giorge thomas

KOOL-AID: checkmate

When I was young, my dad taught me how to play chess. In his usual style, though, he only explained half of what I needed to know before we launched into our first game. Whether out of impatience or because he wanted to win, am not sure. Any how, it wasn’t long before I was pawn-less, castle-less, down one bishop and both knights. A triumphant look spread across my father’s face and he moved his queen across the board, declaring, ‘check mate!’

Thought it weird. While overly Australian, my dad had never used the term ‘mate’ with me. Was reserved for his friends and associates. Remember having to listen to long-winded phone conversations pepped frequently with the word mate.

How’re ya doing mate, what’s going on mate, look, mate — that kind of thing. But to call his daughter mate? Never had happened before. Perhaps was his competitive nature coming out. Perhaps was his way of trying to man me up. He would have preferred, after all, if I had been a boy.

But no. Was a chess term. Revealed to me after much histrionics. Am pretty sure ‘checkmate’ is something which should have been revealed to me at the start of the game, no?

Checkmate. You win. You have your opponents king.

They have won. Because now am stuck.

They’ve done their usual thing. They know where I am and have back-checked everything. They know things I don’t. But they only want me to know part of it. They want to scare me.


Yes, I’m talking about the church.

There is a reason for all of this. Came home today, opening my door to a folded note on the floor, slotted through the letterbox.

As soon as saw it; stomach dropped. Knew, just knew it would be something bad.

And it is.

Note was handwritten:

Your neighbour is a murderer.

My neighbour is a what-now? A murderer? Really? What. The. Fuck.

Quite frankly, am in shock. Obviously, because have smoked an entire packet of cigarettes. I mean, I enjoyed smoking the entire packet of cigarettes, but that is not the case.

Am on knife-edge.

Because — who the fuck are they talking about? Have two neighbours. Yes, have link to both of them. Cripes alive, have kissed both of them. Have shagged one of them.

But here’s the thing (and have had time to think rationally, which, to be honest, I have found amazing): it can’t possibly be policeman. Because can’t be policeman if is a murderer. Is something they check, is it not?

Which would mean is Landlord. The man I’ve been spending all my time with. Now there’s a scary thought.

Not that I’m scared. Okay, I am, but am trying, — trying — to be rational. Church could be lying. Could be, simply, a scare tactic.

But do, of course, have to think (rationally!) if is not a scare tactic. If is actually true.

Where does that put me? Am I at risk? And it just goes to show you don’t know, you just don’t know who people really are.

But if someone is a murderer, would they not be in jail? Have done quick Google search on the matter. According to Wikipedia (and let’s face it, I couldn’t be arsed reading the whole article) murderer’s don’t always get life in prison. Sometime’s are out in 12 years.

Now. Going on whole time-line of things — Landlord would have had to commit this act (hate thinking of him and the ‘m’ word) before I met him. The first time. Because otherwise would still be in prison. So this is something which would have to of happened in his twenties. Although, what the fuck does it matter when it happened?

I just, I just can’t get my head around it. Is so weird! The man is so reserved! Imagine he would be the type that when massive crisis happening, like house on fire, he’d walk in and go, ‘ah, yes, well. Luckily we have insurance. Let’s see if we can still pop the kettle on, then, yes?’ I mean, when all that shit was going on with me, is exactly what he did! Popped the kettle on. And now, when I think about it, when I came back from the hospital, he hasn’t mentioned my episode at all. Keep calm and carry on, as they say.

So to get worked up enough to kill someone? It just doesn’t fit him. It just doesn’t.

Maybe there’s another neighbour. Maybe refers to someone in the village. Would not be surprised. A cesspool of secrets, that place.

See? This is exactly what that fecking church wants me to be doing — going out of my mind with worry.

I could ask Gruff. He would know, surely, if something was up with Landlord? But then, he would never have let me come here if he did. And if I say anything, he’ll just worry. He’ll act all gruff and pretend he’s not worried, but he totally would. Honestly, I love that man.

Right. Here’s the plan. I’m not going to worry. I’m not going to do anything. Yet. Except maybe smoke another half pack of cigarettes. And sleep with a knife under my pillow.

The real worry, though? The church has found me.


KOOL-AID: taking a stroll

Things are companionable between Landlord and I. And quiet. Like a magnet, am drawn to the house every day, sitting down to lunch in silence, returning home, and then back to the main house for dinner.

Am enjoying cooking. Is the freedom of it, I think. But also, feel as though am doing a proper good thing in cooking. Have been doing a lot of research on what’s best to eat when you have Parkinson’s, and have been incorporating these foods into the meals I cook.

On Monday I got my stitches out. Landlord’s doctor visited the house. Ruddy old man. Knows Landlord well. We talked a lot. Checking to see if am okay. If am doing well on the lithium. Told him I felt like living under water. He said that yes, it can feel a little bit like that. But is probably better under water than living on a tight rope. Yes. Quite.

