Updated: Feb 1
The New Zealand Dream,
Preview: Chapter Seven
Soon after Bella was returned Alister, and I broke up, he accused me again; he did not believe I was pregnant to him. His drinking continued, he was kicked out of Rod’s place and moved in with his mother in her tiny one-bedroom pensioner flat.
With only a few more months till I gave birth, I was getting anxious to find suitable accommodation I could afford. This caravan yard was by far ideal for a newborn baby. I found a two-bedroom house in TePuke which would have to do. It was a tidy place, warm and dry. The house was upstairs, making moving in hard. Especially when I was now eight months pregnant. Still, with some help, I got moved in, settled, and waited for the baby to arrive.
Dad’s health was getting worse, he developed CORD in his lungs and needed more and more help with every daycare. It was decided he moved into a rest home, across the road from where I now lived. I regularly visited him and took over a lot of dad's care needs such as finances, shopping, outings, and anything I could. He could not tolerate the grandkids for too long, so we kept our visits short and sweet. Mum moved into a little flat on an orchard close to where we now lived.
Peter had done a massively brave thing and escaped the gang scene by the skin of his teeth. He had been asked by the president of the gang as part of his initiation to prove his allegiance to do a job. His job was to drive a car from Gisborne to Hastings, about four hours. Sounds simple enough. As he drove, he tells me he could hear noises coming from the boot of the car. He pulled over, opening the boot and discovered a bound and tied beat up young girl. Peter let her go, knowing full well this meant his life would be taken if he ever returned to the gang. Peter was so disgusted and shocked, his so-called family acted like this. He tore off the leather vest and beloved patch and burned them. Ever since he has always had to look over his shoulder and remain in hiding to some degree if he was ever discovered by any of these merry men they would kill him without hesitation for being disloyal to the family and the symbol.
Peter stayed at his girl's place or mine often. He did not have any work. He began to decline down an even more dangerous path. Peter became addicted to morphine, he injected and obtained from a local dealer. It was devastating to watch him rapidly decline, his physical appearance changed he looked sickly, skinny, old, and haggard. All he ever thought about was the next hit and how to get it. When he could not afford to buy the expensive poison, he would pull all sorts of scams to get the money he needed.
One of the scams was to pretend you or a family member had an allergic reaction such as hay fever. Faking watery eyes and a blocked up nose. One would go into the chemist and ask for anti-histamine pills. Once he had his hands on these he could take them to his dealer and exchange it for his hit. The dealer used these pills to produce the morphine concoction by extracting the sudoethrogen from them. This was risky in so many ways. Slowly the police were cracking on to such scams, and eventually, any anti-histamines containing this were banned from New Zealand.
I was worried about Peter when he could not get his morphine fix, he would get his hands on anything he could to ease the with drawl pain. I came home occasionally to find him passed out on my deck. No amount of prodding, kicking or yelling could stir him. I’d place a bottle of water by him and try to shade him from the sun, checking his vitals, I’d hope for the best. He would wake after a few hours and drag himself into my house, he’d either sprawl over the couch or raid my fridge. Many programs had been offered to him of rehab, but he refused, convinced he was in control.
A new woman called Sue came into Peters's life. He and Sally were taking a break. Peter would try to earn some money on the side by driving her to work and back. Sue worked as a prostitute at nights, she lived with her three kids she was supposed to look after. More often than not, she and Peter would get high all day instead. Sue was a hard woman, filled with anger and hate, with a scary temper.
Peter was having trouble with her, he must have owed her money, and she refused to give him his car back. Mum found out about this and decided to pay Sue a visit. This went down like cold sick. I was not there at the time, Peter tells me Sue jumped on top of the car bonnet as mum was trying to drive away and viciously booted the windscreen in till it smashed. She jumped off and hurled her kid's bike through the back window, grabbed a skateboard, and smashed in the side windows too. Mum was not hurt, a little shaken, but still drove away with the car she had brought.
Sue was a vile excuse for a human being, only worried about her next hit, everything and anything else that got in her way better look out! Sue tricked me, claiming she needed to go to the doctor and she could give me gas money if I took her. Peter came with her. Turns out she was only going to the doctor to try to scam medication she could use for their next drug hit. She planned on selling some of this for cash. Well, the doctor must have seen through her lies they left empty-handed. I was stuck in town with no gas to get home; I had to use my rent money.
She and Peter broke into mum’s flat and mine at a later stage, looking for money or things to sell, they stole mum's t.v and my nice clothes I kept for special occasions. Of course, they denied it till much later Peter confessed it was them. This lifestyle put Peter on the run from the police again.
