*glowing winter sun in London at 9am this morning
Telling sad stories is a tricky one and as time ticks by, I find it harder. The world is alarming enough without revealing the sad intricacies of people’s intimate lives. That said, great writing overrides that for me. Because as much as these stories might be difficult to hear, this is life and the people who capture it succinctly should have a platform.
‘Into each life a little rain falls’ as my mum once said when I moaned about losing a ring that I loved. She’s right, in the way that mums are. In the scheme of things, jewelry loss is no biggie compared to the big shit. I used to have a friend who said he wanted his life to be ‘perfect’. ‘Blissful’ was the actual word he used and whilst I don’t want to discourage you from seeking bliss, if you want it on a permanent basis, good luck with that. Im not convinced its the best use of your time. A permanent state of blissfulness would soon cease to have meaning or interest because it would become the norm i.e. dull. The mill needs grist. This is how we learn, improve and appreciate the good times. In the first world, that might be the days when we don’t lose jewellery. For a lot of people it will be the days on which they get to eat. With Ally in mind, I'm thinking about the occasions when human beings get to connect with other human beings in a meaningful, safe and loving manner.
I hope there are lots of these on Ally’s horizon. In the meantime, and in a beautiful economy of words, here is her story.
‘Hey, Kate -
Just thought I would contribute my story, for you.
I'm 34 (born in 1979)
And from Melbourne, Australia.
I think I was about 14, and I am pretty sure I had just returned from one of the first Meredith Music Festivals, to the beach in St. Kilda, where I was living on the streets.
Homeless/Runaway/all of the above.
I had set up my sleeping bag and teddy bear in the Rose Gazebo at the local Botanical Gardens, but I liked to hang out on the beach, and feel part of life, nature, and people.
One night, I met an 18-year-old boy - Dan - who had just found out he was adopted, because his ‘Dad’ was in hospital, dying. On his death-bed, he told the boy, ‘I am not your real father’.
Dan was pretty distressed.
He wanted to go out somewhere, drinking.
So I sent him down the road, but he came back, later.
Eventually, we were making-out on the beach, and I heard this girl walk past and call me a ‘slut’. That's funny’ I thought. ‘I'm a virgin.’ I began to think about whether I wanted to keep my virginity, or just get rid of it. I was leaning towards getting rid of it.
Dan was staying in the Austin Hospital, in Heidelberg, where his ‘Dad’ was dying. It was pretty far away.
We wandered around the streets, looking for a bank machine, for what felt like hours. His hand was down my pants the whole time. I had to get used to walking around that way.
We even passed one of my Dad's friends, who was working as a street-sweeper. Awkward.
We got some money, and caught a cab ~ about $40 away. That was a lot, at that time, and I had no idea how I would make it back to my sleeping bag and teddy bear at the Rose Gazebo.
We went up to his room. He was staying in a strange Nurses Quarters, all 'holy', and 'single'; including a crucifix on the wall above the single bed.
I felt him enter me three times, or three thrusts - and then it was over.
'That's it?!' I quizzed The Great Spirit.
And I had to go pee, almost urgently.
He pointed the way.
He came downstairs with me, called a cab, and gave me $60; to get home, and because he knew I was homeless.
I thought that was quite nice of him. He may have kissed me goodbye - but I don't recall.
I wished him well with all of his sadness.
I arrived back at the gardens after dawn. The automatic sprinklers had turned on sometime in the night, and my sleeping bag had gotten all wet. I went to the 7-11, now that I had some money, and bought a packet of BBQ chips.
I sat around by the duck pond, eating them, and thinking about how I felt about losing my virginity.
I felt like at least I had been given money; it added value to me and my experience, somehow.
Because I had heard plenty of horror stories about other peoples virginity. And if I couldn't have Love, then money would do. At least it wasn't violence.
*I am writing a new book on sexual abuse, actually, because apart from that, and a couple of other odd stories, I have still never ‘had sex’. Just lots of rape, and stuff.
So even in hindsight, my virginity story glows*, in a really strange way...