Thursday, January 04, 2007


"GGetting to knnow youuu..." That's what he used to sing to me, when we were falling in love. Now? Well, he doesn't sing anything does he.

The sun warm on my face, rubbing ointment into the white lines that trace my veins. Hard, rubbery scars. The last time I had a shot, it took two hours

Let me think

That was 13 days ago. Ha.

The only pharmacy (chemist, in NZ-talk) to accept methadone patients, is in the Bad Part of Town, it's a bit-far-to-walk, bit-short-to-cab distance, just out from the city centre. I've done my best, layering excuses, to get there between the sometimes awkward opening hours (10am-12pm on public holidays... yes they have to work for a whole two hours). But the day came, cutting it fine, out of excuses, I had to ask mum to drive me past. Wonderful small towns, a nice parking spot cheered me on, right smack outside the all-glass pharmacy facade. Standing at the counter, hand outstretched for my dose, fidgeting with my purse, my mother bounds in, not content with her front row seats, needing to buy Something. I tipped my head back, and the shot of clear liquid down my throat. Bitter. Trying not to see her. The shop floor is a tiny square of nothing. An ear-piercing display: one of those "choose something sparkly", they'll load it in the gun and POP!, you're done. Just $10 or something ending in 99c. Some soaps, prettied up in pastel bags. Overpriced ornaments side by side with pots and tubes and medically bits. The usual pharmacy fare. Quiet. He hands me my dose for the next day, when they won't even be open for two hours, so they have no choice but to trust me.. "See you Tuesday!" He bellowed warmly, the accent uh unpretentious. My mother twitched. Perhaps wishing she had stayed in the car, she slunk out, as fast as is slinkably possible.

Moments later, awkward and hot-cheeked, I swung myself in through the car door, talking rapidly. About anything.
"So what was that, that you got..." She had to fucking ask.
Every time a sentence, the first sentence, would form in my head, I couldn't turn it into sound, it stuck in my throat, ashamed. I've seen that moment, badly acted, but never lived it. Never knew it could be lived. Desperately, I wanted to be honest. Because that's what I would want, from her, or from my own scrawny kid, with hair in her eyes. But sitting in a drift of my mother's perfume, her movements and intonations screamed like alarms. I couldn't pretend we're anything the same. Her sex and drug talks had always been sent silently, via clipped newspaper articles, uncomfortably stuffed in letterless envelopes. "Don't tell me, I don't want to know," she'd say mantra-like, regarding any escapade with my name on it.
To spill it all, all the pain, the fucked-upness, the heroin, the sadness, the hate, it rose like a huge unbelievable lump of hollywood horror in my throat.
She spoke first. "You don't have to say. That was rude of me. Only tell me if you want to."
And so, I changed the subject. And elegantly avoided the topic until today, with another drive required, to the same pharmacy, in the same Bad Part of Town. I could see her eyes burning. Wanting to know. The space between us cluttered with questions. I fixed my eyes on a small figure, poised on the side of the road. Showing off for traffic.

She seemed to be smiling at me, like those babies that wave from their stroller, silly and tiny, you can't help but get a hit of love. But I was a blur of car on road, it could be she hadn't even seen me. Innocent, luminous. Maybe she was smiling at life. (Like that moment, elbows on knees, leaning forward, drug bliss whooshing through my veins, exhaling heavily, dewy-sweet breath, indulgent) I know that smile. Curly dark hair, long around her small shoulders. A tiny child in a pink skirt, and mummy's heels, pushing an empty toy-stroller, with a funny-faced, huge-eyed fuzzy black kitten crouched on her shoulder, long tail a stripe down her back.
That is the bad part of town here. Scary eh.

The sun is bleeding pink across the sky, and into the sea now. The waves sing, methodically. I don"t want to go.

I wonder what my mother thinks I'm doing at that strange out-of-the-way Bad Part of Town pharmacy, once a day. One thing I know, even as she traces my scars up and down my forearm with her soft fingertip, asking why the cat had scratched me, never ever would she guess the truth.


Anonymous Teh Kiwi Kid said...

While sitting in the car in front of the pharmacy may not have been the best place to let your Mother in to the reality of your world, I think the time is fast approaching.
I don't think your mother is naive as you may think, she may not be fully aware of your problems but she will, like all mothers, know when her child is hurting. Take your time but please, for your own sake Tui, talk to her.

10:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Talk to will feel better and you will appreciate the support she can give.

It makes it a zillion times more difficult to hide it....

12:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well, she probably *does* know, but perhaps may be in denial.

12:46 PM  
Blogger Too Dark Park said...


I'd have to agree here with teh kiwi kid... try to find a good moment, and talk to your mom.. i came forward with my problem to someone i deeply care and love, and i felt a million times better, in fact, it helped almost eliminate my problem. I think keeping it all bottled up definitely doesn't make it any easier to deal with..

how long are you there for?

8:19 PM  

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