giorge thomas

KOOL-AID: trip to the village

Hit the Kool-Aid menu for previous posts

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 But this one is all rusted and bare, apart from one single loaf of bread which may or may not have been out of date.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

Hit the Kool-Aid menu for previous posts

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.

Have you been keeping up with Almost Drank the Kool-Aid? If not, this probably won’t make any sense to you. You can catch up from the beginning by selecting the Kool-Aid menu above.

 

sleep. fecking sleep.

Am not sure if is actual insomnia. Has not been medically diagnosed, of course. And do not think if forcing self to stay awake constitutes as insomnia.

Paranoia not entirely without merit. Last night was having cigarette at back door — getting closer and closer to smoking inside — when heard vehicle. Nipped around to side of house to get a look. Vehicle moving slowly. Very slowly. Crouched self down behind shrub of some kind. In the darkness. Vehicle practically hovered outside cottage. Now. Should point out is a dead end row. Perhaps twenty meters behind Landlord’s gates. No reason for any person to go down there.

But this car did. Could not see inside of vehicle which was, understandably, terribly frustrating. Vehicle moved on, beyond gates. Stayed crouched. Waited for the sound of the vehicle doing three point turn. Is only option. Tiny road down there. Pathetic. Car not so slow on way back. Faster than necessary. Could not get reading of licence plate. Nor make of vehicle. Am pretty shit at distinguishing makes of cars.

Obviously, could be someone who took wrong turn. Suppose to go right at end of village instead of left.

Is what annoys me about entire situation. If was normal person who had been living normal life would not be having mild anxiety of vehicle passing house. Would not be spending entire night wondering about who it was and what they were doing. Or how coincidental it is that this happens the same way I receive those caring emails.

No sleep, so insane amount of time to think. Most thoughts are about him. Haven’t talked about him. Have to think of another name for him. Fucker. Wanker. Man who get me into this mess.

Yes, yes, made own decisions. But decisions would have been anything, no matter what, to stay without him. Had already been forced apart from him once, was not about to do that again.

Took years of mourning to get over relationship. For a long time was in denial. No. This was just a blip. He just needs some time on his own. We’ll be together again, surely. We were meant to be together. He promised me I was the only thing that mattered. Pleaded he was nothing without me. wanted us to live on the moon. Away from everyone. Away from those who put us down, who didn’t understand our relationship. Who didn’t understand love.

Promises, promises, promises.

All of which he broke.

Thought he loved me.

Could understand not wanting to be with me — it was too hard maybe. Too volatile, too passionate. Too everything. Maybe we’d be those couples. Sad stories of two people how loved one another madly but just couldn’t be together.

What could not understand, though, and I guess what surprised me, was the complete disregard for me as a person. Avoiding me. Having me banned from certain church venues because he didn’t want to risk running into me.

The worst of it, though: not helping me when I needed it the most. He knew what was happening to me. Of course he did. Saw me that day he came to the base. When he got to stay in the VIP quarters. The church palace, they call it. Middle of the fucking dessert yet the grounds of the palace are emerald green. Palm trees and fucking rock pools. And they sent me in there to clean his fucking toilet.

Is all I can thinking about. My mind is a fucking nightmare. A mass of thoughts am finding it difficult to wade my way through.

Sleep. That’s what I need. Fucking sleep.

KOOL-AID: thanks for writing, but I just can’t risk it

Recently, have been receiving emails from people who have read my blog and felt the need to write to me. Their emails are of concern for my well-being; touching base to make sure am okay, am not lonely, and wondering if they can help in any way.

Really, nice, thoughtful stuff. A lot of them have been through the same scenario as me. Some of them have read more into my blog than others, some have guessed things incorrectly, others have guessed right. Some offered me hope. Others advice. Some pointed me in the direction of organisations which may help me. Most offered to be a support at the end of an email should I need it.

Lovely, lovely stuff. Honestly. And I didn’t know how to respond. Am not used to people being so kind to me. Is weird feeling. How do I relay gratitude when gratitude is not something have normally felt?

But then… Should I be grateful at all? Are these women being kind to me, or is their an ulterior motive?

Because that’s the thing, see. Cannot trust in people’s kindness. No. Always have to wonder their intentions. Do these people really care about how I, a stranger, am handling this new life post-cult, or are they, in fact, members of the church I left, trying to suck information out of me?

