Running on empty

22 09 2014

Sometime that week I got a call from Doc saying that Mort had contacted him to look at an injury. He had broken his collar-bone in a drunken fall. He didn’t actually tell Doc it was a drunken fall….no it was an oddly placed cord of a table lamp that caught him unawares.

Anne-Louise was determined to have one more stab at talking with Mort. Somehow we tracked him down to some serviced apartments, at $450 a night. His options for lodging were getting less (and more expensive) as several of the previous, cheaper hotels had outright banned him.

We went to the reception and again Anne-Louise did the talking while I just cringed into myself. The lady behind reception would not let us through the gate unannounced and there was no answer from his suite. The lady gave me a painful look and attempted to conceal a look of surprise that there was a wife….not one that was openly admitting it however. I was frankly both relieved and delighted to be tuned away. As we walked out of the office we almost ran into Mort hobbling his way up the office path…seeing us he looked neither relieved or delighted…..his expression simply said “oh fuck”.

He had lost a ton of weight. His jeans were sagging off him and as he had one arm in a sling and the other propping a crutch (still had foot in a cast) it was morbidly comical watching him try and hike up his pants. His skin was grey and papery and his eyes jaundiced.

Once inside his suite Anne-Louise was talking while I was taking in the scene of debris; empty vodka bottles, remnants of pizza crusts, and the bedding sheets in various piles. Opening up the freezer there were three giant vodka bottles ready to be called into service.

There was a conversation about money, the fact that I had untangled our accounts and he wasn’t to have access to our savings. He still had funds in his account and that was it. At no stage did he mention the girls or acknowledge the empty bottles and who sucked them dry. His brain, his heart, his soul were as empty as those bottles…..and paying $450 a night for accommodation, as empty as his bank account was soon to be.

photo credit:

photo credit:


To whom it may concern

7 09 2014

The weekend brought the most joyous respite from all the crap. My girls went to my parents house and I went away for the weekend with two of the schoolie couples who had been going through the whole drama with me. We went to see Michael Buble play in an open air concert at a winery (say what you want about his music but the guy was funny as shit and the perfect tonic for all ailments). We had an initial debrief on all that had been happening and then we let it go. We ate, we drank (too much, yes a little ironic), we danced and we laughed….a lot! It was bliss.

I didn’t bother to answer my phone unless it was my parents. So I watched as the counter clocked up 47 calls from Mort over the weekend. The messages were the usual, ranging from begging, to ranting, to heavy breathing….none particularly coherent.

Returning home on the Monday, the memories of a fabulous weekend quickly withered as I sat staring at two little letters on a blank screen….CV (questioning myself if it was even called a CV anymore…was it a resume?). After many of years of being a stay-at-home mum I was going to have to get back into the workforce and in a very serious way. No income, certainly none in the foreseeable future in terms of child support, and already starting to chew through the savings…for the second time in a week I started to hyperventilate.