I could not find any refuge. There was no refuge. Finding refuge is an illusion. Don’t fuck with me. Don’t fuck with my mind. I am no fool. There was no refuge to be found anywhere. Neither in my senses, nor in my thoughts. Definitely not in anything of the world either. I felt chased like shot game. Hunt down like a fox that got separated from its burrow by a pack of hounds. My breathing always superficial and high up in my chest. All of my tired muscles tense and ready to jump and run. My hands clutched ready to use the fists in my pockets to my defence. My eyes open even when I fell asleep. Sleep so I would not die, but never relax.
I did not stay at the train station. I could not cope with the idea of becoming a prostitute. Me, a whore. My body cramped up at the very thought of it alone. Never. I remembered what I tried to get away from in the first place as I took off from home. How could I be a whore? Memories haunted me. I got sick and soon after the forced blow job with David, I walked away from the train station knowing I could not return there.
I slept at the beach a lot. But I also found myself a nice small and quiet park. A rosary it was. At its centre the monumental, yet modest stone statue of a former Queen. Four stone steps leading up to her. “She who has been a mother to us all…” it said on the back of the wall standing tall behind her. Beautiful Art Nouveau print. “Her loving heart has included all of You.” Some Queen.
There were no roses yet on the bushes in the symmetrical park designed and developed in her honour. It was calm and quiet in the park. There were some twenty odd park benches alongside the neatly laid out paths in the rosary. All painted white. Fresh. Clean. Nobody ever sat on them. I found they were good to sleep on. Comfortable because they sort of took hold of me. They picked me up and carried me.
I opened my eyes. There was somebody standing, bowing down over me. Then I jumped up, straight over the back of the park bench, ran off a couple of steps. I stopped and turned around. “It’s okay. Don’t be afraid.” I heard. A gentle voice, softly speaking. A female voice. “It’s okay. I won’t hurt you.” Neither of us did a thing. I did not move. She did not move.
She was a lady. Middle aged. Maybe early in her fifties. “It’s okay. Really, it is.” she said. “Are you okay?” I just stood there, observing, nervously observing. She seemed to be oriental. Chinese maybe. Indonesian. A mix of both perhaps. She seemed friendly. “Don’t be afraid, dear. There is no need to be afraid. I won’t hurt you.”
“What are you doing here, dear?” she asked. “Were you asleep? Do you spend your nights here?” I felt this desperate need to trust someone again. To be with someone with whom I did not need to be on my guard with. “Are you alone, dear. Did you run away from home?” she said. She had a small dog with her. A small white dog that was eager to get to me and try to figure out who I was.
“Does your mother know where you are, dear?” I collapsed. My knees just gave way. I cried like a baby. The lady approached. “Now, dear, dear. Sweet child. It is all right, you know.” The dog jumped up to my face and licked me. Then he sniffed me out, all over the place. I must have been very interesting to him. Or her. The lady picked me up. “Now come, come.” She sounded very decisive. I got up and walked. The lady took my hand. “Come, dear. It is okay. Don’t be afraid.” I just walked with her.
My clothes were in the washing machine. I heard the radio in the kitchen. A normal house. A normal bed. The smell of fabric softener. Cigarette smoke drifted in through the opened door of the guest room I was in. The curtains on the windows to the street were closed. Garlic I smelled too. The lady was in the kitchen. I could hear her moving about there, doing something. The sound so familiar. The smells too. And yet they seemed to come from several lives ago.
Then the little dog walked into the room. He jumped up on to the bed. I let him. He sniffed me out again. I let him. He settled himself at the far end of the bed. I let him.