The next week there was a party after the pub. It was full of much older boys and men, some I recognized from the pub, some I didn’t. Everyone had stoned red eyes, some slumped on the floor, some congregated around an armchair in the corner of the room. A small man sat on the chair, legs not reaching the floor. He had curly hair and looked like Leo Sayer, I’d liked his no.1 hit “When I Need You” and bought his album a few years before but didn’t tell anyone cause I should have been buying punk or something cool.
Someone told me the small man was Colin and he was supplying the drugs. I sat in a circle on the floor in front of the big armchair where Colin remained the entire time, when he wasn’t selling he was eyeing me up. I got more and more stoned and saw dragons coming out of another guy’s thick tattooed neck.
“What’s going on with you and the dealer?” Marni asked as we stumbled home from the party arm in arm.
“He just took my number,” I said. “He’s called Colin.”
“You getting speed off him?”
“So you’re not gonna going out with him. He’s weird. He’s got hairy nostrils.”
“No.” I assured her.
“He looks like Leo Sayer”
“I thought that,” and we sang and danced our way home to a chorus of “When I need you, I just close my eyes and I’m with you…..” Marni may have had the album too.
Colin rang in the week and we arranged to meet that Saturday night at a pub in Westcliff-on-Sea in the so called red light district of Southend. Feeling a little out of my Rayleigh comfort zone I sat by the door on a padded bench where I picked at yellow foam that was spilling out from a large hole in the seam of the padded seat. I chain smoked and Colin supplied me with vodka and tonics while spending most of his time at the bar talking to scantily clad female bar staff who were obviously men dressed up. The walls and ceiling of the pub were grottier than the Rayleigh pubs, the tobacco stains were darker and it stunk of that stale fag and alcohol smell but it was only 8pm.
I was relieved we didn’t stay till closing and Colin walked me back to his bedsit, minutes from the pub. His room was in a Victorian terrace house that had been made into bedsits.
We lay on his bed and smoked joints then he got off the bed, pulled down the zip of my top and peeled off my tight skinny zebra jeans. I don’t think we kissed or anything, he just went down on me but when he did I didn’t like it, I hated it. I wanted to scream but I couldn’t. My mouth was open and dry, my jaw was locked.
There was a portable TV standing on a small table to the right of the bed. It wasn’t switched on but I tried to focus on it and pretend I was at home watching Starsky and Hutch. TV, curly head, locked jaw, I don’t know what else happened. When, whatever happened was over, we put our clothes back on and he escorted me out of his bedsit and down the stairs. He called me a taxi from a communal pay phone in the hallway.
I didn’t tell Marni or Julie about my night with Mr hairy nostrils, I got weed from Flea for cover up in case Marni asked about getting speed off me that week. I didn’t even fancy Leo Sayer, I don’t know why I’d done it, I was ashamed with myself.
From then I endured a recurring nightmare where I would wake up with my mouth open and dry, trying to scream.