Archive for August, 2009

Spain 10

Saturday, August 8th, 2009

It took a fair bit of searching of the house to find Sandy‘s passport but it was in one of peoples favourite hiding places – a shoe, to be more accurate, one of his shoes.


We gathered up her things, but there wasn’t much and then shut the door and headed back to Sofia.  Cyclops had confirmed we were booked on a flight back to the UK the next day with a connection to Spain the same evening.  Mum and dad said they would pay us for the flights – when they could.


So it was that we headed back to SofiaSandy was good company and had it not been for our little chat earlier you would have been hard pushed to know anything was wrong.  She laughed out loud and joked and chatted away.   However if you listened and watched you could see this banter was superficial and that she was clearly a very unhappy young woman with some serious mental health problems.  I suppose if somebody has a broken leg you see the plaster cast and you can see somebody is hurt, but the problem with mental health issues is that the don’t bleed or swell and you cant just throw a few stitches in or bung a blaster over it.  Half the time most people don even know they are sick themselves.


I went back to the same hotel, because it has excellent amenities and to do some more damage to my own brain with a few more glasses of No Mans land red wine.  The receptionist recognised me and gave me a “knowing” look when she saw Sandy and an even more quizzical look when I booked two rooms.


The evening passed pleasantly enough, but my new companion did get a bit of a loose tongue after a couple of glasses of wine.  Not gobby or Leary just more verbal diarrhoea.  As the evening progressed she told fewer crap jokes and laughed less hysterically and slowly started telling me about how even as a little girl she would be enveloped in a black cloud of misery and how the people around her used to think she was just a misery guts, not someone with serious problems. 


She told me how in order to be liked she developed an outer shell and played the clown.  She was desperate to be popular and liked, whilst beneath this veneer she was desperately unhappy. 


The sad thing was that I got the impression that she probably was naturally funny with a good sense of humour and a very kind nature, but she just couldn’t see it or touch it herself. By the end of the meal she was becoming amorous and flirtatious and  it was time to call it a night.  I didn’t have any problems making her see this was not a good idea and she suddenly remembered Nigel and sobered up just like that and got very serious and worried that I would tell him.  In fact it was more than just worry, it was fear and the way she kept touching her cheek made me thank that our Nige gave her a bit of a slap now and then.


The flight was fairly early so we didn’t hang around any longer than we needed to.  Sandy was a little under the weather, not hung over just subdued and I put it down to drink and pills. 


I was my usual exhilarating company on the flight and I woke up about 10 minutes or s before were due to land to find her nibs slumped on my shoulder snoring and dribbling gently.  I said nothing as it is my experience that women do not like being told they snore or that they dribble. 

As per normal good old Cyclops had made good arrangements which meant that we had a margin of time between flights so that we were not cutting it o fine, but by the same token we were not hanging around the airport for to long either.  Just enough to grab a fat boys breakfast and a decent pot of earl grey.


The flight to Spain was like any other flight and I was feeling fairly weary by the time we landed.  We got through passport control and all that malarkey and I became aware that my travel companion was not with me.  I retraced my route and found her sitting on a plastic chair looking at the floor in front of her.  I went over to her andtouched her lightly on the shoulder and she looked up.  I was not prepared for the look on her face.  She was totally devoid of colour and looked like a corpse, her brow was wet with sweat and her hair stuck to it as if she had been swimming.  Her eyes were wide and frightened and she was shaking.


“Sandy What is it?” she said nothing I asked her again and she slowly looked up at me.


“I am a bad person, I make people unhappy and cross” she said in a hoarse quiet voice “I am not pretty or funny like other girls”


“Come on chicken that’s not true, you are funny and pretty and it is a shame that you can’t see it, but I can and other people can and I know your mum and dad will be delighted to see you”


“No they wont they will be sad to see me, they never tried to get in touch with me or anything”


“Hold on a mo missus thats not true they did not know where to find you and all their efforts to getb hiold of you have been blocked by Nigel, who do you think has paid for you to get home, who do you think is paying me and I can tell you I am not cheap”


“They aren’t rich they couldn’t afford that” she said looking at me


“They have done whateve it took to find you and get you back to them”


“Are you sure?” she said and you could her the doubt in her voice


“Of course I’m bloody sure” I said a little harshly “what the hell do you think I was doing half way across bloody Bulgaria then flying back to Britain and then to Spain, this is not my idea of a bloody laugh you know, or do you think I am doing this for the good of my health?”


She looked at me and thought for a second “No I suppose not” He eyes were darting all over the place as she ran the sequence of events through her head.


