Wednesday 15 August, 2012:
Slade, Zion and Carlos are very disgruntled about me going away for a ‘few days’ (I daren’t tell them it’s a whole week and a half). But at the end of the school day, after 9 Social, I’m packing up when Riley and another girl come in, holding forth a piece of paper.
“This is for you.”
“Huh?” I say, thinking it’s a course selection form, or something they want me to sign.
“It’s from… someone, he said to give it to you,” they explain, rather cryptically.
I take it, and see that Slade has spent his last class of the day doing me a ‘CICI’ bombing as a going away present – this touches my heart so much that I feel my eyes blur for a second, when I’m locking up and leaving the ROR.
Friday 17 August:
My dad has his operation Wednesday night; it goes well. Most of Wednesday, and all of Thursday, I’ve been at the hospital – and I’ll go back there this morning. My sis arrives from London tonight.
I get worried yesterday, because Tau tells me the shed’s been robbed again. Obviously there’s nothing I can do, for the moment. Maybe, I could go back for a day. But I don’t know whether I need to.
I mail him, asking to know more: is the window broken; what was taken? I just get this message in reply:
Na its algood mis’
Which tells me nothing. There’s also a status update which reads: Solid drink up with the boys last night’
And I guess that tells me more. Tau’s been drunk every day and night for almost two weeks, I reckon. My heart clenches though, at the thought of all this. Tau numbing his feelings, day after day. And the shed robbed again, and who knows? Who knows what was taken, or if the window’s been broken, or if the house is alright… I don’t know, and do I have to go back and see for myself?
I feel kind of numb too. Walking round with my big eyes, trying to not cry. My heart hurts… but I know this isn’t about me. This isn’t even about who’s got who… it feels kind of survivalist now.
Oh maaan, if I could have predicted all this (and to be honest, I kind of did) – then obviously, I wouldn’t have turned away. But is there anything I can do? I guess I just have to trust that somewhere, somehow, things are going to be righted someday. And that my very dear and good Tau is gonna be protected, though I don’t know quite how that’s gonna work. But I’ll believe it with all my heart; it’s all I can offer.
Saturday 25 August:
I get back home, and ohh, it just feels ‘funny’, before I even get out of the car. I can’t put my finger on it. Go up to the front door, and it’s loose. Like the lock has been forced. The door is still shut, but you can push it open a bit, and it rattles.
Walking inside, the first thing I see is papers strewn over the table – all Tau’s letters and stuff. At first I think that Tau must have been looking for something himself. But then I notice another piece of paper as well. A search warrant. The house was entered by the police, the day after I left.
I actually shake a little bit, as I read through it:
‘…THAT there is reasonable ground for believing that there is (are) in any building, aircraft, ship, carriage, vehicle, box, receptacle, premises or place situated at ……………, the following thing(s), namely:
- Black Beanie
- Bandana or Scarf with white motif
- Dark Coloured Hoodie
- Dark Coloured Pants
- Black Shoes
- Blue backpack with “KONE” and white design on it
- Black pistol, appears to be metallic with silver ejector port
(upon or in respect of which an offence of Aggravated Robbery has been or is suspected of having been committed)
(or which there is reasonable ground to believe will be evidence as to the commission of an offence of Aggravated Robbery)
(or which there is reasonable ground to believe is intended to be used for the purpose of committing an offence of )’
The search warrant was executed at 10:46am on Thursday. And ‘Items have/have not been seized pursuant to this warrant.’
I ring Sheree. As soon as I talk to her, I feel calmer. It’s clear that no-one knows anything about this – they just think the house has been robbed. Actually, that makes sense: Tau wouldn’t have even noticed the warrant. “You know how he hates reading,” Sheree says, and I almost laugh at the thought.
Tau and Leroi have gone out somewhere (drinking, of course).
“Shall I come over?” I ask Sheree.
“Yes, please,” she says.
When I get to Kaiser St, I feel the usual ‘safe’ feeling kick in – bewildering me a little, given the circumstances. I pass Scott the search warrant, and he reads it carefully. He shakes his head, saying, “That’s not Tau. He hasn’t been in any armos. I’m sure of that.”
“Yeah, it’s not his style,” I say. “Not the kind of… crime Tau’s into,” and we can’t help snorting. I add, “When he waves his gun around, it’s only if he has beef with someone.”
“And he’s too slow… too bloody drunk, lately,” adds Sheree, pragmatically.
“So… it says there was property taken,” I say, pursuing the next point. “What did they take, of Tau’s? I mean, what did he have in the shed?”
“About… an ounce in tinnies, I think.” Scott tells me. “And some money. And his air pistol.”
We fall silent, thinking about the potential consequences of this.
“Do you think the cops will come back?” I ask.
“Probably,” Sheree says. “It’s what they do, usually.” Her tone is unemphatic, but she still looks sorrowful.
We talk about things, while the new puppy (Lucky) bites my foot gently, over and over. Dixie’s pup (and she’s been put down, poor Dixie). Then a car arrives. “Your son’s here,” Sheree informs me. “Cluzo.” And we giggle, despite ourselves.
Tau comes in. He’s drinking something pink out of a bottle. He looks… like shit, really. He says wearily to me, “Hey Miss,” and takes another gulp, with no particular enjoyment. Sheree has already told me that Tau isn’t even getting ‘drunk’ anymore. It’s like he’s immune to it, after all these weeks of straight drinking. That scares us both – I can see it in her eyes, and I’m sure she can see it in mine.
Scott says, “Tau… you know when the shed got robbed?” and he nods.
“That wasn’t a burglary – it was the cops.” He waves the search warrant. “Look, here’s the warrant – here’s what they were looking for.”
For a second, Tau actually looks shocked. Then he just has another swig of his drink, and together he and Scott go over the details.
“If the cops come back, you’ll take responsibility for all of it,” Scott says, matter of factly.
“Of course,” Tau nods.
“If the cops come back,” I say. “I won’t say much. I’ll just say that I’ve been away, and that I don’t know what they took. I’ll just act kind of dumb. That ain’t hard…” I add, and Sheree cracks up at me.
I stay for a while, and we discuss it all, back and forth. Tau looks kind of impassive. I don’t think he has much emotion left about anything; not one thing or another. He’s worried, but he can’t ‘feel’ the worry, if you know what I mean. My heart is brimful with a sort of bobbing pain, which I can sit with quite easily, as it happens. I just give his shoulder a little rub, that’s all. It conveys a million things; you know.
We talk about Shay, too (not in front of Tau – it’s before he gets back). She’s going out with someone else, which has precipitated the latest mega-binge. And Sheree thinks it could be Shay’s family (or their neighbours) who made up the armed robbery stuff, and told the police about it. “So that they’d find… his other stuff,” she surmises. “Narks, you know. Then: “Not that you can exactly blame people,” she sighs. “When Tau goes on one of his smash ups, round there.”
But apparently Tau’s (once or twice) mentioned his course at the TI. Scott still holds a faint hope that Tau’s not totally out of the loop with all that… and I must admit, so do I.
When I leave, I text the handyman, and he comes round to fix the door. He won’t take any money for it; he just says to make him a coffee, “next time.” I felt a couple tears sting my eyes, when he leaves. Because he’s really kind, and because so much has happened, and keeps happening… and what the fuck is gonna happen next?