Fraser had been moved to a semi open prison in Woking and I’d been forced by the dole office to sign up to job club. I worked hard at job club, got my job club pencil and with a new CV (including my now extensive Samaritan experience) was presented with a job in women’s health. I was feeling better and didn’t care that I wasn’t in a band or doing anything that seemed remotely exciting to me, I enjoyed working at a hospital. Fraser and I were going straight, we both had negative HIV tests (his in prison) and I’d been kicked out of a squat and had found a ‘proper’ room in a flat near Elmstead Woods, a bit further South than I would have liked, but cheap.
Visitors Orders to see Fraser were split between me, his friend, and his drug dealer.
“Hi, Liz, great to see you again, you know what’s happening, better than Wandsworth, you went in when they were on strike? Couldn’t get nothing in ….” blah bloody blah. We were queueing at the entrance. The dealer talked shite, she was off her head.
That visit was shite too, I sat patiently while dealer woman continued to talk shite with Fraser. I waited for my one on one time with him but I didn’t get it. Instead this sleazy woman snogged him vehemently as he swallowed the gear she passed over.
“We better not kiss for now. Don’t want them getting confused. ” Fraser said. “I’m not doing it myself, I’m selling. Need money to come out to my wifey.” He grinned at me and nodded at his older woman.
“I fucking hate her” I said to Sam when we were out for a drink later.
“I’m not surprised. Bitch”
I’d met Sam at the Samaritan’s. He was volunteer no. 311 and we’d become the best of friends/soul mates since I’d got back from travelling and Marni had submerged herself with American Lang who had moved to London. Sam was gay and didn’t have a partner but after our drinking sessions he would go to late clubs in Soho while I got the train back to Elmstead Woods to get up early for work at the Women’s hospital.
“We’ll go Pride at the weekend,” he said. “That’ll cheer you up.”
So we went to Gay Pride at Brockwell Park and we danced in the dance tent, I was off my head having a great time then something came over me, the Ecstasy of ecstasy turned into rage, I was angry with Fraser – really angry. I’d remained faithful all this time, hanging out with Sam so as not to be tempted.
I looked up at the largest pole in the middle of the Marquee that was in front of us. I’d always been good at climbing poles. Most of us primary school girls discovered masturbation climbing up ropes. In PE lessons we would race to the top, cling on for a bit, go red then climb down, watched upon by gym teacher Miss Lee who also watched us change.
I was gonna go up this big thick pole and had reached the top before Sam realised I was no longer strutting my stuff with him. I started a craze and soon every pole in the marquee had someone at the top or part the way up with fat security men in shiny black jackets pulling them down.
“The music will stop if you don’t get down” an announcement from a mic barely heard over the music.
A circle of these men that Sam called ‘internalised homeopobics’ gathered at the bottom of my pole and I was forced to come down with the threat of one climbing up to get me and chucking me out.
I didn’t want to be manhandled by security so did as I was told and continued dancing with Sam as if nothing had happened, but my thighs were red raw, burned from the pole – that’s how hurt I was with Fraser. Drugs always came before me, even if he was saving money for us on the outside, which I wasn’t sure I believed anyway.
On the other hand I’d become Sam’s hero and his mates flocked over to congratulate me and give me more drink and drugs. I stayed at Sam’s squat that night and he was really turned on by me for a while. I insisted he wear a condom and we did it and never spoke about it after – ever.
Sam and I remained soul mates for the next year. Fraser was coming out of prison soon and would meet Sam and would never expect anything could/would happen between us. He couldn’t possibly be jealous. It was Fraser’s first trial weekend release and his prison officer was happy that he would spend it with me at the Elmstead Woods ‘witches’ flat. He might be ok with Sam but I knew he would hate my flat mates.