Every now and then, I think: surely nothing else is gonna happen. Surely it’s all already happened. But there’s always more, that’s what I reckon.
Today I feel a bit… chastised, chastened or something. To realize that I kind of ‘depend’ on others to lift me up. But, don’t we all, in a way? Maybe that’s so. And still, I know I need to let go of the ropes… and drop down; or fly.
Wednesday 25 April, 2012:
Sheree, Scott and Leroi pay a visit. Leaving school has not helped Leroi’s confidence any; he’s actually timid, filling out the paperwork for various courses. Spelling; how to write the date; his signature… he’s scared of doing all of it wrong, and his eyes quiver with a bit of incipient shame. So I’m matter-of-fact, ignoring any errors (they’re minor, in any case), and praising him for his efforts.
Scott looks… aw, he looks good, actually. It’s crazy the way he just bobs up smiling. His leg seems to be fine, and he appears ‘healthy’ and (all things considered) cheery. Tau and I have commented on this aspect of Scott many times. He reminds us of one of those cartoon characters who plunges off a cliff; is blown up by a bomb; has a hundred ton weight dropped on him – and bounces back within seconds. “It’s true,” Tau said, thinking about it one time. “My dad’s driven off a cliff… he’s been in a car that caught fire… got beaten up with a steel bar… probably had every bone in his body broken!”
We can’t help laughing, at the thought of Scott’s undismayed expression.
Thursday 26 April:
Old patterns: getting to be mouldy old patterns, got to hop out of them soonest.
By the time I get to school, I’m alright – really. I think, ok, well I’m gonna be able to do this day after all. I even kind of toss my head as I walk along. Just to say, ‘So there!’ In these moments, when you conjure up all the spectres and ghosts and the things that make you crazy afraid – the oldest mouldiest old patterns – and what? Middle finger up to them, you sashay past.
Friday 27 April:
I get home round 5, and no-one’s home. Nothing’s different, but I just have this ‘feeling’… that things aren’t the same as usual. And then when I check facebook, Shay has posted on her timeline: 😦
Then Sheree turns up. She’s been sent round to find out what’s happening – Leroi saw Shay’s post as well. And they, like me, have thought straight away: Tau.
Sheree’s in her pyjamas. She just looks so fresh and kinda pretty – sometimes she looks jaded, but not right now. We sit talking.
“It’s frustrating,” she says. “Poor bloody Shay.”
“Sometimes I wanna call the police on my son!” Sheree bursts out. “But, I don’t know what to say. And Scott just tells me to leave it. And… I know Shay won’t like it, if I say anything.”
“She doesn’t want anyone to see it, let alone talk about it,” I agree.
“Poor bitch,” says Sheree, sorrowfully. “I feel bad – especially cos I know what it’s like; been through it all myself.”
And we sigh, because we know that there is no answer that makes perfect sense.
“Tau, too,” I say. “He won’t talk about it either. He feels so ashamed.”
“I know, and if we try, he just runs away… or we get the cold shoulder,” Sheree agrees, turning herself sideways to emphasize this point.
Then she swivels back round, and looks at me brightly, saying, “And I’m going to parenting classes!” She gives a little laugh. “The social workers have been sniffing around,” she explains, and her beady-eyed expression makes me laugh as well.
“Cos of me smoking P when I’m pregnant, I think.”
“But how did they know?” I ask.
“I dunno.” She shrugs. “Someone told them, I guess.”
“So, they want you to do parenting classes.”
“Yeah – but do you know what? I’m glad, in a way,” Sheree deadpans. “I could do with some tips.” She giggles, and so do I. And yeah – I know, I know. But I like Sheree, I really do.
Saturday 28 April:
Round midnight), I hear someone come back and let themselves into the shed. I’m half asleep, but it only sounds like one set of footsteps. Then, in the early morning, I wake when I hear the door of the sleepout open. This time I peek out the window and see Tau. He pads wearily down the drive, shoulders stooped. I long to go out after him, but I know that’s a bad idea. Tau’s never ready before he’s ready – if you know what I mean. And so I just leave it. I guess he’s going to Scott and Sheree’s, anyway.
And maybe I won’t find out for a while. Maybe I’ll get home and he’ll be back. And his face will say – don’t ask, don’t ask.
Later I get a text from Sheree:
Hi mis, , jus 2let u knw taurangi iz hea, im nt 2 sure wts goin on, but shayz at her mums. he’s told me he smashed her mums house windw, las nyt, drunk az, im so hopen shez alrite, an i feel hopless 4 her, other than that he’z nt sayn jac 2 me, tym out mite b good
Allgood sheree.. thanks for letting me know, u know i wil nevr be judgemental of tau and I know he must be feeling pretty bad right now.. he wont feel like talkng. I care a lot bwt both of them nd i too feel upset for shay. Tau knows im there for him, tht wont change.. i wish life was easy bt i no hez a good person, thx again
Yeah mis, hard owt, i wish the same. xo
Sunday 29 April:
I hear the van and go out; it’s Tau and Scott. Scott’s driving – not a good sign at the best of times.
