Friday 7 March, 2014:
I’m fine all day until Chloe’s baby shower, which seems to drain the resilience out of me. Not that I say so, or act so. I mix and mingle with everyone, eating a duckling-yellow sugar cupcake (Chloe doesn’t know if she’s having a boy or a girl). I participate in all the games, which include singing lullabies, naming baby items and guessing on the staff baby photos. I do this because I like Chloe, and because I don’t want to be rude.
But I’m pretending the whole time. The event reminds me uncomfortably of all the managed ‘fun’ that I hate about school. So I go home feeling very subdued
Saturday 8 March:
I drive to the beach, take off my shoes and walk along the sand, finishing right up at the other end of the strand, where I sit on some rocks for a while, just breathing in the air and taking a couple pictures on my phone. You know… it isn’t much; it’s nice all the same.
Sunday 9 March:
Wake to a very loud knocking on the door. It’s 6 am but still dark, and I stumble to open up, rubbing my eyes, before stopping to ask, “Who is it?”
The front door jams again, so I go round the side to the French doors, and let him in.
We hug, and I notice straight away that he’s fully sober (which to be honest I wasn’t expecting, considering the earliness of the hour).
“You okay?” I ask.
“Just been let out of the cells,” he tells me.
Now the sobriety makes more sense. “Tau?” I say, just giving his shoulder a little squeeze. “What were you doing in there?”
“Honestly, Miss, I can’t remember,” Tau tells me. “I’ve been thinking about it all the way here. Fuck, I’ve got no idea what they took me in for. I can’t remember anything.”
“Ok,” I say, without the least judgement to make about this. “Well, at least they let you out, huh.”
“Sorry for for waking you up, Miss,” Tau goes on. “But do you think you could… give me a lift home, please?”
“All sweet,” I say. “Just hold on a second, I’ll go get my shoes.”
“So what can you remember?” I enquire as we drive.
“Last night was alright… we were just drinking with the boys, round at mine. Kost and them, and Raphael, too.”
“Oh,” I say. “And is that where the cops picked you up?”
“I think so,” Tau says, and I can see he is trying hard to remember. “I think the neighbours came over, and…” He ruminates on this for a bit and adds, “I think they came with weapons and shit.”
“Fuck!” I exclaim. “You got beef with the neighbours now?”
“Maybe they wanted you to turn down the noise,” I suggest mildly – and the thought of it makes us both snort with laughter.
“Fuck, Miss, I think there was some trouble though.”
And then the cops turned up?”
“Think so,” he surmises.
“Oh well, at least you’re out now, Tau,” I say again. Which indeed is true. A thought occurs to me, and I ask, “But you don’t have to go court or anything, do you?”
“No – but Leroi’s still in the cells. He’s got to go court on Monday, there was a warrant out for him. When I got let out, he was calling out, ‘Bro, are you leaving me?’” Tau laughs at this, managing to convey that Leroi was ok, and irritable rather than upset.
“Why did they have a warrant out for Leroi?” I ask.
“Not doing his PD hours,” Tau tells me.
“Oh well, at least it isn’t major,” I say, taking this as a slight positive. “And yours was just… to sober up, right?”
“Yup, just a detox.”
“Well, that’s good,” I say.
“And did the cops ever catch up with you?” I wonder, after the time I’d seen them on the day of Scott’s funeral.
“Yeah, they did,” Tau says. “They tried to give me four hundred spot, the sneaky bastards.”
“Is that what they were after?” I say, as the situation begins to make sense.
“Yeah Miss, they asked me if I wanted the money, at first I was like – oh, yup, and then I thought about it and asked them, “So… what happens if I take the four hundred dollars?”
“Ohhh,” I say, getting it. “And, if you did…”
“Yeah, if I did, that meant I was saying it was mine, and…”
“And then you can be charged with dealing,”
“Yup,” says Tau. “So I told them, “You can keep the money.” He adds, “Bummer,” and I start to laugh. “Geez, they can be tricky like that,” I say, thinking about their strategies almost admiringly. I knew there’d be more to it than the cops had suggested to me at the time.
By the time we get to Rutherford Ave, Tau has started to recollect and process a little more of the night’s events.
“I think, I’m not sure… I think I might have smashed up the house,” he reflects, as I pull into the drive. He looks at the windows (which seem to be intact) and remarks, “Ohhh, hotty.”
“I remember the neighbours did come over… and I was trying to pick up chairs and smash them over their heads and shit. I don’t think anyone could control me…” he says, rather sorrowfully. “So I think it might be my fault that the cops came, and that we got taken to the cells.”
“Well, never mind that, at least everyone’s alright,” I say with some actual cheer, knowing it could have ended up a lot worse. I stop the car, and we just look at one another. “I’m glad you’re alright, but just take it easy, ok?” I conclude.
“I’ll try,” he says.
And I can sense we’re both trying to just keep things light.
Later, Mia and I wind up at the park, where we get ice-cream and sit on the grass under the shade of a huge tree. Mia tells me all about her dates (there are many) – I must say it makes me even less inclined towards online dating than I was before. It’s kind of fascinating listening to those stories, though.
Afterwards I come home and cook up a big as stir fry.