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Saturday, March 11, 2006 

The Price of Everything

“The best things in life are free.” The Beatles, Money.

She was fifteen. Barely that, having only just had her birthday the week before. He was twenty three. It was, as these things always are, at a party. She’d been drinking for six hours, he was probably worse. I knew she’d gone, but I couldn’t find her. A pretty large part of me didn’t want to find her. When she came back I’d collapsed.

We haven’t had a mother. I couldn’t be a mother to her, she was too strong willed and stubborn. But I was her confidante, I looked after her, stuck up for her, helped her whenever I could. But I couldn’t stop her, and I couldn’t leave her. So while I waited I drank. I drank away the memory. I saw her walking out the door, hand in hand with him, into the darkness. I just kept seeing it; over and over. And every time it came back I’d drink more, faster.

She came and lay next to me, “I’m sorry Harriet, I’m so sorry, I know its cos’ve me, I’m just so sorry.” I cried. I cried as she told me all of it; I didn’t want to know, I didn’t want her to tell me. It hurt too much- I understood. She went to the hospital the next morning and took the morning after pill. When she got home she cried too. She cried for hours with my dad shouting in the background, wanting to know what the hell was going on. I told him she was feeling really ill and that someone had rejected her the night before. He believed me unquestioningly.

I knew it had to happen eventually. She looks old for her age, and she dresses provocatively. She wasn’t ready. I knew it, she screamed at me when I approached the subject with her months before that. She knew she was ready, how dare I try to influence her life like that, it was none of my business. But I knew what would happen, I went through the same phase at her age, and I knew how much she would regret it.

The best things in life aren’t free; they come at a high cost emotionally. It took her weeks to recover, and six months later she still hasn’t regained nearly half of her previous confidence. She regrets it. I don’t tell her, “I told you so.” I barely tell her anything anymore. We don’t talk; I find it hard to get on with her at all. I love her, but ever since then I’ve found it increasingly hard to communicate with her.

Yesterday she cried. She told me that she feels like she can’t talk to anyone anymore, like I hate her. She feels lonely and hates it because she’s always fighting with both me and dad and there’s no one on her side anymore. I can’t explain why I’m not on her side anymore. I know that I stopped sticking up for her, I stopped covering for her. In a slightly vindictive way, I guess I’ve made things harder for her recently. She was hurt that I’d returned from my interview and she’d had to hear what had happened from dad as I was on the phone to Stacey.

I don’t know. I guess I just gave up. I still remember feeling completely powerless, it’s the one feeling that I can’t physically tolerate. Whenever it happens I do something incredibly stupid. Since that Saturday night I haven’t been properly drunk. I have had only one hangover, but it didn’t even compare to the one I had at work the next day. They nearly sacked me for that one shift alone. Since then I haven’t been sick while drunk or hungover. So it cured me of binge drinking, it cured her of casual sex, and it stuck a gradually widening rift between us. I knew there was nothing else I could do for her. And I don’t know what I can do now.

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About me

  • An albatross can fly for thousands of miles without getting tired. I've always thought that love is similar to flying, therefore we should aspire to be like the albatross.

    I don't know if I can do that. So far I haven't been so lucky. But one day I'll test my wings with someone, and flying won't be so hard after all. Or so painful.
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    * In 2001 one New Zealand fishing boat killed over 300 seabirds in just one trip, while fishing for ling.
    * Each year over 300,000 seabirds are killed by longline fishing.
    * Over the past 60 years some albatross populations have declined by 90%.
    * Annually around 10,000 albatross and petrels are caught in New Zealand waters alone.
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