Tau just needs to pick something up. Probably money, or buds. He says, wearily, “Hey Miss,” as he unlocks the shed, nipping in and straight out again with something in his hand.
“Hey Tau,” I reply, and then just: “You alright?”
“Yeah, I’m alright.” But he looks so tired.”
“K then,” I say, and he nods, and hops back into the van.
“I’ll see you later, Miss,”
And that’s pretty much it. Scott just gives me a cheery (and slightly out of it) smile, and says, “Heey.” He waves at me in a friendly way, as he begins to back the van down the drive.
I come inside, and for some reason I start to cry. I sniff, and cry, and sit on my bed wiping my eyes. Then I shrug, and go take a shower.
I really don’t know what’s going to happen next. Ok, if – and it’s a big if –they get back together, then Tau will probably come back here. If they break up – I’m not sure. So far he’s needed the mediating presence of Shay to navigate everyday life outside the family domain. Washing; cleaning; cooking him lunch: noodles, eggs, burgers. All the things he isn’t used to doing, or is shy to do. The things women do for him: Sheree, Shay, me. But especially Shay – who links with me and Sheree to provide for her man.
And where would that leave Tau? Back at Scott and Sheree’s? Ohh – that isn’t good, but what’s the alternative? And where would that leave Shay?
And I don’t quite understand how I can know something isn’t right, and still half-wish for it to be just as it was.
Later – to my immense surprise – Tau returns and tells me about what happened. We sit in the shed and talk, and he quietly recounts events.
Shay and Tau had a domestic on Friday morning. It had been simmering for days – I could see that. The way they were so quiet, and kept themselves to themselves all week. I tell Tau this, and he nods.
Anyway, Tau made her pack her stuff (or some of it) and he took her to her mum’s place and dropped her off. Then he went drinking with his friends: a few of the CP boys, I think. He got angrier and angrier as the day progressed. And he went back to Shay’s place (drunk as – as Sheree had told me) and smashed the window.
“But why?” I ask.
“Because I wanted to,” Tau says, as if this should be no surprise.
“Do you remember doing it?”
He nods, saying, “I thought about it for ages, and then I went round to see Inia, and asked if he had a hammer.”
“And did he?”
“No, he didn’t. But he said – I got a pole though, bro. I got two poles.”
“Geez…” I say, in awe (of a kind).
“And he said he wanted to come with me.”
“What… to talk you out of it?”
“No. He said – I’ll give you a hand, g.”
“Oh for fuck’s sake!” I exclaim, then, thinking about it, “Yeah, that’s right – that’s Inia – I should have guessed. Was he drunk?”
“Yup,” Tau says. “But I didn’t take him. I went by myself.”
“K – and then what happened?”
“Well, I went round there. And I hit the window with the pole – but nothing happened the first time. But I could see all Shay’s family in the lounge, and they just turned around and looked at me. So then – I did it the second time. And it just smashed – and they all got up and ran outside.”
“And did you take off?”
“And they didn’t call the cops?”
“I wonder why…” I say, and Tau shrugs, looking at me kind of limpidly. To be honest, I think he’s glad to be telling someone.
“But Tau,” I ask him. “Is Shay… ok?”
“I think so,” he says. And I don’t push him, or ask if he hit her. I reckon maybe he did. But I don’t know for sure.
“And I’ve been driving round everywhere, all over the place,” he goes on. “Into town, and to the Shore…”
“What – yesterday?”
“Yep, me and Leroi, and Mischa. In Mischa’s car. We got some boxes of Cody’s and went to the beach.”
“What – you all went drinking? And you were the driver?”
“Oh, Tau… that ain’t good,” I say, despondently. And for some reason, this makes us both laugh. Can’t help it. It never ceases to amaze me how we (I just mean people in general) can just laugh at these very troublesome things; in the most worrisome moments – and I guess that’s a good thing. Otherwise where the fuck would we be?
“I know,” he says, and gives a little nod – and something in Tau’s expression lets me know he’s trusting me, at this moment.
I feel my eyes just prick with a couple tears, then I blink them back, and say, “Well thank goodness you didn’t crash. Guess God must have been watching over you yesterday or something – everyone must have been saying their prayers!”
Tau looks tickled at this, and then he says, “Yeah I know, and I was asking all my mates – am I driving ok?” (I can just imagine it: ‘Am I driving ok?’ Shades of ‘Are we going beach now?’)
“And what? They were drunk, so they just said yes.”
“Pretty much,” Tau admits.
“Well – you were lucky you didn’t see a cop, then.”
“I did,” he tells me, implacably. “They just didn’t pull me over.”
“Ohhh!” I exclaim.
Tau manages to smile, and I think to myself how I cannot ditch this kid. Just can’t, won’t, and you know I never will. I don’t know what’s happened – and I do care, oh I do. About Shay, I mean. But I love Tau like I raised him. Doesn’t make it right what he’s done, doesn’t make it alright at all. But… there’s something about Tau that remains firmly ‘good’, and I know it, and I see it – and I’m not ditching him. And that’s the way it is.