A gaunt stranger came knocking at my door. She looked a bit like Laura so I let her in. Eyes blank but for a haunted hint of some unknown horror, and with an aura of absence, she stared ahead and remotely she spoke.
“I can’t go back to Pete’s, I have to get away
Please tell me where it’s safe for me to stay”
I asked her if my answer would suffice
because she rarely acts upon my advice
but she told me again that she had to leave
I looked at her face and I didn’t believe
that she really intended to carry it through
but I gave her the advice which she already knew
“you’ll be safe with you father if you mean what you say”
she told me she’d ring him straight away
that she had no heroin and was ready to cluck
she was staring at the wall in that distracted way
as she stood up and told me that she couldn’t stay
because she had to go back to Pete’s and apologise
because he was probably feeling traumatised
“so you’re not getting clean.” I heard myself say
“no, I don’t really feel like going away.
I’ll go back to Pete’s and I’ll go to bed.
I’m not getting clean,” my daughter said.
Half-an-hour later Pete rang me. Laura had climbed into his bed and started trying to kiss him. He turned his back on her. She stabbed him in the neck with an 8 inch kitchen knife. She was trying to kill him. He didn’t want to ring the police because he was afraid she may go to prison for attempted murder. In addition to that, some weeks ago she made erroneous statement against him to the police, and he is out on bail. One of his bail conditions is that he is not to have any contact with Laura. She kept going round to his place begging until he let her in. I explained that he was unlikely to get into trouble over that, because the police understand the situation with Laura.
I told him that if he didn’t make the call, I would, and I have done that. I consider that she is a danger to herself and others, and this was the only safe thing to do. I have never seen her looking quite the way she did tonight. During the brief time she was here, it wasn’t Laura but a monster. I think she has found a new legal high which is even more devastating than the previous one.
These days I don’t scare easily.
I’m frightened, and I feel very alone.
© Jane Paterson Basil