The Little Bath Tub Girl

Most of the people Sabine met during these nights never bothered to remember her name, Baz however was different. Having become the closest thing Sabine had to a friend, she looked forward to the end of the night when she would make her last drop off to him. Taking pity on the young girl he had taken to doting on her. Buying her small gifts here and there such as bracelets, tiny statues from charity shops, books, and other small tokens of kindness. When asked how old he was, he told Sabine that he was “old enough to know better, but young enough not to care.” This very sentence more or less epitomized Baz. Dropping out of uni he came home to look after his mum, who having now died had left her only son all that she had. He now spent these assets on takeaways, booze, fags and drugs, wallowing in his den of despair and grief. Unbeknownst to Sabine, Baz looked forward to seeing her just as much as she did him. There was something about her. The twinkle of innocence had been taken from her youth at a very early age, but there was a sparkle in her now. A new kind of beauty growing inside her as the little girl started to grow up. It was very slight and so over shadowed by the sadness in her life, that you could only see it if you were looking for it. To Baz it was a glimmer of hope, that in all this darkness, something good could be found.

Squeezing the brakes on her bike gently Sabine came to her last stop. Sitting on the bench next to Baz she looked down at her feet in silence. “What’s up chuck?” his warm voice hugged the air around her. “Nothing.” Sabine focused her eyes on a spot on the floor. “Now that’s not true. Anything you want to talk about?” Looking at him, Sabine felt tiered. Her body was a shell drained dry of emotion. She couldn’t let herself feel. Not feeling was the only thing keeping her living. Smiling at Baz, Sabine inhaled the cold night air. “That bad hey?” reaching into his pocket he pulled out a bar of chocolate, “Well lucky I bought you this really. Chocolate always makes chicks smile.” Receiving the gift Sabine allowed the corners of her mouth to curve upwards, pinching tiny dimples into her cheeks. “What makes you smile Baz?” Unfolding the crisp notes in his hand he counted out his money, “There’s a lot of darkness in this world Sabine, but no matter who you are, a white light can always be found. For me, it’s the sanctuary I find in the white powder you give me. It takes all my worries away Sabine, and makes everything ok.” Handing her the money he smiled. As Sabine tucked the cash into her pocket two men walked around the corner. Approaching the bench their eyes seemed stern and steady. Arriving at Baz’s side, they each placed a hand either side of his shoulder. The larger of the two looked across at Sabine, “I think it’s time you left now little girl.” Unsure what to do Sabine hesitated, the last pouch of white powder still in her bra, the money for it in her pocket. Baz looked up at her and locked eyes, “It’s ok Sabine, just go.” Climbing onto her bike Sabine could feel her heart pounding anxiety into her chest. She had seen the look in the two men’s eyes before. She had seen it in her father when she had returned home short changed one night, and she was sure her mother had seen it before she had ‘fallen down the stairs’.

Pedalling away Sabine ran through each of her memories with Baz, clinging to the feeling of safety evoked by each one. She remembered the nights he had spent teaching her to wolf whistle by placing her fingers underneath her tongue and curling it slightly. Having studied Botany at University, he would glow with pride and excitement as he explained to her the inner workings and beauty of each flower they could see from their bench in the park. That bench was theirs, but in Sabine’s mind it now lingered with the same mephitic slime of her mornings. Her heart swelled with anguish as the distance between the two of them increased. Why wasn’t there anything she could do? As she came closer to home Sabine realised it wasn’t just her house that was a prison, but the world she lived in too. Every single person she cared about was chained in the shackles of the white powder.

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