Victim Support

John came to bed shortly after me and I came after him, still groaning as he pushed me off to go wash himself in the bathroom sink.

He’d wanted up at eight but, when I got up at ten to, asked to be let sleep till quarter past. He can drop off at the drop of, though claiming to have had little from the inconvenience of having to leave before Victim Support came at nine-thirty. He takes for ever to get himself ready, what with having what he calls getting smoked (I think), and had not left before Annie buzzed and I let her come up. “You let her in!” “I couldn’t keep her waiting.” He hid in the bathroom to slip out once she was ensconced in the room. This had precedence. I’d pushed Harvey in, when Del called, if he wanted to keep the relationship clandestine. Unlike Del, the probability was Annie wouldn’t want to go on coming in.

Our talk was interrupted by John’s knocking at the outside door to ask might he have his keys and bag he’d left. He might.

She’ll let me know come December when the assailant is released on licence. I’m not forbidding him Richmond. He’ll have conditions with respect to me and I’m fearless. What was interesting was he’d phoned the police from a box outside the Orange Tree twenty-four hours or so after the assault to ask could he return to pick up things from Cairns’ he’d left though he’d left nothing, so far as I could recall, and the police followed his progress by CCTV through Richmond till he caught a cab they caught the number of. Even more interesting was Annie hadn’t made the inference he was virtually giving himself up, though I didn’t know how consciously.

I was hoovering afterwards when John startled me. He’d been waiting for me in the library, forgetting Friday is my cleaning day. I’d had time to think about his smoking heroin in my flat, harbouring a fugitive and so on. “This can’t go on,” I said. He agreed. Getting a job and his own place was no problem. He’d acquire methadone and wean himself off by reducing the dosage day by day. “And the alcohol. And, while you’re at it, smoking. I hate smoking.” Giving up tobacco was a withdrawal too far. I believed him. He was in good faith. He’d do it.

He wanted a fortifying drink before leaving again and reached for the nearest mug on the sill – “Don’t – “, spilling contents on his smart jacket, – “Do that!” – tipping the rest into the sink. Too late. “Is it bleach!” he looked aghast. “It’s milk! From your coffee! I was saving for cocoa. You just do things!” “Yes,” he cheerfully agreed, making me feel petty, crying over spilt milk.


About johnbrucecairns

I'm a retired history teacher who's written for most of his life with a book readied for publication.
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