Long weekend

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It’s been a long weekend, starting on Friday afternoon. Laura was with me in my flat when I received a call from the inneffectual stand-in Supervisor of this sheltered housing complex (our lovely permanent Supervisor, Sandra, has been ill). He told me that it had been reported that Laura was in the building, and her ban was still standing, so she must leave immediately and not re-enter.

Laura was banned from the complex about fifteen months ago, as a result of a noise complaint. She was in psychosis at the time. She endangered nobody in the building, nor would she have at any point, but I was very shaky and her confused, aggressive presence increased my anxiety.

I have twice since been refused an assured tenancy due to this disturbance. It’s up for review next month and I was told I could expect it to be granted if there is no further trouble – but they said that six months ago, and changed their minds without any good reason.

Even a ‘lifetime’ ban from a shop tends to expire after a year or so, if there’s no cause to extend it, but I wanted to talk to Sandra as I felt that she’d support me in getting the ban squashed. However, she’s had a lot of illness lately, and I never managed to catch her when she was in the office. The few things I’d noticed about the stand-in hadn’t been promising.

So the ban was still in place when Laura got beaten up by that monster, and ran to me for support. Naturally I took her in – it’s in a mother’s contract, written in capitals. It overrides landlords rulings, and I didn’t think there would be a huge problem anyway; her behaviour is now beyond reproach. She hasn’t stayed with me every night, and we’ve arranged for her to move to safe place far from here, soon.

Laura was about to go out when I got the phone call. I told her what had happened. She raised no objections, even going so far as to comfort me, assuring me everything would be OK. She left to meet a friend, and I went down to the office to speak to the drippy stand-in nitwit, who at least made sympathetic noises and gave me a number to call.

I spoke to a secretary who said I’d get a callback from the appropriate officer. I wasn’t surprised when I didn’t. This was Friday; the weekend was looming. I prepared the food we’d planned to cook together, then we met and ate together, outdoors. She said she had somewhere safe to stay. I knew that her ‘safe’ place would put her at risk of weakening and using drugs, but I had to let her go.

On Saturday we met in the morning and again in the evening, dining on a park bench as we watched the sun go down. She said she had somewhere better to stay than the place where she’d been the previous night. We parted.

Yesterday was Mothers Day. It began with a lunchdate with my two elder daughters and their families. After lunch we all went to the park, where the little ones romped and played. I left them at about 4pm to meet Laura. We enjoyed a pub meal with coffee and followed it up with a long walk, sitting down every so often, as I tire easily these days. She said she was going back to the place she stayed on Saturday. I reminded her that we were having lunch with my sister today, and she was excited about it. She and my sister have a special bond. Sadly, Christine’s house is too crowded for a short-term guest.

She left me at about 7pm, walking in the opposite direction to the cosy sofa that was to be her bed for the night. She told me she had to see a friend first, but I knew she was going to a dealer’s house. I can spot the signs, however subtle.

This morning I couldn’t contact her. I went looking for her at the address where she should have been – she doesn’t know that I know it – but nobody was in, and I felt her absence stretch backward – I could sense that she hadn’t been there last night.

I came home, and – wonder of wonders – Sandra was back. I saw her through the office window, so I went in to ask if she’d seen Laura press the buzzer. She hadn’t and she made me sit down and tell her the whole story, then dialled 101 for the police, and handed me the phone. The police treated her disappearance as an emergency. As there were serious concerns for her safety she was put on the missing person’s list. A police officer quickly arrived to take down more details.

Meanwhile, Sandra got hold of the housing officer, and told him he must speak to me urgently. She was asked what she’d have done if she’d been in charge on Friday. She said she would have said Laura should stay with me.

As the policeman was about to leave, I got a phone call – from Laura. I was right – she never reached that safe sofa. She’d spent the night at a dealer’s house. It wouldn’t have happened if Laura had been with me.

The police officer arranged to meet her somewhere outdoors as she didn’t want to lead him to the dealer’s house. On the way to meet him, she bumped into her brother, Paul, who was out looking for her (he had a pretty good idea where she would be, and he was right). She’s had an aversion to her father’s home for some time, but between us, Paul and I persuaded her to stay there tonight, safely away from this town.

Thanks to Sandra’s intervention, the housing officer phoned me, but he said he had to speak to another officer before allowing  Laura back into the building. He asked if I knew of any official who could vouch for her, and I gave the drugs services – it was my only choice. He promised to try to get back to me tomorrow.

