Three songs and a hirsute man

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Trigger Warning: Irresponsible Drug Use, Custody Issues
This isn’t a sexy post, it’s about some of life’s hard lessons. I started thinking about #MasturbationMonday’s prompt and this is where it took me.
Part of my intention when starting this blog was to go over my past and try to make some sort of peace. You tend to do things like that when you get older…


I haven’t linked it to MM – it doesn’t seem fair somehow, but the tank is pretty empty ATM so this is all I have. I will link it to #WickedWednesday since I’m doing the roundup – it doesn’t fit the prompt, but perhaps there is a measure of wickedness in here…

 

In another time and another place, a man sought me out. He arrived unexpectedly at my back door early on a Sunday afternoon and I invited him in for tea, pathetically grateful for the company and attention. His bearded smile lit up the pale blue eyes behind his glasses as he stepped inside.

We chatted, gossip about uni mostly. Bradley was a techie in the Humanities department where I was studying.  We’d exchanged pleasantries in the past as we went about our respective days. His use of ‘substances’ was an open secret: my ex-husband Bob and I had bought a small amount of weed from him at one time, a purchase that would ultimately cost me dearly. The ‘powers that be’ suspected he smoked pot, but he was always freshly showered, and they did not connect the familiar matchstick in the corner of his mouth with the consumption of hash oil.

Bradley’s presence on my doorstep was a surprise, and I don’t think that I ever did ascertain how he knew I was now living on my own, nor how he had obtained my address. Around four thirty he asked if I’d like to come back to his house and I said yes. That single word signaled the beginning of a short but problematic relationship. Back at his house Bradley made more tea, we kissed – a finger under my chin to lift my shy face to his – a gesture I now believe is a submissive trigger for me; he rolled a joint, and after a little while we repaired to his single bed for sex.

There I encountered the strangeness of a new body, chest covered in the same tight golden wiry curls that adorned his head. I saw how different he looked when he removed his glasses, how blue and gentle his eyes were. I don’t remember the sex, but I believe it was pleasurable and insistent – reflecting both my awkwardness and our mutual arousal.
I do, however, remember him leaping out of bed energetically afterwards to roll another joint and play his keyboard and sing  for me…

“Here comes the sun (doo doo doo doo)
Here comes the sun, and I say
It’s all right
Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It’s all right…”
The Beatles, Here Comes the Sun, Abbey Road, 1969
The Beatles lyrics are property and copyright of their owners.
“Here Comes The Sun” lyrics provided for educational purposes and personal use only.
Copyright © 2000-2018 AZLyrics.com

After years of feeling disposable and unremarkable this act was special and utterly wonderful to me. I lay relaxed and naked, cocooned in his blankets, listening, watching and exchanging smiles as he played into the evening, his spectacles flashing with delight as he shared his repertoire of music with me. Eventually as the golden afternoon gave way to dusk, my own and Bradley’s state of nakedness was replaced by clothing and we headed to the pizza shop in his drafty panel van.
The man, his music, the dope and the panel van became familiar territory in the succeeding months we spent in each others company.  We made no pretence of love, but our non-monogamous relationship was, in the first instance, an anodyne to my loneliness, sadness and eroded confidence. Our time together occurred during a tumultuous period of my life, which happened in the aftermath of my separation from Bob.
I was in the latter part of my second year at uni, and three weeks after our initial encounter I moved into a new shared house close to the main railway line – with Bradley and Con – a sexy, opinionated, misogynistic Greek man with long dark hair (there’s that trigger again), whose bastard idea it was to introduce me to the Lou Reed song featured below at a time when I was very vulnerable. My strange encounter with Gerard occurred during this time, another, even stranger, occurred with Con, which I may or may not discuss here at a later time.
Bradley and I were comfortable enough with each other. He had his music and I, my studies. We travelled a little and camped in the back of his panel van on at least two occasions.
Together we also encountered the shock of hearing a radio announcement that John Lennon had been assassinated (8 Dec. 1980). It’s an experience that remains etched hard in my memories. We were driving around a roundabout en route to my parents house when the music program was abruptly interrupted.  As the import of the broadcast hit, Bradley took the first exit and pulled over to the side of the road, so we could listen incredulously to the details, hold each other and cry over the loss of our icon.
Even today I cannot go around that roundabout without remembering.
We each had separate rooms in that cheap shoddy house with its proximity to shunting trains and strange brightly coloured (hot pink, burnt orange, bright yellow, bright purple) mismatched wallpaper. While the other rooms were covered in matching stripes or patterns, my room was adorned with the leftovers – one wall striped and the remainder  patterned, but I chose it because it was at the rear of the house and quieter.
Having few possessions I slept on a mattress over which I had erected a wooden pyramid lent to me by a friend, and hung my clothes from a makeshift metal rack. To gain some privacy (the lounge room was a regular drop in centre for Bradley’s ‘friends’) I  set up an outdoor area in the narrow passageway between the house and the neighbours fence and accessed it via my bedroom window. Here I rigged up  makeshift shelves and began to grow some herbs again.
While I sought to make a home of sorts in that house, I was concurrently fighting a losing battle with my ex-husband over custody of our daughter. In that situation and that environment my drug intake went from “almost nonexistent” to “fairly regular”, and my experiences broadened from the consumption of pot to mushrooms and hash oil.  Recreational pot use was not at all unusual in those days – especially amongst the uni crowd and it might not have been a problem if my ex  had not taken every advantage of my lack of judgement in moving in with Bradley.  As it was Bob used his prior knowledge of Bradley’s connection to drug use to devastating effect.
The night I heard I’d lost custody of my daughter I walked to the top of the nearby railway bridge. Misty rain and darkness concealed my tears, and I stood there a long time thinking about the situation I had created.