The email which scared me the most was one from a lady who seemed lovely at the beginning but then made statements regarding where in the country she thought I was living. Thankfully, she was way off. Yet her directness in a ‘I already know so you might as well tell me’ way scared the shit out of me. She’s one of them, I thought. She’s a member of my church and she’s trying to feed information out of me so they can find me.

The rest could be the same and just be doing it in a more subtle way. And I’ve had to stop myself. If I write back to them, and they are part of the church, couldn’t there be a way they could track my email? Track my IP address or whatever the hell it is people keep talking about on crime shows, to find out the exact location of my computer.

I can’t risk it. Can’t. There’s no way of me determining if these are decent folks or not. No way of determining if they’re members of the church.

One of them said I seemed lonely. Well, fuck yes! Of course it is lonely, thinking every single person who steps into your life may be a spy. Cannot befriend anyone. Cannot trust anyone.

So if you’ve written me, and am wondering why I’m such a bitch not writing back, that’s why. Am scared shitless. Cannot trust you no matter your motives. Cannot have the proof I need you are who you say you are.

The thing that pisses me off about all of this is how this is all I ever wanted in life. When was a child I used to dream of having pen-pal. As moved around a lot would often try starting correspondence with kids I went to school with, but none of them seemed to have the stamina I did for writing. Would have loved to have had someone I could tell all of my secrets to. Someone who could sympathise. Someone who didn’t judge.

But now I’ll never have that, even when it is being offered to me in the nicest of ways. So I’m sorry. Really, am desperately sorry. But right now, I can’t trust anyone but Gruff and Landlord. Which is, admittedly, a sorry state of affairs.

Another instalment of Almost Drank the Kool-Aid…

So yes, about the policeman. Landlord and I waited in the car; Landlord scowling for some unknown reason, me about to piss my pants.

Was wondering — do you get arrested for driving without a licence? Not that was worried about being arrested. Was worried about what came with it. Publicity.

Wound down window when saw the blue chest of policeman uniform. Just in time for Landlord to announce ‘for fuck’s sake.’

‘As pleasant as ever, ______.’

Was my ranga mate. And it seemed he and Landlord knew each other. Seemed like they wished they didn’t.

‘Any reason you pulled us over then, _____? Slow day for the force?’

‘Always slow in these parts, thank goodness. And I don’t need a reason.’

Wasn’t sure, still not sure, but thought policeman winked at me.

Landlord protested that I had been driving within the speed limit. He spoke with venom in his voice.

Policeman ignored Landlord, instead said to me — ‘licence please, miss.’

‘She doesn’t have a licence,’ Landlord said immediately, resignation in his voice.

‘I’m sure she can speak for herself, ______,’ the policeman offered. He preferred to use Landlord’s full name, I noticed. As if distancing himself from him.

Turned to Landlord. Again, he spoke for me. ‘She doesn’t speak.’

Policeman looked at me. I nodded. ‘Out of the car, miss.’

Landlord began to protest.

‘It’s unsafe for me to be out here on the road. Miss, if you could please come to the back of the vehicle.’

What was with him calling me miss? Am almost thirty years old. Certainly not a miss.

Policeman held door open for me. Landlord took hold of my arm. Looked imploringly at me. But couldn’t disobey a police officer. Who saw that I was having difficulty getting out of the vehicle. A hand was held out to me, and was guided down. Didn’t make any ascent any more graceful.

Followed officer to the back of the vehicle. Will not mention the appearance of police officer’s perfectly round behind. Will not.

We stood at the back of the vehicle. Policeman got notebook and pen from his pocket.

‘Can you write?’ He asked, handing them to me.

Found self smiling.

‘Something funny?’

If only he knew. Shook head.

‘Name and date of birth please, miss.’

Wrote. Trying to be as neat as I could. Still resulted in raise of eyebrows from policeman and narrowing of the eyes as he tried to read my scrawl.

Next thing I knew policeman was taking radio off chest. Pressed button, ready to speak into it. Didn’t think. If was thinking, would not have lunged forward, placing hand over handset to stop the radio call.

Policeman looked at me. Shocked. I was wide-eyed, realised had just done a very bad thing. Held up hand. A surrender. Scribbled quickly on notebook, showing it to policeman.

‘Not on radio. Why? Is there something I’m going to learn about you?’

I shook head. Wrote again.

‘People listen to police scanners?’

I nodded. Not just for me. Am not narcissistic. Is just something the church does routinely. Information is power. Blackmail even more.

Policeman frowned at me. Was sizing me up.

‘What about if I call?’

