Friday 18 April, 2014:
First day of the holidays – I can hear Tau coughing outside, but he doesn’t sound too bad compared to yesterday. He and Leroi are just standing around laughing while he coughs, which is a good sign. Yesterday he couldn’t even raise a smile. He was real stoical about it, but I know it must have been pretty bad for them to call me at school.
Tau comes in to get another drink (he’s not actually too shy about filling up a cup of juice), and there I am, eating a yoghurt. Once again I feel guilty for eating. But there’s yoghurts in the fridge, there’s bacon and eggs, and sausages; muesli bars and chips and noodles in the pantry… and I wish they’d just come in and make some lunch, I wouldn’t care if they took it straight out to the sleepout again.
I’m just trying to let it go, that the boys are shy to do that. I can’t force them, and I don’t want to try. But at the same time, it bothers me, just because… I wish I knew how to do this stuff better.
Oh well, I’m not going to just go out so they can cook. At one time I used to do exactly that, with Tau. Not all the time – sometimes though, that’s what I’d do. Go out, hoping he’d come in and eat. But I can’t spend my days second-guessing the way people might be; the things they might want or be able to do.
And if I fixed lunch for everyone, I’d only be trying to ‘cater’ to them. And I’d know it, and they’d sense it – and it would feel like an imposition on both counts.
In the evening though, I make butter chicken and rice – and I take two plates out to the sleepout. This is accepted without the least resistance, and Tau in particular looks kind of relieved to be eating something sustaining. I see empty chip packets out there, which no doubt have contained their entire day’s nutrition, apart from the juice.
At least dinner they can handle, for some reason. Maybe because I’m just pragmatic about it, and it’s more of a daily routine (when I’m usually at work during the day and home for dinner).
I know they’re trying with all this, as much as I am. They’re here, and they’re reasonably safe, and they’re reasonably settled (so far), and Tau’s been to the doctors three times lately (totally amazing his family, I might add). And yeah, I still wish they’d eat, but sometimes they didn’t even eat at their place, Tau’s told me that often enough. So it is what it is. And I love them, for all their ways – not just the ways that I’d find easier – but all their ways.
Sometimes I say to myself: maybe one day things will be righted, huh? Everything good and right, for each of us, just like it’s meant to be.
Sunday 20 April:
I feel so bummed out by the fact that Sheree’s in the sleepout with Tau and Leroi. After an hour she still hasn’t so much as said hello, so I go out there – and it’s awkward. Once again, it feels like a demarcation, and also a kind of imprisonment for me. It’s a cold day, and there’s nowhere I need to be. And it’s not my fault that Sheree got evicted from Rutherford Ave, I tell myself. If they want to be together, well maybe she should have thought of that ages ago, when she maybe did get a 90 day eviction notice in the mail (that’s what Vailea thinks – that Sheree never read the mail, and there was a stack of letters and bills, and all the rest of it).
I want to burst into tears and then shout at her, “God, are you dumb or what? Go away, isn’t it enough that I’ve got the boys here Sheree? Don’t you think I care, don’t you think I got feelings? And yes, I’m on my own. And so what? Do you think I never had anything? Do you think I never had anyone? Do you think I’m not worth anything? Just fuck off and leave me alone, and go get yourself a damn house, and stop perching here like I don’t exist, and like all I am is a goddam place to be together when you need one.”
I bet Vailea Poe and Maxwell Rosdolsky never get themselves into this predicament. I bet they have a whole heap of people who love them for real, and they never get their priorities all mixed up; never get their boundaries blurred. Meanwhile I sit here like a creeping, shame-filled guest in my own home, while the three of them play at being happy families in the sleepout (which is a freakin mess, today, it honestly is – but that’s another story)
I’m very unhappy, and I don’t know what to do. So just for today, I’m going to act like I’m alright. So that Tau’s alright – I’ll do it, it’s enough of a reason. But there’s a big ache in my heart that won’t go away. It just says: You’re nothing, you got no-one.
It helps a little, tiny, teeny bit to write that down. I write to get myself out of so many deep holes, you know.
It starts to get dark; I go out again and Sheree’s asleep on the bed out there. And the only reason I’m putting up with it, is so I don’t hurt Tau, or make him feel shamed and worried about being here.
It would be different, maybe, if I wasn’t so hyper-aware of the bare facts. The fact that we aren’t actually ‘friends’, and I know it, of course I do. Sheree wouldn’t be here if she had a house. And yet, “Love you…” she says, and oh, maybe it’s true in one sense – but it hurts to think of that too, because it’s not ‘me’ that’s loved. It’s the fact that she’s grateful I’m such a freakin push over and have no boundaries in place for this kind of shit, and have obviously no life that anyone else gives a fuck about. That’s the only thing she ‘loves’ about me – that I’m a weak bitch who won’t act like I’m worthy of anything except being walked on.
The thing is, I don’t know how to get boundaries, with a family who pretty much don’t have boundaries.
I wrap myself in a rug, and sit out on the steps for a little while, thinking what to do… what to do.
It’s raining, and I realize that it isn’t a good idea for Sheree to walk home in the rain. So I think – okay, I know what to do. I’ll go ask if she wants a ride.
I kind of rehearse what to say. Then I go out to the sleepout and knock on the door, push it open… and there are Tau and Leroi, both sound asleep. Leroi’s on the bed, Tau’s on the couch. Sheree is nowhere to be seen.
I kneel down beside Tau, and just quietly say his name a couple times – and he opens his eyes.
“Where’s your mum?” I ask.
“She’s gone,” he says, his eyes flickering and drowsing.
“Oh, okay…” I murmur. “I didn’t want her to walk in the rain… I came to see if she wanted a lift.”
“Thanks, Miss… my uncle picked her up already,”
“Ohh…” I say.
His eyes slide shut again. I can see he’s stoned and tired, but quite calm. I’m doing okay, I think to myself. Not acting stressed, and not stressing him out.
Oh thank God she’s gone, is my next thought. And then I my body kind of slumps, as I finally allow myself to feel the energy drain of the past few hours.