They’re taking her children away
Because they said she was not a good mother
They’re taking her children away
Because of the things that they heard she had done
The black Air Force sergeant was not the first one
And all of the drugs she took, every one, every one
Lou Reed, The Kids, Berlin 1973
Lou Reed lyrics are property and copyright of their owners.
“The Kids” lyrics provided for educational purposes and personal use only.
Copyright © 2000-2018 AZLyrics.com

Later some railway men spotted and admonished me: “Don’t you jump love!”
“I won’t” I answered, already resolved to own my mistakes, and somehow continue to fight to get my child back. I turned away and began to walk back down the road. As I reached the bottom, Bradley materialised out of the darkness, wrapping me in his corduroy coat, guiding me towards ‘home’. Seconds later a police patrol car came by, alerted by the railway men. They spoke briefly to us and swung away leaving us to it.
Three weeks later, I moved out of the shared house, and out of my relationship with Bradley. I haven’t touched weed or any other form of dope since, initially because I  refused to give Bob any further ammunition, later because it became symbolic of my foolishness. In words attributed to Lennon: “A mistake is only an error, it becomes a mistake when you fail to correct it.”
It took me several years to gain the courage to challenge the access conditions to my daughter, and even more time before she was old enough to choose to come and live with me. In the years we were separate I only missed one access visit even though I had moved to Melbourne to work and study. The missed visit was a result of hospitalisation following a medical emergency that nearly killed me.
Despite everything my daughter and I are very close and while I still feel I made a huge error back then I no longer feel like I was a “bad parent”. I was going through some old boxes today and found this postcard she gave me at a time when I wasn’t liking myself very much. I know I’m not the only parent out there that hasn’t “got it right” – if this resonates with and in some way makes you feel kinder toward yourself then more good has come from sharing this.

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I don’t know what happened to Bradley, we lost touch after I moved to Melbourne. In retrospect this was still a time of strange innocence for both of us, and the start of steep learning curve for me. Some lessons from that time I’ve retained, but others remain a mystery and a work in progress.

The years have passed so quickly
One thing I’ve understood
I am only learning
To tell the trees from the wood
I Know (I Know), John Lennon  Mind Games, 1973
John Lennon lyrics are property and copyright of their owners.
“I Know (I Know)” lyrics provided for educational purposes and personal use only.
Copyright © 2000-2018 AZLyrics.com
 To see who else is playing Wicked Wednesday  this week click on the link

 

4 thoughts on “Three songs and a hirsute man

  1. Oh hun, I felt a lump in my throat reading this. Hard times, but you lived through them and it made you stronger. Words everyone always say and they sound like a cliché, but they are true. I have made many mistakes with my kids and for many years (and sometimes still) I am afraid they might not want me in their lives, but love has always pulled us through. Even the mistakes I made was made out of love, because at the time I thought it was the best thing to do. Thank you for sharing from the hard times of your life.

    Rebel xox

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you I really appreciate your kindness, I was pretty unsure about putting this one out there. I am so lucky to have the love and acceptance of my girl. I have always followed Aphrodite’s star and it’s got me into a fair bit of strife over the years (and still) with love and sex so intertwined. And creativity. One of the things I appreciate about John Lennon was/is his advocacy of love (and peace).

      Like

  2. Gosh this is really powerful Indy and so powerful. Parenthood is the toughest job ever and you don’t have any clue if you have done a good job until much later. Trouble is there are so many people out to trip you up, I am so happy that your daughter saw through everything. What an interesting life you have led!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Julie, like most other people I’ve just lived it without too much planning. Or at least the kind of planning that John Lennon refers to in his famous quote. Life for me has happened despite my plans. It’s certainly had its emotional ups and downs… xx

      Like

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