Bought Landlord on electric razor online. Even with his tremors he can use it safely and keep his clean shaven appearance. Though he does admit to being warmer with the beard.

Every afternoon, before the light fades, Landlord takes a walk around the property. Even if it’s raining. Exercise is important for his condition. Yet by Landlord’s physique you can tell exercise has always been important to him.

Today I joined Landlord on his stroll. Had stayed in the house after lunch, helping Landlord with some of his work, when he asked if I wanted to join him.

Being around Landlord is no longer a concern. It isn’t awkward. It’s not really pleasant; it just is what it is. We hardly talk or converse, we’re just together. Think it’s all that has happened. Personal emotional stuff we’re both witnessed in the other. No longer a need to be embarrassed or uncomfortable — it’s all been laid bare.

Landlord took me to the west side of the property, a side I have not been before. Now when I say west, it probably isn’t west. Have no idea what actual direction it is. Just feel good saying ‘west’ as if know what I’m talking about. I don’t. Clearly. Any way, is the left side of the property.

A lot more trees on the west side. Almost like a full-on forrest. The air is thick with the scent of sodden leaves; musty and sweet. Landlord took me along the edge of the property, bordered by a tall stone fence. You can hear the sounds of traffic coming from the other side. Enough cars for it to be an A road.

We saw a lot of wildlife on our walk. Dozens of squirrels. Rabbits. A deer. Several pheasant-type birds. Not sure if are actual pheasants but are large and not chickens and therefore fall into the ‘pheasant-type’ family.

So we’re walking and it registers with me that this might be my life now. I might very well be spending the rest of my days walking around this vast estate, eating meals with a man I’m quietly comfortable with and not returning to the life I once lived in London. I would never have a career. I wouldn’t marry and have children. And I’ve had to ask myself if I’m okay with that. If this is it, if this is what my life will consist of, will that make me happy?

It’s a difficult thing to answer, yet the response has to be yes. I have to be content with this life because this time last year I was stuck in a life which was so terrible, so destructive, I thought the only way out of it was to not live at all. This time last year I was facing yet another dismal Christmas. It was celebrated in my church, yes. But when you lived on base, there wasn’t much of a celebration.

Not that I imagine I’ll have much of a celebration this Christmas, either. I expect Landlord and I will have a meal of some sort together — we do every other day. But then, might he want to be alone Christmas day? Leaving me, therefore, alone? It is a possibility. Maybe I should think about ordering a turkey roll for myself. And one lone Christmas cracker. Cripes, that’s sad.

KOOL-AID: it’s okay. am not dead

It was what I guess you would call “an episode.” Have read the two posts I made that day and can see may have been obvious to you folks reading this. The dribble!

It got a lot worse. Has been a long while since have been like this. Church will say is because they were helping me but in all honesty think was so depressed my manic side had no air to breathe.

Went to Policeman’s just as I said I would. He wasn’t home but took me a long time to figure that out. Knocking on glass kitchen door for ages, probably screaming out his name though I don’t remember. At some point the glass on his door broke and my hand was soon covered in blood but didn’t notice it — just saw it as a sign to leave.

Didn’t notice how wasn’t dressed for weather, either. Had gone to Landlord’s home and Policeman’s in a singlet.

When arrived back at the cottage Landlord was there; panicked. Saw my hand and panicked some more. Think I yelled and screamed at him. Okay. Know I did. He was trying to get me, the bloody mess, to go inside the cottage with him. I yelled it was just to get me inside to fuck me. Yup. I did that.

He managed to get me on the settee and wrapped a towel around my bleeding arm. Said he fancied a tea and went off to the kitchen to make one. Was gone ages. I lit a cigarette, not caring my landlord was in the house with me as I did so.

He’d made me coffee and brought our two cups in, setting them on the coffee table. Sat next to me. At which point I was like, ah, yeah, I’ll fuck you then, go on. I tried to kiss him. Greatly affronted when he turned me down. But then he said we’ll have our tea and coffee first and then we’ll have sex. Which I thought was fair enough.

And then, to my surprise, Policeman turns up. And you know, he and Landlord were perfectly cordial. Was weird. Apologised to Policeman for breaking his window. He said was fine. Asked to take a look at my arm, saying he thought I needed stitches. Landlord was in agreement.

‘Why don’t we just nip to the hospital and get it looked at?’ He said.

‘Oh, no,’ I told him, (and seriously, this is what I said) ‘after my coffee Landlord and I are going to fuck.’

Now. Think through all of this was actually calling Landlord, Landlord and Policeman, Policeman; instead of their actual, real-life names.

Anyway, the two of them exchange looks and Landlord tells me he’s happy to wait for when I come back.