I nodded.

Waited as police officer made the call, giving me name and date of birth to dispatch.

When he finished the call, Policeman looked me square in the eye. ‘No licence.’

I nodded.

‘Which you knew.’

Nodded again.

‘And yet you thought it was a good idea to get behind the wheel today.’

The lecture was coming.

Oh no, was wrong. ‘Why couldn’t his lordship drive you then? Surely is too early in the morning to be drinking?’

His Lordship? Man, was bitterness between these two. And what was with the whole drinking thing? Or is that just a police thing? Assuming everyone avoiding driving is a drinker?

Scribbled on notebook (with my big writing I was going through pages quick. Hope police notebooks are supplied by her majesty and not at officers own cost. Although, how much would a notebook cost any how? Is not Smythson. Am not sure you could buy them in bulk. Perhaps can get officer discount) that Landlord could not drive for medical reasons.

‘Have the two of you been together long?’

Should have been outraged by personal question. None of your business, Mr Officer Sir.

But no. Mr Officer Sir an attractive man. And policeman. He had authority. If he asked me my cycle, would probably have told him. Go into days of heavy bleeding, spotting, or as it should be called, the annoying final days of your period when it looks like your body is evacuating black tar from its deepest resources.

Wrote: are not together. Am renting the gatehouse.

‘Surely ______ cannot be so hard up for cash that he needs a tenant?’

Again with the bitterness. Informed policeman was long story, but a colleague we had in common helped me when needed place to live. Suggested Landlord.

And can I just say — this entire exchange was excruciating. Might as well start talking. Having to write communications is a very laborious exercise. Policeman took to looking over shoulder as I wrote to speed up the process. Which every now and then my body bombed up against his utility belt. Which was hard. Which of course meant that every time it happened I imaged how heavy the belt would be. Wondered how loud the thud would be when he took it off, throwing it to the floor…

Policeman said, ‘well, you living at the gatehouse makes us neighbours, then. My farm is the next property over.’

Turns out the county is just as small as London.

Policeman informed me that would not be penalised for non-licence. Not to do it again, etc, etc. Landlord should get himself a driver the next time he leaves the property. I could drive him home given we were so close, but that was to be the end of it.

Handed back notebook, was given a ‘good day to you,’ and Mr Policeman walked back to his vehicle. He stopped, though. Called out to me. ‘Do you like eggs, _______?’

Do I? Yes? No? In things, yes. On Own? Not sure. Why was asking?

Didn’t need to reply, even with a gesture. Because Policeman said — ‘will bring you some!’

Excellent. Yes.

Silence in car, but as we neared home he did ask me if had been given a ticket. Shook head.

‘Wasn’t that nice of him.’

Bitterness. Again, bitterness. What went on with these two?

And now, I guess, I wait for eggs.

KOOL-AID: a visit to the doctors

Another instalment of Almost Drank the Kool-Aid…

Yesterday Landlord came to me with a request. Would I drive him to the doctors today? He doesn’t trust the current state of his condition to drive into town. His meds need to be increased. Doctor about to go on leave so cannot make home visit.

Three problems with his request.

1. Have not driven in about eight years.

2. No longer have licence.

3. At this point, probably not best idea for me to be out in public.

However. Landlord asking for my assistance. Suspect was his way of making up for dinner night. So had to agree. He could, of course, sense my reticence.

‘You won’t have to get out the car.’ Was relieved.

‘When was the last time you’ve driven?’

He could tell from my, well… expression. It had been a while.

‘We’ll take it slow, then.’ But then Landlord asked the question I hoped he wouldn’t. Actually. Was more of a statement. I didn’t have a licence anymore.

Could not hide it. Landlord smiled. Think he liked the idea of breaking the law. Is just that wouldn’t be him breaking it.

He arrived out the front of the gatehouse at precisely 9am. Did not have to worry about waking up in time because have not slept. Has been two days now. Let the games begin, yes, but does not mean I wish to be caught unawares. Told myself it wouldn’t matter any way — whether I was sleeping or not, the outcome would still be the same. Probably worse if not sleeping. Would be too exhausted to run. A problem for another day.

Car is one of those Land Rover/Range Rover types. What is the difference between those two? Are they the same car, or different? Of the same make? Is this why they still have rover in the name? Please. Somebody help me with this .

Is type of vehicle they all have around here. On drive to town, saw loads of them. Is country vehicle. A pre-requisite to country living? Are country folk given a discount on vehicles? Is there some kind of law? Have home in country, must buy Rover vehicle.

