User's Story: Buttering Up for Christmas
User's Story: Buttering Up for Christmas
It was five days until Christmas. Secretly, deep inside, I missed my family. I hadn't contacted home for months and I was reported as missing. I was just a kid who wanted to ask Santa for a present. Instead I was sitting in the Cross with my coey of the moment, waiting to score. When the dealer finally arrived he told us he was going away until after New Year's.
We had our shots and nodded off in Hyde Park for the night. In the morning we walked up to the Cross hoping to run into some money. But it was hopeless; it was a Sunday morning and the place was a ghost town. A few working girls were running around scrambling to find a dealer, but no one managed to get on.
We needed money so we caught a train a few stations south to try our luck. When we got off the train we searched and searched 'til dark. We found nothing so we huddled together in a storm water drain. Overnight it rained so much that we got washed down a ravine and almost drowned. Muddy and soaking wet, we found an empty house with a "For Sale" sign. Inside we had hot showers and tried to make a plan. We were hanging out bad; it had been more than 36 hours since our last shot. My coey was absolutely useless when he was sick and I knew that if we left it any longer then I'd be useless too. I went to a phone booth and I dialled any number that I could remember of every dealer I had ever known. I couldn't really remember the numbers so I had to try different combinations. After hours of trying I lucked onto an old dealer from Marrickville who I didn't owe money to. I set off on the train, cringing as I sifted through the different scenarios in my head: what I would say, what I would do, how far was I prepared to go to get us this shot? When I got there it didn't take much to talk him into giving me tick. He must have felt sorry for me because he didn't just give me the half, he bought me some food and drove me to get some fits then back to the train station. I returned to my coey and we had our shot together. We had promised never to have sneaky shots behind each other's back; all the money and gear was split 50/50. I was so exhausted from all the hanging out that as soon as I had my shot I blacked out.
When I woke up I panicked, suddenly realising I was alone. My coey left me a note saying he'd be back; he couldn't sleep knowing that we had no money and no gear. I went into an instant sweat but I just sat there, waiting and waiting, too afraid to leave our meeting place. It was two days until Christmas and I tried to imagine what my life would have been like had I not been sitting there hanging out. It got dark and every minute that went by seemed like an eternity. I was fearing the worst when sometime after midnight my coey finally came back with a big chunk of gear and brand new clothes for us both to change into. I was furious that he had taken so long but his good news cheered me up; in his travels he'd scoped a house whose owners had apparently gone away for the holidays. We decided to check it out as soon as we had our shots, but before we could make a move we nodded off 'til the sun came up.
When we got to the house there was a glitch - a the only entry point was a doggy door around the back. As I was the smaller out of the two of us, it was my job to crawl through so I put my arms through, followed by my shoulders, then just as I was about to squeeze my hips through I got stuck. I tried twisting and turning every which way but it was no good. I started freaking out. I couldn't move in either direction. I decided that if I took off my clothes it would help me slip through. My coey helped to take off my pants and undies and I took off my top and my bra but still I didn't budge.
Now I was totally stuck, butt naked, sticking half-way through this damned doggy door! I was packing it. I didn't want to go out like this! I could just see the newspaper reports: juvenile delinquent found naked, trying to gain entrance into a dwelling through the doggy door. The police had to cut her out before sending her to Yasmar juvenile justice centre in total shame.
No way was I going to let that happen! I told my coey to go get some butter to help me slide through. He laughed, trying on some joke that I didn't find particularly funny before leaving me hanging there while he got the butter. After much buttering up, massaging and arguing, three hours later I slid into the house, opened the door and let my coey in.
Inside the house it was like a Christmas wonderland. There were presents, food, jewellery, cash and a huge Christmas tree that went all the way to the ceiling, decorated with candy canes and expensive hand-blown baubles. We found enough cash to get on so we called a dealer who agreed to deliver to us.
Once we got our gear, we settled in and pretended like it was our house. We turned on the Christmas tree lights. It was Christmas Eve so we tried to sing Christmas carols that we did not know the words to. We laughed like silly little children when I said we should open "our" presents. We lay on the wrapping paper and he put the ribbons in my hair; we kissed and held each other, looked in each other's eyes and planned our future together. We had never had such an intimate moment like this before, we had never been anything but coeys, but on that night it felt so right. We promised to detox together, to get clean, to get a house and have babies. We relaxed there having shot after shot, just dreaming and wishing for a better life. A life without heroin. A life without the pain of withdrawal. We wished that everything could be perfect.
But perfect our lives were not. On Christmas morning we woke up to that familiar feeling. And had a shot. It was as if everything we had talked about the night before was a distant dream; if we were going to get clean, today was not to be that day. We decided to take our presents and go. Before we left I took down the star that crowned the Christmas tree, kissed it and thanked it for my special Christmas. We set off again but we never got to speak of that night because my coey was soon in jail. I couldn't visit him because I was still a juvenile on the run.
Years later I saw him in the Cross. I was clean and he was not. We hugged for the longest time and I didn't want to let him go. I wanted to run away with him to be a team again. But I didn't. We said our goodbyes and I never saw him again. As hard as I try, I can't even remember his last name now, but he holds a very special place in my heart.
Illustration by Bodine