“But what about Nigel” she said hesitantly


“Fuck Nigel” I said not thinking


“On I do and ……” I managed to interrupt her list of services


“No you dopey mare I meant who cares about Nigel and what he thinks and not anything else, I will deal with him”


“He is very strong and very hard” she said with a worried look.  I hoped we had moved on and that she was talking about his temperament and was not referring to his sexual prowess.


“I’ll take my chance on that one” I said “I am very persuasive when I want to be”


She smiled weakly.  I took her gently by the arm and she stood up


“Come on your mum will be waiting and is dying to see you”


She started to walk and then took hold of my hand the nearer to the exit and meet and greet the harder she gripped it. Her breathing was fast and shallow and I could feel the perspiration.  Five metres from the exit she was sweating and I could feel a shake. I lengthened my stride and Sandy hesitated for an instant but I let go of her hand and gripped her arm just above the elbow hard enough to jolt her into action and immediately she quickened her pace to stay up with me.  I smiled broadly at the miserable looking Spanish security man right by the door, who to my shock smiled a big beam back at me and wished me good afternoon.


We were through the doors and into the public area. 


Where the fuck were her mum and dad because I could feel fear and god knows what else running through this girl like she was being electrocuted and knew she was going to loose it.  I know this sounds selfish, but I did not want to just get through security an customs and then to have a young woman yabbering and loosing the plot.  It looks bad and although it might be entirely innocent senior plod would be on to us like el rasho


 Then I saw them pushing their way past people and then running towards us.  Mum was crying and had her arms out and dad was doing his best to keep it together. 


They embraced their little girl and cried and stroked her hair and kissed her face like she was a new born baby.  I let go of Sandy‘s hand and stepped away to leave them.  They stood in a huddle attracting looks from people who did not understand, but they didn’t see or care and why should they.


I looked back and saw Sandy with her arms around and her mum and her head on her shoulder. She looked towards me and smiled and gave a little wave.


I wish I could tell you it that it was a happy smile and wave, but it wasn’t, it was a sad, lost, thin smile.  I turned and headed for the hire car desk as I wanted to find good old Nigel and look at a few things.




I don’t usually let these things get to me that much and although it was quite a while aago, I can still see that scene in my head.  It is hard to describe, but that smile was so lost, and so painfully haunting that it pierced my heart like a dagger of ice.  It is something I wish I hadn’t seen, but by the same token it reinforces my belief in just how lucky most of us are and in particular how lucky I am and for that I am most grateful.


Just recently I heard a song on the radio in France by Pascale Picard –called “Smiling”  What is really strange is that this could have been taken from a taped transcript of my conversation with Sandy as it is almost word for word what she said.


I am not gonna make it

I can see the crowd around me

Is getting bigger and as it is

I’m trying to figure out

Why I feel so isolated

I have my friends

But don’t have much time for them

I have my house

And a tiny pocket in my luggage

I have my boyfriend

But he’s also so tired of listening to me

Every single day

Seems like a mountain to climb

Every single word

It takes all my strength to get it out

I’m tired of talking about me

But in fact it’s the only thing

I get a grip on

I feel like I’m not gonna make it

I really feel like I’m not gonna make it

But it might be the best thing

That never happened to me, so now


Hey little girl keep on smiling!!

‘Cause they don’t wanna hear you complaining

You’re a lucky girl

Your life is so exciting

So I’ll keep on making bad jokes

‘Cause you think I’m strong

And it might be the way you like it

Oh how I need you to like me…


I have tried as hard as I can

I have tried to go through 9 to 5

But I was like a train

Between work and bars

Never found out what I was traveling for

Now I have my car

But I ain’t got no safe place to go

I still hold my drink

But I’m not as thirsty as before

I have my voice

But I heard lately that people

Don’t want to hear sad songs

Every single place

It’s all the same to me

Every single face

I know it will be replaced

But another smiley one

Who will also be left soon

Somewhere behind

I feel like I’m not gonna make it

I really feel like I’m not gonna make it

But it might be the best thing

That never happened to me, so now


Hey little girl keep on smiling!!

‘Cause they don’t wanna hear you complaining

You’re a lucky girl

Your life is so exciting

So I’ll keep on making bad jokes

‘Cause you think I’m strong

And it might be the way you like it

Oh how I need you to like me…


Please now just don’t count on me

I can’t handle it anymore

And don’t ask me why

If you don’t want me to lie

But don’t be alarmed

Don’t you see that I’m just down

Just don’t worry soon

I’ll be back on the tracks



‘Cause I’ll get tired of complaining

I’m a lucky girl

And I’m doing exactly what I wanted

So I’ll keep on making bad jokes

‘Cause I need to be strong

And it might be my only chance to get out of it

And now I really need to make it!!