I can’t believe it’s only been five years since I left my old life behind. Five years ago I was a heroin addict and sex worker, I lived with a partner who also had a heroin habit, we were co-dependant through and through. We’d known each other for five years and had lived together for most of that time. Our habits kept us tightly connected, we shared a strange existence, one that was raw, extreme and full of highs and lows. We came to know each other in ways that are hard to describe, when you risk death regularly, when you live on the fringes of society, you’re forced to create a bubble in which your own rules and values apply. We’d been with each other through so much and the thought of separating paths was painful. It was necessary though, as we knew neither of us would change if we stayed together.
We loved each other but hated ourselves.
Marcel has been lovely, he’s trying so hard to get a new life started, sticking to his script and hoping to get a job on the boat again. It’s brill to see him getting on with it. We’ve shared so much, and all through the abuse case he was there to cheer me up. I know it was dysfunctional in way’s, me paying for us with sex work but he did try too and worked when he could. I was too easy on him at times, I allowed it to happen, he likes to be taken care of so it was a bit doomed really but at least we found the most special friendship along the way, he saw me like nobody else, he helped me to admit the darkness within. I want him to be safe and to enjoy life, I want him to be happy.
So it’s really here, tonight I stay in my new place alone, the next phase begins. No longer a victim, I’m a survivor now. It’s scary at times, I feel the emotion welling up inside, doubts surface and I start to think maybe I should just see a few more clients. I doubt my ability and talents, I fear getting it all wrong and not finding my way. I have to remember what is yours will come to you.
So Charlie and I did a final Westward Ho! walk to say goodbye, we walked up through the woods, along Cornborough Road and into the village, went to Tescos and pet shop, and now I’m back at the flat looking out to sea, admiring the view that has calmed and soothed me over recent years.
At that point Marcel came back, it was a little weird, all my stuff packed up, the flat looked empty, an echo in the room that made things feel hollow and empty. He was trying to be positive but I could tell he was finding it hard too, what do you say at a time like this. We went to get fish and chips, collected our scripts and then the time for goodbye arrived. We hugged, we cried, I tried to swallow hard but the tears kept streaming. Marcel said he loved me, that he’d miss me and Charlie, I said the same and tried to cheer him up by saying it’ll be nice when he comes to visit, he joked about me becoming a famous writer or activist. I told him how proud I was of him for trying to turn things around. Then with a final hug I departed, it was like ripping us apart, a thread being severed.
I sobbed as I descended the stairs, trying to encourage Charlie who was confused about what was happening. Marcel called out goodbyes, good lucks and I love you’s, be careful he said, and then I shut the door. Bang, closed to the past, Bang, a new stage begun. The car was loaded heavily and Charlie was stressed out, I tried to drive steadily and just get there asap, I was full of tears and sadness.
As I got closer to Cornwall I began to feel better, the fear and doubt were slowly fading and I knew things would be ok. I’ve finally done it. As I drove into Cornwall I smiled, leaving Devon behind, I drove across Bodmin Moor and was delighted by the barrenness of the moor, and I as I drove towards Penzance I could see St Michaels Mount welcoming me to the town. I felt a joy inside, a light energy started to stir and excite me, it’s beautiful here, I love it! The next six months will be my healing time, my own rehab, recovery and spiritual retreat, all supported by the energy of this special place, I feel like I’ve come home somehow, I can feel mum with me, I see signs and signals everywhere.
I woke this morning feeling a bit chilly and peaky, adjusting to getting the methadone in my system fully and the gear out, my lower back was hurting like hell. I’ve become so weak since being on the gear, I can’t wait to get healthy again, it’ll feel amazing to have natural energy and enthusiasm rather than depending on chemicals to sustain me.
Reading back over these journal notes brings up so much for me, I’m sat typing this post in the same barn conversation I moved to five years ago, that’s the most settled I’ve been in my whole life. Now I can’t imagine living anywhere else, this is my home, this place sustains me now. My dog Charlie is still by my side, nature greets me daily and is always happy to lend an ear. I’m also writing which is what I wanted to do when I first came here, I’ve nearly finished my memoir and it’s going off to the editor at the end of the month. When I think about it, my life is exactly how I wanted it to be five years ago when I moved here; dreams to come true, change is possible. I still miss Marcel and think of him daily, I’m not sure where my life would be without meeting him, I’ll always be grateful for what we shared, people are more than just labels, we may have been known as junkies and rogues but we were both much more than that, and when we looked each other in the eye we shared something that others would never understand or know, we could speak a thousand words in just one look. I love memories.
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