand. A very intimate gesture. Said to me — ‘I have a history with ______. I don’t think we would ever be able to erase it. But he is not a bad person. However much I despise him, he is not a bad person.’

I did not know what to say to Landlord. Wasn’t sure I was ready to say anything at all. Talking? I still don’t want to. But the words have escaped — there’s no way of taking them back.

So I said — ‘I don’t want to talk to anyone else yet.’

Landlord nodded. Smiled a little. 

We got through to this morning. Landlord’s head is still aching, but he was able to shower, change, and settle in front of the TV by the fire, which I successfully restarted.

I went home, showered, changed, and took a few moments to myself. But I have come back to the house. Not ready to leave Landlord alone just yet.

 

I haven’t spoken again since last night but am open to speaking again. If is important enough. Am still quite wary of using my words.

my uterus thanks you

Why hello!

Currently, I am suffering through the bloody mess which is my period.

Yes, that’s right. I just mentioned the ‘p’ word. As a woman, we’re not supposed to, right?

Yet, as a woman who bleeds like a murder victim several times a month (yup, you heard me right), it’s part of my life, and so I shall discuss.

You would think being a depression anxiety sufferer would be hard enough to deal with, but, oh no, I have the added joy of dealing with the dreaded endometriosis.

And I know a lot of people are talking about having endometriosis. It’s all the rage right now. But hey, I had it before it was cool.

Sixteen years old and wondering to self if your monthly visitor is really supposed to be this painful. And should you really bleed this much?

I think not. Visit to doctors. The pill was prescribed. This was 1996 people. In a country town. Male doctors didn’t know what endometriosis was. Thought we were a punch of pussy women who couldn’t handle a few little ‘cramps.’

Cramps. What an innocuous term. Is like a cough. Nothing serious, just something you must suffer.

They’re not cramps, okay? They are fucking knife-turning, bent-over-in-pain, bowel-twisting contractions of agony which can barely be described. The kind of sensation you get when, I don’t know, you are about to DIE! The kind of pain which leaves you vomiting. Which leaves you bent down on the kitchen floor, unable to get up because you can’t bloody move for the pain. (This actually happened. Mr Thomas found me hanging out on the kitchen floor over the weekend. In truth, it was kind of nice down there. Was the most comfortable I’ve been all week.)

But anyway, I digress. I went to the doctor as a sixteen year old, and prescribed the pill. Went home, coy, worried my catholic father would have a heart attack knowing his sixteen year old daughter was on the pain. But, instead, an unemotional shrug and the question of whether it will help.

We’ll see Dad, we’ll see.

And it did. For a while. Fast forward a lifetime later, with a few surgeries under my belt and gallons of blood, and I’m no better.

I’m probably worse. And debating with myself whether or not going back for more surgery will actually be worth it. In truth, can’t be arsed with the weeks of convalescing, and then there’s the whole bowel prep before hand.

Which is a nightmare in itself. But am not really up for thinking about it at the moment. Cannot be arsed.

So that’s my current tale of woe. Which may not be current as I’m going to schedule this post to fit in around Kool-Aid.

What I really wanted to come here to say was thank you to all of you who came and saw, liked and commented on my Kool-Aid posts. Is much appreciated.

My uterus thanks you.

KOOL-AID: the fall

Normal Tuesday. Arrival of cleaners in their shiny white van. Me, online reading retched, retched stories of former church and wishing I could turn back time to not attend that party where we met that abominable human being who got us both into this mess. Yes. Both. Even though I have seen the light, I still feel bad for him. Was always week. Without will power. They’ve got him by the balls and he doesn’t even know it.

Two things happened. Mechanical gates opened. Just opened. Not closed. And was not proceeded by the exit of the cleaning van, or any other vehicle.

Went back to online scouting, anger burning in a pit of stomach.

Heard distance sound of ambulance. Thought to self — huh. Have not heard ambulance here in country. Which took me back to days in London. Constant sounds of sirens; a city melody.

Noticed, through reverie, that sound of ambulance getting louder. As in, closer.

And yes, before I knew it, inside of cottage was lit up by red and blue lights. Van passed my window, sirens deadened, ambulance slowed. And passed through the gates.

Burnt stomach flooded with fear. Mortified. Something had happened to Landlord.

Thankfully had just been outside for cigarette — shoes were already on. And, by a stroke of luck had put bra on this morning. Is a rarity these days. What is point of putting on bra when you’re not even leaving house? But shoes and bra meant I could run the moment I saw ambulance.

Crashed at the back of the cottage, across field, and climbed over fence. Driveway is most direct root. Ran faster than have run in a long, long time. One of the ambulance drivers was getting gear out of van. Other, evidently, all ready inside. Door was open.

Rushed in.

Foyer full of people. Three cleaners, ambulance driver, and Landlord. He was on floor, at the base of the stairs; hair ruffled. Ambulance man was bent over, holding a finger out for Landlord to follow.

The other paramedic moved passed me with a bag, and together the two men started working on the Landlord. They were checking the back of his head.