Impossible to get into. Terribly un-lady like. Lots of hiking and twisting. Thankful wardrobe is void of skirts and dresses.

Landlord took free moments to show me workings of vehicle. Lots of close contact required. Leaning over me to show mechanisms to lift chair, adjust starring wheel, etc. Arms resting across legs etc. Cripes. Made me foul very uncomfortable.

We set off. Into town. Got park outside of surgery. Gestured to Landlord if he wanted me to go with. A shake of the head.

Was left in the car to take in view of town square. Corn Market, village stores, folks having tea behind cottage box windows. All very delightful. Watched the scene as if it was a movie. A half hour scene of normal life. Wondered if would ever be like those people. Without fear. Shopping without consequence. Enjoying the world. Not fearing it because of who it might contain.

Noticed was being watched. Initial jump of fear, but then noticed man’s uniform. Was policeman. But why was looking at me?

Odd questions that run through your head. Has to be reason you’re being looked at. None of it ever good. Is either because you are too fat, too ugly, have shit hair.

Oddly, what I should have been concerned with was face that was being watched by policeman as sat behind wheel of vehicle without a licence.

An attractive policeman. Well. All policemen attractive in their way. Let’s just say this one of above-average attractiveness.

(Why are policemen attractive? The uniform? What about uniform specifically? Because cannot be colour. Church officials wear same blue and never found any of them attractive. Is it the fact they are policemen and for some reason we find them appeasing? Freud would have field day with subject. Do we — massive generalisation of female specifies — find policemen attractive because subconsciously we know they are here to protect us? Is there still that primal thing all feminists would bawk at, that in the end, we all just want to be taken care of?)

This policeman had thinning red hair. Some of you would find this unattractive. Both the thinning aspect, and the colour. In Australia we call redheads rangas. Is also the nickname given to orang-utans. Sound it out and you’ll understand why. Or maybe is because orang-utans have red hair, too. Yes, we’re probably being a little mean. But is all done in good fun. And this is how spirited we are about it all: no word of a lie, at one of the zoos in Australia they have what is called ‘Ranga’ days. And on that day— yes, yes, is very true — those with red hair get into the zoo for free. Is brilliant.

Have always been a fan of red heads. I like the freckles. The entire-body coverage. Policeman too far away to tell if had all-over freckles, but could see he had one of those perfect triangular noses. And a strong jaw. An older man. Same age as Landlord, maybe? That hazy 40s/50s bracket which is too hard to tell.

His expression was, I don’t know, curious? No frowning or anything. Just observant. But then it changed. Watched the anger spread over his face. Wasn’t looking at me anymore, but beyond me.

I then heard the car door open and turned attention to Landlord. He had prescriptions that needed to be filled. A dilemma for both of us.

Landlord already anxious due to being in public. He was sweaty and pale and shaking, not from his condition, but from behind beyond the walls of his sanctuary. I, of course, did not want to be in public; but for an entirely different reason.

Landlord sensed this. ‘Is fine. The chemist provides delivery service. Just won’t be able to get them until tomorrow. Maybe the day after.’

Was clear medication was required immediately. Would have to suck it up.

Placed hand on Landlord’s arm, conveying I would go. Is amazing how much can be said without words.

Landlord nodded, relief on his face. Told me chemist was on other side of square but if we drove there we could park out front. So we did.

Chemist knew Landlord’s name. Curious as to why someone was picking up scripts instead of delivery, yet in traditional British style it was not discussed.

Relief was palpable in the car as we drove home. We had both been in public with no harm coming to us.

How silly we were to think we’d go away with it. Was maybe a minute from small village near home when flashing blue lights filled the revision mirror. Fuuuccckkkk!

On hedgerow-lined road, there was nowhere safe to stop.

‘It’s fine, just slow so he knows your intent and pull over in the first over-taking bay,’ Landlord directed softly.

Should mention at this point that Land Rover/Range Rover vehicles may be prerequisite of country living but practically useless on country roads. Are so wide! Most of drive to town done with eyes closed, panicked at thought of hitting vehicle. Having to pull over a difficult exercise. Even if Landlord wanted to get out, he couldn’t.

While being pulled over by police traumatising due to non-licence status, is a story for another day. This has already been novel-length and conscious of boring the hell out of all of you with my long-winded tales. Promise to fill you in. While exciting, rest assured, I have not been incarcerated.

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