This evening I rang Laura. She was happily surrounded by Paul, his girlfriend, her dad, and the cat who disgraced herself on Saturday. She says she may stay there again tomorrow night. There was laughter in her voice.

And me? Maybe I’ll be able to eat some cereal, fruit and yogurt. A meal would be too much to cope with. I’m walked off my feet, my brain’s been fried by constant radioactive calls, and I need some sleep, but for the moment all’s almost well with my corner of the world.

Later, I’ll deal subtly with NNND (nasty neighbour next door), who made the complaint. She hates being caught telling tales, and she’s so bitter and twisted that she can’t stand to see people happy. I’ll give her my most sarcastic smile, and sweetly thank her for giving Laura the opportunity to meet a couple of helpful housing officers AND to prove herself worthy of entering the building. Maybe I’ll get Laura to help me with the garden. The added advantage there would be that NNND would see the other residents stopping to talk to Laura. She’s an attractive, personable woman, and quite a few of them like her.

Sweet revenge…

©Jane Paterson Basil

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32 thoughts on “Long weekend

    1. I’m confident that she will.
      When I’m anxious I can’t leave by the front door, even when accompanied, though I can get back in that way if someone is with me. However, I can get out through the emergency exit at the back. I explained all this to the twit, but he refused to let me use it without permission from head office, and he knows it’s hard to get their attention. Sandra allowed it. She knew that for me, it was an emergency exit, as it was the my only way out. I can’t leave by the front entrance even when accompanied. I know how silly this sounds, but my friends say that if they’d had my life they’d be catatonic by now…not that it’s been all bad.

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  1. So sorry. Hard enough to deal with the decisions we make ourselves, let alone those others make. Do you know if your daughter took drugs when she was at the dealer’s? If she didn’t, what a coup for her!!!

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    1. She went there for drugs, and if she hadn’t used, she’d have remembered that she was meant to be meeting my sister. These slip-ups are a part of recovery, and not being able to stay with me was a knockback. Soon she’ll have a new life, with new people. I think she has a great future ahead of her.

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      1. That’s great. If I ever have trouble figuring out why someone would backslide into drugs, all I have to imagine is a pint of ice cream in the freezer or a bag of potato chips in the cupboard, and I understand completely!!!

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          1. We all need a few aspects wherein we feel superior. I am excellent at avoiding fish and organ meats! Cheesecake? I share your vice and there is a guy, Lionel, who comes by my house twice a day selling it when I’m at the beach.

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            1. Tell Lionel I love him. Tell him I’m 25 years old, beautiful and loving. Tell him I’ll give him the world on a plate, if only he’ll give me lots of cheesecake on a thousand plates. Say what you like, but bring him to me with a wheelbarrow full of ingredients. 😀 😀 😀

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    1. She used. She wouldn’t have gone there for any other reason.
      She has to give two weeks notice for her script to be transferred, and she wants to have been clean for six days when she goes. Her script is being raised to make it easier for her, but it’s not easy to stay off drugs when you’re surrounded by them. I wish she’s just go, and get clean there, but she’s afraid her stomach may be upset at first, and it would be awkward and humiliating…

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        1. Heroin enters the brain rapidly and changes back into morphine. It binds to opioid receptors on cells located in many areas of the brain. It tricks the addict into thinking it’s more needed than the essentials – food, shelter and reproduction – even when logic says otherwise.
          Huge respect to the addict who gets clean… They often quietly go on to great things, because they are great people.

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            1. I’m no angel, and neither am I an Amazon. I’m an average mother who loves her children. I’ve had over 10 years with two addicts, but still I sometimes screw up, and sometimes I collapse – as you know…

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      1. What does “for her script to be transferred” mean, Jane? Unclear to me what script is. Is it a stipend? What does it need to be transferred to? Sorry for all the questions, but I guess we all have curious minds or we wouldn’t be here in this blogging universe.

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        1. It’s a prescription – in this case for methodone, a government controlled synthetic opiate designed to wean addicts off heroin. It’s disgusting stuff, but it holds the patient without getting them high.
          She has to have it transferred to another pharmacy.
          I’m always happy to answer questions.

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      1. I seriously use a mask these days to sleep. I found that there’s just too much light in the room and we only have a digital clock and a fire detector. Odd, isn’t it? Hope you do get enough rest and if you don’t, I hope it does not cause too much difficulty.

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            1. My jaws are aching from it, and the best thing is that the Housing Association are bending over backwards to be nice to me – I think they know I’ve been treated unjustly. I didn’t even have to mention that I’d go to the local press if my wish wasn’t granted 🙂

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