‘Just a little cut. Not worth any stitches. Will have a bit of an egg, though.’

Next was his wrist. He’d sprained it, but not broken it. His knee was swollen again, just bruised.

I was standing there, next to the large guided mirror, unnoticed by everyone for quite a while. Until Landlord spotted me. Gave me the weakest smile.

Discussions between paramedic and staff. They’d found Landlord at the bottom of the stairs, out cold when they arrived. Think that was the moment I started to feel sick. Had it not been Tuesday, Landlord would have stayed there for days. I certainly had no intention of going to see him. He could have died. Could have started to decompose before anyone noticed. Why? Because he’s alone. And yet, he doesn’t have to be. Here I am, at the bottom of his drive. Am so self-absorbed, I’ve not even had the thought of going to visit my Parkinson’s suffering neighbour.

Officers started talking about whether Landlord was able to walk to ambulance, or if the should get the stretcher.

Landlord was resisting. No. He did not want to go to hospital. Was fine. No need.

‘Mate, you’re concussed,’ the first paramedic said. ‘Have to take you in to be monitored at least.’

When Landlord continued to shake his head, he was told that if he fell asleep, he might wake up. ‘If you had someone living with you who could monitor you, fair enough. But you live alone, mate.’

Could tell, despite everything, the use of the term ‘mate’ was grating Landlord. Could never introduce him to my father, then.

With a tilt of the head Landlord acquiesced. I stepped forward. Surely, surely, I could be of some use?

‘I couldn’t ask you to do that,’ Landlord said, surprising everyone. Took me a moment to realise was because I had said nothing, so they all thought Landlord was talking nonsense.

Raised eyebrows at Landlord in meaningful way.

‘Very well,’ he conceded.

Paramedic turned to me. Was given instructions. Was to keep him awake. Set an alarm for every hour on the hour. Ice his knee and wrist. Be prepared for vomiting. There’d be a lot of vomiting.

I, of course, knew all of this. Have been concussed myself. Hit on head with cricket ball as child. Spent evening in hospital being shaken awake by frantic nurses every hour. Would dream of people calling out to me, waking to find wide-eyed nurses shaking me by the shoulders.

After taping of knee, head and ankle, the paramedics were satisfied all was well and we all helped Landlord to the downstairs bedroom.

Left one of the cleaners — small one who had visited me at the cottage — with Landlord. Paramedics dropped me off home so could get supplies. Change of clothes given I’d be at the main house overnight, phone so could communicate better with Landlord and for the alarm. Also, and I know this is cheeky, I grabbed my washing, too. A book. My laptop. Two packets of cigarettes. In my defence, looking after Landlord would mean staying awake for twenty-four hours. Needed something to keep me awake.

Which meant copies amounts of coffee. Started intake of caffeine the moment arrived back at the house. Landlord has a Nespresso machine. Enough said.

Popped head in spare room. Landlord awake? Yes, yes, all is well.

Popped clothes in washing machine, weaving around cleaners who were moving around the kitchen with stunning efficiency. Was almost like a dance, watching them work.

Popped back into bedroom. Landlord awake? Yes, yes, all is well.

Pointed iPhone at Landlord with question on screen, asking where his  phone was. Bedroom, he said.

Cleaners had already been in the room. Air smelt fresh, deodorised, had diagonal hoover lines.

Yes, have been in bedroom before. For the dinner-making debacle. Took in what I could on that night, yes, but not everything. Like the gilded tray on drawers. Meant for the odd bits and pieces men extract from their pockets at the end of the day. Wallets, notes, coins, receipts, bits of fluff, butter menthols and other suchlike. Imagine having to go through that routine every night. Thank goodness we women have handbags. Mind you, am sure it is not a routine Landlord completes daily. There’s no need for him to carry around a wallet when he barely leaves the house. To be honest, there’s no need for him to have a mobile when he has no one to call. Perhaps he enjoys playing Candy Crush.

Anyway. Next to this tray. Small, quite insignificant (but perhaps significant in its small size) a picture frame.

A stunning dark-eyed beauty with waves of luxurious brown hair.

Interesting. Landlord has once loved.

Returned downstairs with phone and charger. Cleaners departing. Shake of the head. No, no, there is nothing else you can do for me.

Back in the spare room. Landlord okay? No. Not all well. Had vomited all over sheets. Blasted concussion. Why does it make you vomit so much?

Landlord humiliated. Could tell was more than just his current situation. Was looking into his future. Have been researching it myself. Up until now the only example of Parkinson’s I’ve had is Michael J Fox. Landlord in for a rough time of it. Increasing tremors, plant-foot (where feet will become rooted to the floor, unable to move) depression, anxiety, sexual dysfunction and dementia. The fall, I expect, is bringing it all home to him.

Despite my rejections (ie; slapping his hands away) Landlord helped me change the sheets. Put them in the wash — my own were dry; waiting to be folded.