And then I — the horrors — I say to Policeman, as I agree to leave with him, ‘Is fine, I’ll come with you to the hospital. Landlord probably can’t get it up anyway. He has Parkinson’s.’ Said all of this in a mock whisper.

Policeman looked at Landlord. Landlord nodded.

Was whisked away into police vehicle. After much demanding, he sounded the sirens for me.

Is about twenty minutes to nearest A&E. Good thing wasn’t dying.

Lovely young doctor; Indian, much, much dialogue about cricket. Am so racist, assuming every Indian is a cricket fan. Though this one was, luckily. Thing I regained tale of my crush on Sachin Tendulkar and how was convinced we would be married until realised there was a whole race/religion issue neither one of us could over come. Think I made it sound like we dated or something. FYI — we didn’t. But, you know, there was flirting.

Doctor put six neat little stitches in my arm. When he left another doctor turns up and I just knew, knew by the look of her what she was and I started screaming how it was against my religion to see a psychiatrist. The whole restraining thing happened, and like a scene from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, was given a big fat needle in my bum and everything went dark.

Was in hospital for three days. Dosed up on sedatives and lithium.

Guess am very lucky not to have been committed. Think Policeman had something to do with it.

Policeman visited me.

Landlord visited me.

Heck, even Gruff visited me. Landlord called him after I’d turned up at his house las Friday. Gruff gave him my history.

Was a risk for Gruff to come and see me, but, as he said, the church didn’t know was in hospital and then, wouldn’t know which.

Despite all that happened, no sympathy from Gruff. Not the sympathy kind. ‘Was expected, though, don’t you think? Would have been a fool if you thought you wouldn’t have another episode again.’

Yes, thank you, Gruff.

When was time to leave hospital, was Policeman who picked me up. He took me to Landlord’s. And again, very odd how cordial the two men were. Thought they hated one another but there they were, in the same room, Landlord asking Policeman if he would like tea, though was politely declined.

Stayed two days with Landlord. Policeman visited me there. We took a walk through the grounds — the terraces and fields at the back of the manor which I have not seen before.

Almost expected the conversation. Is weird — now that we can finally converse verbally, there’s no need to do it.

Policeman told me I was beautiful, lovely, etc, etc. But with what I had been through — not just this week, but the last few years — wasn’t right for me to be in a relationship.

Couldn’t be angry with him. Understood it. Am too much trouble to be with. And am not saying that to be down on self. Is just fact. Am complicated and, well, damaged. Have the sense by the way Policeman spoke that he’s had enough difficulty in his life. There’s a sadness I noticed that haven’t before.

When I said to Landlord I wanted to come home, he didn’t object.

Have done a lot of sleeping, but is normal after an episode. At present I just feel kind of numb. Am not sure if is the lithium — has been so long since have been on it.

Dear Landlord — am supposed to be looking after him but lately it’s been the opposite. Wonder if he regrets agreeing to have me stay. Have been nothing but trouble since I arrived.

KOOL-AID: apparently am odd

Went to house and said to Landlord that was not going to fuck him and he said to me that was acting weird and we had a huge argument about it. Treated me like was mental patient. Kept saying name is quiet, soothing tone. Was fucking ridiculous. I mean, who the fuck does he think he is talking to me like that. Fuck him. Of course am now bored. May go see if Policeman is home.

KOOL-AID: does he want to f**k me?

I mean, is only obvious reason, yes? Why else would he touch me? Am not saying am gorgeous or anything like that, am not irresistible but am only woman available so maybe he thought would try his luck.

Don’t want to fuck him, though. Am already fucking Policeman so don’t need to fuck Landlord, too. Doesn’t matter that he’s handsome and all. Would be too weird anyway. Will be weird enough today when I got to help out after all the knee touching. Maybe I should tell him when I go up there today. Thought of not going up there but can’t avoid going there just because Landlord stroked my knee.

Yes. Will tell him. Is only right. Will say straight out I don’t want to fuck him.

KOOL-AID: the dream

So I had this dream last night which was fucking weird. Basically, was wearing the white ethereal gown which is ridiculous because would never wear white and was walking in this slow elegant manner at twilight right into the stream like Virginia Woolf and I laid down and let myself be drowned. Landlord was watching the whole thing but didn’t do anything to stop me but it turned out it was because he was dead, too. Probably because of his Parkinson’s, but I’m not sure because it’s not like my subconscious mind revealed that part of it but it did reveal that he was there and it was him who made me kill myself because he had that power over me. Probably still does. Fucker.

KOOL-AID: a new man

So this is my second attempt at writing this post. My first attempt involved several paragraphs describing the art of cutting hair. I read it back and found self half-asleep with boredom. No one wants to read something so monotonous. Was working up to something, see, and thought the whole hair-cutting process would set the stage.

