Four years ago today my world fractured a wee bit and this morning when I opened my phone and I had a reminder of the anniversary I swallowed hard. 4 years. Where has the time gone? I still remember your smell.
4 years ago today, I got a call from one of my very close friends, J or better known as Mistress Ultra of Hellfire, our Mandy was missing.
I was confused. What do you mean missing? How can she be missing? I saw her not that long ago. She isn’t missing. She can’t be missing. What do you mean missing?
I was glad I was sitting at this stage. I was advised that no one as seen her since the night before. Her ex-partner at the time was beside herself with worry. J’s tension and worry was making her voice waver over the phone. I swallowed the lump in my throat and pushed the tears in my eyes away.
So what do we know I asked. J advised that no one knows anything yet. The police are looking into it. She went out the night before and that was all we knew.
The tenterhooks started that day.
My already failing relationship took a nose dive for the worst. And the less we heard about what was going on the bigger the hole I fell into.
I used to scoff at people who said they were depressed. I didn’t get it. Believe me, by the end of the week I knew what rock bottom was like.
The queer news in Sydney went off like a rocket after a few days about our missing beloved DJ. The police found her hat, phone and wallet near The Gap – a popular suicide spot in Sydney. Known for its sheer cliff and usually no body recovery.
We knew this before the press. But faced with the news that she’d gotten a cab there, with a bottle of swill and that was the last anyone had seen of her meant that we just didn’t know if she jumped or she disappeared. We hoped she disappeared. But knowing she battled her own demons, as we all do, I wished she’d called someone, anyone…
My relationship at the time broke apart. I broke apart. I cried at work, at home, in the shower, in bed…
I cried for 4 weeks at my shrink. At least she just supplied tissues and told me that it’s natural that I feel like my world has collapsed. Bless her, I was paying someone $400 an hour for advise that my friends had given to me for free. But sometimes we need to hear it from someone who isn’t our friend.
We huddled and we grouped, our hellfire family, we’ve been through a lot of shit together and it’s what family does. Our Hellfire family came together and we had an awareness night at the next Hellfire. We fund raised for suicide, we raised $3000. We put the word out, we hugged, we cried, I only shed a few tears while I was working at the door that night. I kept it together for the most part, Mandy would have been proud. Especially since the bitch wasn’t there to drag me to the bar and share some shots with me before motor boating my boobs and running off to do her set. She didn’t join me after her set to sit next to me and comment about costumes. Commenting about who we thought was cute or how her set made me dance at the door. We didn’t giggle together walking through shops, I didn’t hear her whine about something she didn’t want to do but knew she had to. We had that in common, like so many others things… I missed her beats, nothing since has made me lose myself in the beat the same way. She played dirty dark beats, it would make your body move without you noticing.
She was always slapping the back of my head over something and at the same time knew I was there to have her get me drunk and just blurt her problems to. That girl could drink, she drunk me under the table a lot. But she always made sure I was drinking water too. That’s how she was – she was like a mummy to me most times.
I remember how after dancing and playing the box she’d race up to me grinning like the cat that got the cream, covered in sweat and wrap me in a hug, knowing how I hated sweat and wouldn’t let go while I squealed and tried to wiggle out of her embrace. I remember her licking my cheek to make me scream and laugh. She’d wrap me up in hugs without prompting. She always grinned when she saw me. Always. She gave me sage advice. She was Mandy. Ups, downs, laughs, crying, drinking, sober…. She was a part of our weird family and she’s still missed.
For the first year I couldn’t look at anything with her picture on it. I kept my copy of LOTL with her face on the front cover. I still have that magazine. This year has been the first year I’ve been able to sit and hold it and actually open the front cover.
Mandy, I opened the cover! It only took me 4 years. How far I’ve come huh?
Some nights when I actually can get my ass to Hellfire, I wander the floor and I let my eyes glaze over and remind myself of the mischief we got up to together over the years in our kinky queer home.
I do miss you, you know.
I remember the belly laughs you made me have in various locations we went to with Hellfire, we were the travelling freak show… In hotels rooms scattered around. I remember the smile of yours that you didn’t offer out to many people. I saw the shadows in your eyes, I wish that they’d talked to the shadows in mine.
I miss you – and it’s never goodbye. I can’t say goodbye, so for now it’s see you soon m’love.