Vomiting continued — I gave Landlord a bucket which I found in the laundry. Wondered if this was the designated vomit bucket. Had one when I was small. Was only ever brought out when I was poorly and had no other use. Was orange, small, and had a handle on the side. Like a measuring jug but without the sprout.

Made toast for dinner. Did not want to give Landlord anything which would disrupt his stomach. On one, the tiniest bit of jam to get some sugar into his system.

He is yet to vomit it up.

I found him pyjamas for this evening. Like an idiot I unbuttoned the shirt, thinking it would make it easier for him to put it on but when I went back in the room, finding him lying there with his chest on display, I remembered too late that he can’t manage the buttons. Tried my best to do up the shirt without my knuckles brushing against his skin. Impossible. Landlord just as uncomfortable with the process as I was — pulling up the duvet to cover himself for some semblance of dignity.

Alarms set. Am ready for the evening. I think it will be  a long one.

my cat, my life, my kool-aid

You poor, patient bastards.

Yes, thanks for hanging on.

The next instalment of Almost Drank the Kool-Aid is coming. I promise.

I don’t even have the excuse of not writing. Because all of it is done. Well. The ones I’m going to post on giorgethomas.com are done (insert winking emoji here).

So they’re coming, they’re coming.

Not caught up with Kool-Aid? Then make sure you’re up to date! Is quite easy. Look up. No, not to the ceiling. Cripes. To the top menu. Yes, yes, that’s it. You’ll see all that malarky there. You can buy my books (please do), ready my poetry (I’m a poet, you know), and also, yes, catch up on Almost Drank the Kool-Aid. For those of you who need extra direction, it’s the menu titled Kool-Aid.

Right then. So, catch up, and then you’ll be all up to date, ready for my next post. And you know it’s going to get juicy. Really juicy.

Apologies for not being around. Life. Depression. All that shit. But I’m here, and I’ve missed you guys.

I’d love to say I’d promise to stick around, but let’s face it, I’m not really good at the whole commitment thing. Actually, no, that is a lie. Me and Mr Thomas have been together thirteen years. If that’s not commitment, I don’t know what is.

In other news, my sole-surviving cat, Martini, turns nineteen this week. She’s the one you can see in my header image. Let’s hope I’m not jinxing the poor thing by posting this. She’s only got a couple of days to go. But nineteen. Shit, man, that’s an innings, don’t you think? I’ve known this moody bitch of a cat longer than most people. She still doesn’t like me, but I must be doing something right. I was nineteen when I got her (you do the maths) and she’s been through all the bullshit with me. ALL the bullshit. So, you know, it’s a bit of an achievement we’ve both survived it all, to be honest.

So anyway, yes. Back to Kool-Aid. It’s coming at you this week. If you’re not subscribed, do it now, and that way you won’t miss out.

Also — I know when I’m posting stories there’s not much to comment on, but I do love hearing from you all, so even if it’s just a ‘hey’, feel free to comment. It gives me a special tingle every time I see one of your comments pop up.

Right then. See you back here tomorrow with another instalment of Almost Drank the Kool-Aid!

Turns out I like mine with a side of fuckery.

Yes, yes. You’re probably all thinking is a bit sluttish of me. But has been a long time since have done fuckery of any sort. Admittedly, has been a long time since have wanted to. Depression and imprisonment tends to take urges away from you.

Perhaps could have had some fuckery while at the base. Did tend to go on in secret. Not so secret, obviously, as I knew of it. But for me, no one there were important enough to risk it. And could not desire any of the men there, anyway. Devoted. Couldn’t deal with the devoted.

So yes. Policeman turns up, eyes with that look men have. Obvious eyes.

And you know what? Is nice being desired. Has been so very long.

Don’t really want to think about how old he is. Cripes, is probably fifty. Would have to be, if his familiarity with Landlord is any gage. It’s a vintage bitterness between those two. A bitterness which has been aged for many a year.

Has nothing to do with me.

Is interesting what happens when you don’t talk. None of that bullshit chit-chat.

Fifteen minutes, I reckon. Fifteen minutes and we were in my bed, me trying desperately to remember how it all worked.

Was glorious to have a man on top of me, I can tell you. A large, hulking man. Broad shouldered. Tall.

He wasn’t tall. Was barely taller than me. And I’m tiny. (Let’s be clear. Am tiny in height. Not size. Just in case anyone thinks am living in la-la land.)

So the policeman was different. A little passive. You know, feathery. All light touches and tenderness. Fuck that.

Well, I did.

The policeman didn’t leave. Was thankful. Afterwards, he made me an omelet. A bit bare, given my waitrose shopping list is sans vegetables.

We ate by the fire, we watched television, we sat out the back steps as I smoked. We went to bed.

Was glorious, because could sleep. Felt protected. Muscular man, Policeman. Would surely defend me against anyone.

And I feel better for it. All of it. The sleep. The sex. Having company for the entire night. Was even worth the awkward morning-after.

When he left, Policeman asked if he could come again. Nodded yes, but if truth be told, am not quite sure whether I do want him to come again. Some times things are nice if they only happen once. Sometimes sequels are shit.

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