Saturday, 28 November 2015

The Girl

There are two things that I notice more than anything else when ever I visit a city
The addicts
And the homeless 
I don't always see the shops
The lights 
The sights and the sounds 
I see the people asleep in doorways on cardboard boxes
I see the pinned and haunted eyes of heroin addicts
The empty bottles of the street drinkers 
The scatty manicness of the meth users 
The slurred speech of those on methadone
This city is no different
The first homeless guy I saw today was sitting on the cold hard ground
Dressed in a thin jumper and pants
He was visibly shivering with the cold 
His eyes on the ground in front of him
We walked by 
Stopped and looked back
We were all thinking the same thing 
The poor guy
We pooled our change and gave him five euro 
Tipping it in to his paper cup
He looked up when he heard the rattle of the change 
And stuck his hand out
As if to touch the saviour who would allow him to buy a cup of tea and a sandwich 
I usually talk to the homeless when I'm giving them something 
But with this guy
I don't know 
He looked so destitute 
I didn't think anything I could say could make him feel better
Walking away
I turned back to look at him 
He hadn't even checked his cup
His eyes still downwards
I felt guilty in that moment 
Guilty that I had so much 
And he had so little 
Life is unfair 
It's all a game of chance 

We went for lunch then 
And decided to pick the homeless man up some soup 
We walked back to where he was sitting 
There were people talking to him
Giving him bags of what I presume were food
He looked like he was rubbing tears from his eyes 
A lady kneeled at his side giving comforting words 
We decided to give the soup to another homeless person 
And it wasn't long before we met another one 
He gratefully accepted it
And we went on our way

Last night 
We went to see a musical 
After it had finished 
And we had all piled out of the theatre 
I had run across the road to the shop to get a carton of milk
I noticed a girl with two dogs out side the shop 
It was the dogs that attracted me 
And I bent down to pet them and talk too them 
And could tell by the girls demeanour that she was out of her mind 
She was skinny
Wobbly on her feet 
And louder then she needed to be
I asked her about the dogs 
She said they were rescue dogs 
That she was minding them for someone
They had no collars 
No leads 
And seemed really clingy and afraid 
I looked in to the girls eyes
Her pupils were pinned 
Her lids fighting against the weight of the heroin in her blood
I asked her if I could ask her a question
Was she on the gear
She said she was 
That she had recently relapsed after a nasty break up
She had been clean for a year 
All the while she was talking to me 
There was another guy that was in and out of the shop
Talking at great speed to the girl 
She continued to speak to me 
Then all of a sudden I just knew I had to get out of there 
This is how I've slipped before 
Putting myself in stupid situations 
I wished her good luck
And went to walk in to the shop 
Next thing I knew 
She threw her arms around me 
And gave me a huge hug
I was taken aback
But I hugged her back
And in that moment 
I wanted to take the girl and her dog home with me
Nurse her through her withdrawal 
Love her dog in to a happy and healthy little guy

I went in to the shop
The guy was ahead of me 
Buying everything and anything 
At one point he turned around and apologised to me
I said it was no problem 
Just then 
My sister appeared 
It turned out that my sister and mother had been standing across the street and witnessed the whole exchange
My sister asked me if I was ok
I said I was 
But I wasn't really
Again 
I felt a sense of guilt 
That I had got out
And that girl hadn't 
I wondered what kind of place they were living 
Was it safe?
Was it full of addicts?
Was it warm?
I also wondered about the dog
Would they look after him?
Feed him?
Would he have a bed to sleep in that night?
Would someone let him out off he needed to wee?
Or would he be forced to pee where he lay down?
These questions bothered me
And still bother me
I feel a sense of survivor guilt 
I was extremely lucky 
To make it out alive
And relatively unscathed 
There are so many who didn't 
It's more the girls that upset me
Probably because I can relate to them more
And the fact that I know drugs take a far harder toll on women 
Where I live now 
I don't have to look at it 
It's not in my face 
But here 
And in Dublin and other cities 
I see it every 
I've always struggled to describe the look that heroin addicts aquire after a certain amount of time using 
It's like their faces all become the same
That same hollow cheeked, haunted eyes look 
Like the lights are on but no one is home
I read a post once by Shane Leverne 
Who writes Memoires of a heroin head
He described one of his characters once as having a 'smack sculpted face'
These are exactly the words I had been looking for 
I couldn't have described it so perfectly 

