Thursday 29th June

13) Things coming to a head….

The amazing thing about Harriet was that she was never really a junkie; Jane would meet one or two of those down the years and she was never one of these sad desperate idiots.  No, Harriet did heroin and all the other stuff because she enjoyed it, the immediate effect; that incredible rush of pleasure as it seeped into her veins.  She explained it to Jane once as being at last awake and in touch with her innermost self, she said it made her feel ‘absolutely right’, and because it was so special she tried to ration herself with it.  She said it was too incredible to be high all the time; she needed the low of ordinary being to appreciate those precious moments.

She confessed to Jane one night when she was a bit too drunk, and though it horrified and scared her too, it didn’t really surprise her.  Whatever had changed Harriet must have been so much larger than anything they had experienced before, must have been so different and so overwhelming to have changed her that much.  This bright and breezy, nonchalant and brilliant girl was now moody and self-obsessed, and yet bored with everything, she seemed tired of all their old friends, their old haunts, their parties, even their music seemed to instill in her that jaded look; her eyelids would close just a bit too far, and her head fall back as she would let out her “Oh God, what a fucking drag,” type statements.

*  * *

‘My, my June – you are a deep one, aren’t you.  I’m always too busy working to think if I am happy or not.  I just gets’ on with it, you know.’ Ted sighed  ‘I never expected my life to be any different.  I mean, what else is there?  You grow up and gets’ married and raises your kids, just like your parents did for you.  I reckon I’m not such a bad dad to my boys, that’s all I care about.’

‘What about me then Ted?  Don’t you care about me, or is it all just Julie and the boys.  Am I just your bit on the side, for when you get bored?  Is that it, Ted, is that all I am to you?’

‘No, no June.  You are far more to me than that, but I never imagined leaving Julie, if that’s what you’re getting at.  I do love being with you, but I don’t want to leave Julie.  No, that’s not what I was thinkin’ of at all my girl.  And if you has any sense in that pretty head of yours, you’ll forget all about that too.’


‘I can’t hear nothin’, now come here and give us a cuddle.  I have to be back on the farm in an hour, we’ve just time for another session.’

‘No, listen Ted.  I’m sure I heard someone downstairs.’

*  * *

The first time Harriet tried acid was such a revelation, like a blanket being lifted off her head.  Suddenly she could see everything so incredibly clearly; it was as if she had never seen anything before, not properly.  She had gone with Jim to a big house somewhere on the outskirts of Leeds.  And it was full of groovy people around and they were all tripping together.  Harriet couldn’t stop laughing, she could remember that – she just kept finding everything anyone said incredibly funny.  And it lasted almost the whole weekend, she couldn’t really remember what she ate or drunk, it was just conversation and laughing and seeing everything looming in and out, as if her eyes were microscopes and could see right into the heart of things.

One time in the garden they were listening to this music being played quite loud, and Harriet was dancing and spinning round and she was watching as the ground went down in front of her, just like an escalator only she was hovering just above it, and the grass and plants kept disappearing into some sort of a hole in the garden right in front of her feet.  It was incredible and the funny thing was she wasn’t frightened.  Somehow she was in control, even if she couldn’t stop the ground going down the escalator – she was floating just above it, so she was fine.  she only ever did acid a couple of times; it just went on far too long, and you had to be somewhere safe to do it.

But after that nothing fazed her at all, nothing scared her.  She tried cocaine with Jim one time, but it wasn’t for her; it made her feel too paranoid, she didn’t like that at all.  And then Jim let her try heroin; they smoked some in a sort of pipe, and it was great.  Much stronger than dope, but not that dissimilar.  It made her feel relaxed and free, as if all her worries were over, she could do anything, be anyone at all.  It was a bit like dope and drink and acid all rolled into one, it just made her feel for the first time in her life as if she was content at last.  All that restlessness, all that burning desire to be someone paled into insignificance, none – of that mattered anymore.  It made her happy, and that was why she did it.   Nobody ever asks that, do they?  They all condemn it out of hand, and make no attempt to understand why?  The big thing they never tell anyone about drugs is how good they make you feel.