Bridget and I caught the train to the coast early Saturday morning. I brought my Discman and enough CDs to get me through what I was sure would be a weekend of hell. We sat across from each other, Bridget reading the latest issue of Dolly magazine while I lost myself in my Savage Garden album.
There were 7 stations between ours and the Terrigal Train Station that was located at the end of my Mother’s street. It’s how we used to travel here before I started driving, we’d pass the time by playing games like eye spy but not today, today we didn’t speak a word to each other. The phone reception along the way was sketchy 2G so I couldn’t even text Kate.
We arrived just after 9 and made the short walk from the station to the house. I noticed a familiar red Mazda parked out front.
“Great, Aunt Bev and Clara are here” I groaned. Beverly was my Mother’s friend, she was also part of her merry band of enablers, lapping up her lies and defending both Mum and Carson’s behaviour. Bev’s daughter was my age and could do no wrong in my Mother’s eyes, little did Mum or Bev know that Clara had a love for party drugs and men twice her age who provided said drugs.
By the time she was 25 Clara looked like a 40 year old.
I knocked on the front door and waited a good while for my Mother to bother answering it.
“You’re late” She greeted me.
“That probably because I didn’t want to come” I answer her, pushing passed her and stepping into the small living room.
“We had to take the train because Veronica got a flat tyre” Bridget explains to Mum and I roll my eyes at her.Why would you tell her anything?
“Well you would buy a car that was a piece of crap” My Mother scoffs at me.
“I ran over a nail, it’s not like my bumper fell off. Anyone can run over a nail” I defend myself, she looks at me with that permanent scowl she holds.
“And you think you can teach your sister how to drive? You can’t even avoid nails” She says, laughing at me. I’ve had enough, I walk down to my room and dump my bag on the floor. “Veronica, we have guests, you’re not hanging around in your room when Clara is here” Mum bellows down the hall.
“That sounds E-static” I exclaim, dragging out the E to make my point which I’m sure will be lost on Clara anyway. I enter the dinning room where Bev, Clara and Bridget are all sitting around the round table that fills the whole room. I grab a mug from the kitchen and pour myself a cup of coffee, taking at seat next to Clara at the table.
Clara had short, brunette hair that she just managed to tuck behind her ears, she was dressed so basic in faded blue jeans and an orange tee, no make up on her face but she did have break outs on her cheeks. We had nothing in common yet for years Bridget and I were forced to hang out with her, that’s how I became aware of her lifestyle that she managed to hide from her parents.
“Hey Roni” Clara greeted me, holding out a tray with shortbread biscuits.
“Hey” I reply, taking a shortbread and dipping it into my coffee while wondering why the enabler and her drugged up daughter were at the house so early in the morning, I was under the impression that vampires slept all day and only came out at night, but here Bev was, sitting up at my Mother’s dinning table, drinking coffee.
“It’s lovely seeing you girls” Bev says in her forced, fake voice. Yeah lady, I’ve seen the other side of you, the side that was up screaming in my face after I threatened to take Carson to the police when he threw me against a wall, something that both Bev and Mum claimed never happened though.
“Likewise” I lie, I could be just as fake.
“Bridget” My Mother addresses my sister, taking her by the hand, “I need you to do Mummy a big favour”
“What is is?” Bridget asks shyly, my Mother only used her sweet voice when she wanted something and she knew she had exhausted all favours out of me to last a lifetime, now it was Bridget’s turn to be sucked dry.
“Your brother has to go to court. He’s been accused of doing something that he certainly didn’t do. I need you to come along and give him a character reference” My Mother asks, stroking Bridget’s hand. I choke on my shortbread a little bit and everyone looks up at me.
“So you’re asking your 15 year old daughter to get up in a court of law and lie?” I question Mum, shocked.
“Veronica, this isn’t your business” Bev interjects straight away.
“It isn’t yours either but here you are. Bridget and I were actually there when Carson broke Alex’s nose, which, by the way is still healing and Alex still hasn’t been able to return to school” I inform the two of them, Clara squirms in her seat next to me.
“I’m not asking Bridget to lie, I’m sure she has some lovely things to say about her brother” Mum shouts at me, “I should have asked her when you weren’t around, you’re always creating trouble Veronica”
I stormed off to my room, grabbing my discman, I placed the earbuds in my ears and climbed up to my bed. The music drowning out the sound of my Mother screaming at me from the dinning room.
I stayed in my bed until lunchtime, sneaking out when I knew the coast would be clear. Bridget was alone in the living room, watching Clueless. I walked into the kitchen and proceeded to make myself a sandwich, laughing to myself as I pulled the jar of Vegemite from the cupboard and remembering how Sam referred to it as ‘possum arse’.
I wanted to call him and tell him but I knew he wouldn’t answer, he hadn’t the last two times, so I resolved to just making my sandwich and sitting on the lounge and watching one of Bridget’s favourite movies. Carson came home when the movie was almost finished, took one look at Bridget and I sitting in his domain and grunted before walking into his bedroom and slamming the door. Bridget and I looked at each other and burst into laughter.
He came back out a minute later, his face a storm as he approached Bridget on the lounge, towering over her as she quivered in fear.
“You went into my room” He yells at her, bringing Mum out of her room. My heartbeat was racing so fast, he knew the diary that he stole was gone and there was only one person who would have wanted it.
“Carson, don’t be so silly honey, Bridgey wouldn’t go in your room, she has no reason to, she’s just been sitting out here watching her stupid movies” Mum tries to calm Carson down, using her best soothing voice.
“Yeah fuck-face, why would she have any reason to go in to your room?” I challenge him, trying to draw him away from a now crying Bridget, we may have had our issues this week but she was still my favourite person and I’d be damned if I let that piece of shit hurt her.
“Stay out of my way or you’ll get it” He threatens Bridget.
“That’s no way to talk to the person responsible for giving you a glowing reference now is it?” I push him.
“I don’t need a reference from that little dyke” He roars, I look over to Bridget who now has her knees pulled up to her chest.
“Carson don’t you dare use that word in this house. My daughter is not gay” My Mother screams at Carson, “She would never disappoint God with such disrespect”
Carson leaves the house in a huff, defeated but I knew that this wasn’t over, he would stop at nothing now that he knew Bridget had been in his room and we were trapped here. I grab Bridget’s hand and drag her down the hall to our room, closing the door behind me.
“Do not leave my side this weekend, do you understand?” I demand of her, she nods, her small body shaking with fear.
Carson didn’t come home on Saturday night, even so Bridget and I stayed in our room for the rest of the night. I had gotten into the habit of packing snacks in my bag for times when we had to hide from Carson, which was often.
His mood swings were too unpredictable to risk getting in his way and Mum wasn’t always home to attempt to calm him down, not that she did much anyway, it was always our fault in her eyes, we were too loud, in his way, talking to much, eating all the food, breathing his air. It was just easier to stay in our room while we were trapped here.
Legally I only had 3 months left, once I turned 18 I could stop coming but I wouldn’t do that to Bridget, I was afraid if I let her come here alone she’d be coming home in a bodybag.
I locked the bedroom door that night when we went to sleep, I knew it couldn’t stop Carson from getting in but I was hoping it would slow him down if he even tried.