part 3 of blog 'Secret Diary of a Street Girl' by Bête de Nuit
When I saw K. I was shocked by her appearance. She was wearing a lot of makeup and she had got some of it in her hair. She looked really strange. I knew that I didn't want to have sex with her, but I wanted to talk to her. I said I wanted to photograph her. We went to the cashpoint and she tried to snatch the money out of my hands. I didn't let her and she became frustrated and upset. I remembered watching a documentary on TV about a crack addict in Liverpool who became upset when she was frustrated, in the same way, like a child having a temper tantrum.
She asked me to give her some money to pay her driver. She went to talk to a man parked up in a blue van. I don't know what he said to her, but she looked at him with a look of such intense hatred that I have never seen on the face of anyone before or since. When she came back to me she pointed out some recycling bins and said that she would be going through them after she had been with me to find things to wear.
We went into the supermarket to buy booze, some food and a film for my camera. People were giving her funny looks because she looked really weird. She looked a bit like an old woman and a bit like a bag lady. I felt really out of my depth. She wanted me to hand over the money but I wouldn't in case she walked off with it. She kept telling me I should trust her and in the end I thought it would be OK as long as I kept an eye on her. When I was looking for a film she said "I'll go and get some champagne". I didn't want to let her out of my sight but if I had said something she would have got upset again.
I think this is something these girls learn how to do. Few men are stupid enough to hand over money before they get to the flat. If a girl makes a lot of fuss then the man may think it would be OK as long as he doesn't let her out of his sight. Then she'll say she just has to buy some condoms or something and he has to decide if he wants to stop her going off. If he does she will say "I thought we'd been through this, don't you trust me by now?".
There were a couple of reasons why I didn't think she would walk off with my money. I knew where she lived, or as good as. She could have had the money without stealing from me, all she had to do was to let me photograph her. But she was on a crack binge and she wanted money now. She didn't care about the future.
I had the mobile number she had used to contact me. I tried to contact her without success. I left a voicemail message for her driver. I didn't know if he was a drug dealer, pimp or boyfriend but I wanted someone to blame for the condition she was in. I said that I was going to track him down and kill him. I didn't really want to kill him just to scare him. I would have smashed his van up though.
I didn't like the idea of her drinking champagne with him when she should have been with me. Especially if they were laughing at me. I knew that she had bought some champagne because I saw her at the checkouts with some. When she saw me she said "Can you get some alcopops for me?".
I didn't expect to hear from her again, but later that evening she phoned me. I had calmed down so I said I forgave her. She said she would come round later. I was really surprised that she said that. I said "I think we'd better just leave it". I didn't want to add to her problems because I could see she had enough problems of her own.
I thought that was the end of the matter. However, the next day I turned on my mobile phone and there were 2 abusive and disrespectful voicemail messages from her and a text message that I thought at the time was from him. This made me really angry. I had considered that when she had said she wanted to come to my flat the previous evening she really had wanted to know where I lived so they could smash my windows or something. Now I was convinced this was true.
It didn't take me long to find out where she lived. I went on the internet and found the site of a hostel in Clapham. I phoned the number and asked to speak to K. A helpful man said that she wasn't there at the moment but he could give her a message from me. I then typed out a threatening letter to her. I didn't expect to get the money back, I just wanted to teach her some respect. I wouldn't have hurt her.
I didn't think she would be frightened by my letter, but I did think she would be irritated. I didn't expect to get a reply. She left a couple of messages on my voicemail saying she wanted to talk to me. Then a message from a man who I think was her therapist who was concerned about her. I wrote her another letter saying I forgave her and that I wouldn't try to contact her again.
One day I turned on my mobile and there was a voicemail message for me. I could hear this sad music and after a while I heard her voice mumbling something incoherent and then she hung up. It wasn't abusive. She sounded as if she was drunk.
Several weeks later I sent her another letter. I said I would like to buy her video from her. She phoned me and said that she had got rid of her 'friend', the van driver, because he had said he would look after her but had become a bully. I went to Clapham to meet her. She told me he delivered newspapers for a living. I could have asked her for his name and address or other details and then done something nasty to him. But I didn't hate him that much by this time.
She apologised for being difficult with me and said that her 'friend' had given her a book about child abuse that had upset her. She also said that he had not wanted her to see me because he had wanted to stop anything good happening to her. I asked her if she took heroin as well as crack cocaine and she said no, although a lot of the girls do.
She wanted to know why I had become angry with her after I had forgiven her for stealing from me. I didn't tell her about the abusive and disrespectful voicemail messages. She had no memory of them. I told her about the text message. She wanted to read it. Now I think it could have been her who sent it.
I asked K. to come to my flat. She said she would, and asked me to get some 'K' cider for her. She didn't come though, and I didn't see her again for a couple of years.
I saw her again on Tooting Bec Common. She wasn't wearing any make up and didn't look pretty. She was also very thin, almost skeletal. I didn't want to have sex with her but I wanted to talk to her and I gave her a tenner. I put the other 2 tenners I had back into my shirt pocket. To my surprise she snatched the money out of the pocket. I grabbed her arm and she warned me to let go of her of it. I let go of her and she started trying to have sex with me. I said I didn't want that.
I told her that if she needed someone reliable to talk to about her feelings and things that had happened to her then she could always talk to me. I gave her my mobile number.
She didn't phone me but I did see her once again on the common. She was wearing make up this time and she looked quite pretty and cute. She said that it had been her birthday but she hadn't got many presents. She told me she'd had a sarcastic note from her mother. Ever since I first met K. she has talked about her birthday. It seems very important to her. She mentioned her 'friend' again and said that the real reason she had got rid of him was because he had tried to set up a gang-bang on the internet.
I asked her where she was living now and if she was thinking about rehab. I asked her how much money she spent each day on crack. She was reluctant to tell me but then said it was over a hundred pounds a day. I mentioned another girl called N. who I had been seeing. She said "She's another one who gets into debt with black men".
This was a couple of years ago and I haven't seen her or heard from her since. I know that people will say that crack addicts are only concerned about crack and the money to buy it, and that I was foolish for me to have anything to do with this type of girl. You may say that the only time that they seem to have feelings in when they pretend to, just to get what they want. I'm not so sure. I have reason to believe that recently she fell in love with a man but that he rejected her. I have seen lots of women on the common and one or two seemed really evil, but I just don't feel that with her.
I don't regret my association with K, even though she has stolen from me and told lies to me. I have had an insight into a world that no one who isn't an addict can imagine.
I'm not stupid. I would never let a crack addict stay in my flat, even for one night. I would never lend one money. I have never thought that I could 'save' K. I have always thought that she would die a crack addict. She is also on her way to being an alcoholic, if she is not one already. It is only recently that I have seen that some people can come off crack.
I think she frequents the Brixton Hill/New Park Road area in the early hours of the morning and gets into men's cars.
In my next blog posting I can tell you about other girls that I have met on the common.