Priorities

Tuesday 19 March, 2013:

Just before I go to sleep last night, Kepaoa texts. I’m slightly alerted (if you can say such a thing) by the tone of his texts – which imply he’s mildly hyped (again, if such a collocation is possible). Saying things like: ‘Yeh just dont wana get blocked from going ovceez ay part frm that idnt gva fucck!!’

‘If u say so..’  I reply, believing not a word of it.

But he insists: ‘Tbh idont miss ay!’

So I just leave it, even though I know he cares a lot more than he’s letting on right now, about what happens next, with court.

Then I wake up in the middle of the night, and just lie there with this sad feeling in my heart. I think – oh, maybe I should be scared right now. Outside is all wind and rain, and there are branches bending and scraping against my window. But I’m not scared. And after a while I fall asleep again.

 

When I get to school, Slade is waiting for me at my door. I’m a little late, and, “I wondered where you were!” he exclaims, and just the way he says it – it touches my heart.

Sometimes I think Slade’s real sensitive to things, when I’m troubled. He comes in at the start of both breaks, without even looking for a spare ciggie first. Just sits and talks to me, and shows me stuff on youtube and soundcloud, and tells me stories about down the line.

At lunch time (or ‘second break’ as it’s known; they’re both of the same ridiculously short duration), I go upstairs to make a coffee, and Slade mentions he’s feening for a coffee too.

“I’ll make you one,” I tell him, and we sit in my room and sip our cups of coffee like two friends and colleagues, which is pretty much exactly what we are. I wouldn’t swap places with anyone, right this minute. I’m so glad to have him here with me, and to know I’m not alone.

 

Later on, Tau texts. He tells me he’s got a letter from Winz, and his benefit has now reduced by half – something about missing a meeting. So I say I can come round after school, if he wants. And, ‘oh yea,’  he replies, not sounding too keen. But all the same, he’s let me know. It’s something, I guess. That Tau still believes I’d try to help.

I take Slade round there with me. I ask him if he wants to come, and he says yes straight away. Again, I just feel better, to know I’m not on my own with things.

Got a emergency ciggie in the car too, courtesy of Slade, when I drop him off after. Honestly, this is a kind act – and Slade’s not renowned for his overt kindnesses. As we pull up to his house, he says to me, “Miss, hold up a minute, I’ll go and get you a ciggie, kay? I won’t be long – I’ll roll you one.”

I start to laugh, and tell him,“Oh my goodness, that’s nice of you – but really, I don’t need to be smoking again.” (never mind my amo puffs)

“Nah Miss, just hold up and I’ll be back – you can have it for when you need to kick back,” Slade tells me, and he nips in and rolls me one (even puts a filter in), and comes back and hands it to me.

 

Wednesday 20 March:

Stuff keeps rolling right along, I get these little windows of opportunity to write it down.

Tonight I pick up Tau and a couple of the boys (Raphael, Elroy) from somewhere along Carthill Rd. It’s Elroy who 798’s me, and when I call him back, asks me to come, saying that Cluzo is ‘going hulk’ on everyone.

I get there, Raphael (taking over from Elroy, being the only one with credit) texting me the ongoing details of their flight through Carthill). Tau’s phone has gone missing, and he thinks Eddie’s taken it, so he’s chasing him down. I catch up with them near Clancy, where Tau is exerting his way along the road. I can only sit and watch as the denouement unfolds, and Tau steps out both Eddie and his dad. They sack it (according to analysis from the CP camp) and run inside. And then, somehow, Tau is persuaded to get into my car and be driven home.

“Sorry Miss…” he says, sitting heavily and drunkenly next to me. His voice is full of warmth and apology. I can hear him panting and breathing heavily. “I just hate it when cunts disrespect me,” he adds, in sorrowful tones.

“All good Tau,” I say. “All good.”

“Thanks Miss,” says Tau. This he repeats, several times as we drive.

 

I drop Tau and Raphael off at Fitzroy. Once they’re safely home, I take Elroy back to Carthill. He’s still drunk, and yells out at people as we drive along. I shush him and deflect the philosophical justifications he offers for his actions. We stop at Clancy for another cig, which we share on the outbound journey.

Then I come home, and fall into bed and sleep.

 

Thursday 21 March:

I’m so tired this morning. I take 9 Social to the library and kind of crash, gratefully, behind the librarian’s desk. She’s just saying to me that she’ll make us a coffee – when Kepaoa texts. He’s popped his knee again; can’t get to Carthill for his Winz meeting, and doesn’t know what to do.

I think about it for a couple of minutes. Then, “Can you do me a favour?” I ask the librarian.

“What’s that?” she says, in a easy way.

“Can you babysit my class while I go pick up… someone, and take him to an appointment?”

She doesn’t bat an eyelid. “Sure,” she says. No hesitation, no worries. And right then I really love her for that.

And off I go, just take my laptop to my room first, then leave. Pick up Kepaoa, take him to Winz, then the doctors, and get back to school in time for tutor.

The whole time I feel as free as a bird. My heart is singing, to be free. I know what my priorities are, and that’s all I need to know.

 

“You’re straight gangsta – that’s why,” Kepaoa tells me, when I say I’m feeling kickback about it.

“Well,” I reply, thinking about this. “It’s like that saying: It’s better to ask for forgiveness than ask for permission.”

And I guess that’s my motto, all day.

 

Later we just come back here. Kepaoa’s crashed out on the couch, and I gotta get ready for work tomorrow, to go teach stuff I don’t care about. I can’t even really pretend to care about any of it, today. Apart from Slade, like I said before.

 

 

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