Ah, no. There is nothing exciting about cutting hair. Unless, of course, you’ve stayed true to the same style for several years, finally biting the bullet and booking an appointment at the hair dressers for a long overdue makeover. Which would be exciting, yes. You imagine the reactions of your friends when they saw you for the first time. You might even start wearing a little more makeup to accentuate the look. But the process itself wouldn’t be exciting. Granted, those few minutes having your head massaged while conditioner was applied would be glorious, but the cutting of what was, essentially, a dead organism would not give you thrills.

Certainly wouldn’t be something worth writing about.

Yes, yes, there is a point to all of this. What am concerned with is the end result, but suppose I should give you some background first.

Landlord, you may remember, has the whole hobo look going. Beard. Long hair. A bit disastrous. Turns out, Parkinson’s is to blame. Part depression, part nipping himself when trying to use clippers due to tremor. Decided to never try again.

Would not have brought it up. Landlord is own person. Can do what he wishes with his own appearance. But. Were sitting down eating lunch. Landlord scratching away at the scab on his head. Watched as he took thumb and forefinger to pick out a bit of his scab. That was it for me.

Right then. Time to cut his hair.

Landlord was compliant. Guess he didn’t really like it long. Set up in utility room.

Cut hair. Quite short with the clippers. Trimmed beard to same extent. Shaved beard. Cripes if that was a process. Close contact. Close enough to feel breath. To see vein throbbing in his neck. Enough said.

Result was a fresh-faced Landlord. Young. Clear skin. Handsome. Eyes seemed bluer. Lips fuller. Took me back to that day many years ago on the banks of the Thames.

Heart fluttered a little. Stomach churned. Wiped remnants of shaving foam from his jaw.

And then, without warning, he placed his hands on my knees. Was sitting across from him, see. His hands were shaking at first, and then firm. And with one slow, fluid movement he moved his hands up along my thighs. Halfway up and then back to my knees.

Way too much. Way too much.

Stood up so quickly the chair fell back onto the floor. Let out an ‘oh’ as it collapsed, but did not fault my movement.

Was out the door in about two seconds, I think. Big, deep breaths. Cripes, was difficult. The look of him. Handsome strong jaw and those lips. Those lips I remember. And eyes which seem to gleam.

Which, of course, brings up feelings I don’t want to fill my head. Because desiring someone for sex is one thing. We have those needs as humans. But when something twangs. When a heart string is plucked, it is desperately confusing. Being drawn into someone is dangerous. Last time it happened, I ended up in cult which ruined my life.

Cannot love again. Will not.

But Landlord – he’s a handsome man again. A new man. No longer looks like he’s given up on life.

KOOL-AID: a purpose

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I haven’t mentioned what happened the night after the cramp. Quite a bit has gone on since then.

I went back and slept on the couch and slept through my alarm the next morning because it didn’t matter anymore. The gig was up. I’d been found out.

I stayed in the house the next morning and helped Landlord down the stairs because I knew he’d be stiff from the cramp. It’s a bitch, as I’ve mentioned. But have also been doing my research. An extra bitch for those with Parkinson’s.

Landlord told me that if I was going to sleep at his house, I might as well sleep in the spare room. Which is nice because now I don’t feel so dirty about it. I didn’t enjoy sneaking into Landlord’s house just to get a night’s sleep. Having said that, though, I’ve been in my own bed these last two nights. Another night at Policeman’s, and then back at home for what I felt was a ‘fuck you’ to the church. No, you will not drive me out of my own bed even if it means getting myself killed because of it.

But that’s not the important news (though, one might suggest that staying alive in such circumstances is important.) I now have a purpose.

Was sitting down eating lunch with Landlord. We eat our meals together now as he wasn’t keen on me making his food and then fucking off while he ate alone. He’s now doubled his Waitrose order and I’ve halved mine, given we’re together most meals. And we’ve just done the one order. Because it makes sense.

So we were sitting there eating and Landlord mentions how shit’s going to get harder for him. And how it’s been handy having me helping out. He wanted to formerly ask me to be of assistance. Lunch. Dinner. He would pay.

I said that was ridiculous. I didn’t need his money and he wasn’t exactly charging me the right amount of rent.

We argued a little at this point, admittedly.

Landlord needs help with his work as well, given the tremors in his hands. Am happy to help, because it gives me a purpose. An actual reason for getting up every day apart from this blog and the occasion fucking with Policeman.

We have agreed that I will no longer pay rent. Was all I can agree to. Is no way I will accept money from Landlord. Plus, the payment really comes in the work itself. Am excited for it.

Hopefully will not mean posting less here. Still need my venting place. My self therapy. Still need to try and make sense of what the fuck happened to me, and what the fuck is happening now.

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?

Hit the Kool-Aid menu for previous posts

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.

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