It's Sunday morning now
And that girl is still on my mind
I'm not worried though 
I know that soon she will drift to the back 
of my mind soon enough
And I don't kid myself 
I know if I had not been with my family
I probably would have gone and used with her 
And become her new best friend 
That's the way it seems to work in the drug world
It's like a secret little community 
Where everyone is connected by the drug
Everyone has it in common
And that is enough to base whole relationships on
Whether they last an hour or a year 

Something I also noticed yesterday while taking to the girl
Was that we seemed to get in to a one upman ship about drugs 
It goes something like that like this 
You're using 3 years?
Oh I'm using 5 years?
You started using in Dublin?
Well I started in London
You nearly died once?
I actually did die 
Does this seem familiar to anyone?
Yes 
It's a lot like the game we play with out EDs 
The Hunger Games 
That's just the way it is
And I definitely don't miss that 

Anyway 
Today is the last day of our little jolly
We head back tomorrow morning 
Everyone else is still in bed
Tired after yesterday's exertions
It's nice to have some time to myself 
To make sense of last night 
Why do these things always happen to me.....

10 comments:

  1. Life isn't fair. Sometimes we get lucky breaks, sometimes not. Some times i kid myself it all works out. But it doesn't. I'm hoping The Girl turns that corner. In any case, you can't feel guilty, it may just not be her time.

    I struggle with anger over the past. i had a series of very unfortunate events that took me to a dark place. Sometimes i think .. if only....

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    1. Hey Shelby,

      That is just it
      We have to play the cards we are dealt
      I know I could easily be that girl
      In fact I was that girl
      I just keep reminding myself that I have been there done that
      And at some point I need to grow up

      Hope you are doing ok my lovely
      Take care x

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  2. Don't feel guilty for something that isn't your fault, love. And you are so very kind to the homeless. Don't have survivor's guilt - be proud that you made it out <3
    Hope everything's going well for you~

    Love,
    Christie

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Christie
      And good to hear from you
      Hope you are doing ok x

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  3. I know what you mean, it's so hard to see so many people so much worse off. At the same time though, I makes you realize just how much you have, which can be a good thing to remember on the bad days.

    My friend and I used to make the rounds in Philadelphia with bags of leftovers and dog food. She'd made a mental list of all the homeless people near our school who had dogs. I've been trying to organize something similar the past few years, giving local homeless people things like food and warm clothing, but alas it's not something I can do on my own, and I have yet to find enough people to help me. :/

    Even if it doesn't feel like it, you made a big impact on at least three people during your stay in the city. Little acts of kindness can give someone an awful lot of hope.

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    1. I know the feeling Mich
      I also feel compelled to do something when I see these people
      I hope I did make their day a bit easier
      No deserves to be homeless
      Especially at this brutally cold time of year x

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  4. This brought tears to my eyes. The words "survivor guilt" were rolling around in my head before I even read them. I've never been homeless and I've never been on heavy drugs....yet I feel I have so much in common with people who have experienced these things. I always think....that could very well be me. I catch myself feeling sorry for them and feeling grateful for myself that I'm not in their situation....and then I feel guilty for even thinking that way, almost wishing (in a very weird way) that I could either trade places with them, or join them. Addicts in general get a lot of disdain from people who just can't understand and I think it can fuel the shame and anger they feel.

    ANYway. I'm glad your family was with you, and that you got out of there and into a safe head-space. Your kindness is truly beautiful, Ruby. Hope your trip home is safe. :)

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    1. I know exactly what you mean SW
      I had such a mixture of emotions yesterday
      Guilt
      Fear
      Sadness
      Upset
      It really effects me
      I just don't see it when I am home
      And like you say
      It was me
      And could easily be again
      All that's separating us is one mistake
      I know you know what I mean x

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  5. its so difficult, its huge issue in brighton, you did what you could but it never far away.
    very much ,there for the grace of God situation, sometimes wonder when my luck will run out. love and hugs , jo xx

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    1. Thanks Jo
      Hugs and love to you too
      Text you when I get home x

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Thank you for leaving some love x