Alister and I were trying to give things another go. The baby was about to be born any day now and I needed him by my side. After swearing he had stopped drinking excessively and wanted our relationship to work, I let him move into my house with us.
Alister got some work in the kiwifruit pack house packing kiwifruit. The work did not last long, as Alister’s asthma gives him trouble from all the kiwifruit dust, he ended the season early. We were getting along better and things were looking up.
Alister introduced me to his friend Sandy, Sandy was a single mother with three boys, who lived close to TePuke. Sandy and I became close, visiting each other regularly. Sandy was a bit older than me, I learned a lot from her, she too was a strong and hard woman.
Bella loved to hang out and play with her three boys, we would have coffees at each-others house, and shared meals together. We built a water slide out of plastic sheeting, washing up soap and the hose for the kids to have fun on one afternoon. We both had little money and became clever in making do with what we had, sharing tips and ideas. Often Sandy’s best friend Donna would pop over too. She had a son as well.
The day had finally arrived; I went into labor, mum and Alister took me to Tauranga hospital only half an hour out of TePuke. My waters did not break by themselves. My midwife did this for me. Being my second birth, the labor and pushing did not last as long, only four hours. Bella had taken twenty hours, she was a lot smaller at eight pounds ten ounces. This baby was a mighty nine pounds fifteen ounces, I had trouble getting the baby out and had to have an episiotomy. Alister was asked to hold my leg up as I lay on my side pushing, I ended up booting him by accident as he was not strong enough sending him flying across the room. I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, mum was there with me all the way and got to see her grandson come into this world, she had the biggest smile on her face.
I stayed only three nights in the maternity ward. This was annoying as I shared a room with three other new mums and someone's baby whenever it cried sounded like a seagull. This did not seem to bother little man, only kept me awake. We took the baby home and settled into a good routine, breastfeeding went fine for the first three months. After this, I got a hugely painful infection called mastitis in my breasts. The milk became full of puss and had blood in it, my breasts were harder than rocks, we decided to switch to the bottle.
One evening when Alister and I were tucked up in bed, I could smell a strange burning smell, it stank like some sort of chemical. I asked Alister if he could smell it,
“No its nothing, go back to sleep.” He growled.
I was not convinced, I got out of bed, walking through the house checking each room trying to discover where the smell was coming from. I was nervous the smell seemed to be stronger in the hallway right by our bedroom. I stood in the hall for a while trying to think; I discovered the wall was warm to touch. I continued to touch up and down the wall. The wall was extremely hot right beside the linen cupboard. Something was not right! I raced back into the bedroom, packing baby up in his sleeping cocoon,
“Ring the fire brigade!” I insisted.
“I think there is a fire in the walls,” I told Alister.
“Na, you ring them.” He told me.
He was not taking this seriously at all. This caused me to get angry. I woke Bella gathered her together in her blankets, baby in the other hand taking the stairs. Finally, I could see Alister was on the phone. As I entered the lounge Peter was passed out on the couch. I hastily tried to wake him, this was not easy in his comatose state, I pushed him and shoved him, yelling at him.
“Get up, we have to get out!”
“There is a fire!”
Slowly, unaware of the full danger, he pulled himself to his feet and followed us out the door to the street. The firemen arrived quickly. They searched through the house and discovered the linen cupboard had caught on fire. For some stupid reason, a light had been installed inside the linen cupboard. I was unaware of this, the light switch had been turned on while shoving linen into the cupboard, slowly the light had got hotter and hotter being left on causing the linen to catch alight. The fireman replied we were lucky as gas lines ran through these walls and if anyone had opened the cupboard, the whole house would be ablaze in a matter of seconds! The firemen gushed over Bella, comforting her. She did not seem scared at all; they gave her a big soft toy teddy dressed as a fireman putting a big smile on her face.
We stayed this night at Alister’s mother’s place until daylight, there was nowhere to sleep for Alister and I. Baby who we decided to call Conor and Bella did manage to sleep on the little two-seater couch.
Peter was still on the run hiding from the police, this evening he turned up at mum’s flat he had handcuffs on and was freaking out, he begged mum to help him as he did he could not face going back to jail, for fear of his life. Mum had a bad habit of rescuing Peter time and time again, therefore he did not learn from his mistakes and choices. Mum took pity on him. She cut off Peters's handcuffs and let him hide out at her flat. The police found Peter the next day, discovering what mum had done. Peter was apprehended by police, arrested for theft charges, and sentenced to another lag in jail. Mum was also taken in for questioning and charged for cutting Peter’s handcuffs off. She had to pay a hefty fine, as this was her only charge ever in her life, and considering the circumstances, she got off lightly. The police even told her they would frame the cuffs and hang it in the station.
Mum and I would visit Peter regularly and take him cigarettes, money, or food he wanted. As he and his cellmate on his previous lag had barricaded themselves in their cell, refusing to eat or let anyone in for weeks as a protest for being treated badly, he was put in higher security straight away called segregation. When we visited him, it was now behind glass. It broke my heart not to be able to hug my brother, nor he hugs his niece and nephew and mother.
Peter hardens more. He had this dark look in his eyes. It scared the shit out of me. He grew his hair long to shoulder length, all dreaded, and he had new tattoos. He displayed a huge cross, it covered his whole back with the words saints at the top of his shoulders. Peter tells me he had his own gang, and he was the president, they called this gang “The Saints.” They stood for justice and fought for equality, but at the end of the day, they were still a violent gang.
Auntie Jay came from Hastings to visit and meet the new addition to our little family. Aunty Jay continued to help whenever she could. She would always remember mine and the children’s birthdays, Christmas and Easter. Aunty would send care boxes of canned food, kids' clothes she sewed herself, kid's toys, and anything she thought would be useful. These were greatly appreciated and often came when we needed it the most. Bella loved Aunty Jay, and they enjoyed spending time together.
I had hired a baby swing I’d put up in the lounge. It hung from a sturdy stand. Bella and Aunty enjoyed pushing Conor on this, he’d laugh and giggle. It may have been a little confusing for Conor at only a few months old as Aunty Jay and my mother, his Nanna were identical twins. The only way to tell them apart physically was, Aunty had short hair and mum long hair, as one got to know them they couldn’t be more different in personality.
As the months went on, Conor was getting older at three months old, I started him at the same daycare Bella was attending Happy Times, for ten hours per week. This meant I could get a job again for the few hours Conor and Bella were at daycare.
I joined an agency and trained as a caregiver/cleaner, I would go to the elderly, sick/injured, and people with disabilities homes and clean mostly, cook and give them personal support.
I was also trying to set up my own little mobile beauty business, going to people’s homes doing beauty services and makeup work. This was not consistent as yet. The best job I got was to travel to Wellington for two days doing makeup for a modeling shoot, magazine and c.d cover for an up-and-coming musician. I did suspect the photographer was a little dodgy. He did the shoot in his own private home, including part of it in his bedroom. He also, instead of paying for my accommodation as agreed prior, gave up his bedroom and expected me to sleep at his home instead, not professionally. I felt uncomfortable, like I had to watch over my shoulder all night, but he did not try anything.
Alister and our relationship once again went downhill. He would get so angry at me for yelling and shouting abuse, he would lose it at times throwing the closest item at me. He threw one of those old brick-like cordless phones at me. It landed smack on the top of my big toe. The toe went purple and swollen for days; the doctor informed it had chipped the bone. My toenail to this day does not grow right. It scared me when he shouted so loudly at me, I’d do anything for him to stop and calm, to keep the peace and protect Bella and Conor from seeing and hearing any abuse.
But it never stayed peaceful for long, Alister was drinking again and the emotional abuse got much, much worse. I felt so low, my confidence and self-esteem plummeted, my motivation and drive slumped. He had got inside my head and was playing his narcissistic game.
Remembering what mum had gone through with her ex-boyfriend, the haunting pictures still clearly remained, I was determined to put an end to this. I kicked Alister out of my home again! He moved back with his mother in the one-bedroom council flat.
This enraged Alister, his true colors quickly emerged. He would harass me constantly, asking me where I was going, following me around, accusing me of being with this guy or that guy or back with Jason. It got so intense I feared for my life. He would message me threats describing to me how he was going to kill me in graphic detail.
“I will stab you and slice you in half straight up the middle.” He messaged.
According to him, I was a “whore”, worthless, and he took every chance he could to intimidate me. Alister could not look at himself and his behavior and own it, it was always someone else’s fault, usually mine.
I told Sandy what was happening; she told me to be careful. She had known Alister longer than I and he was terrible when he drank according to her.
Jason came to see Bella one afternoon, he could see something was bothering me, I showed him the messages I was being sent, and he spun out. He insisted I go to the police. The police listened to my story and took copies of the messages Alister had sent. They did not press any charges, or ask me if I needed a protection order, I knew nothing of these options and left wondering what was the point of even going to them. Still, having my complaints on record turned out to be vital in building the big picture.
Get the first three chapters free today "The seeds are sown," available now and "Growth and destruction," published end in 2022