Ophelia and Katya
She called herself stupid, she lived in her ex boyfriends parents house. A jealous ex boyfriend, it was complicated. As many she was addicted to taking selfies while pouting. Without the makeup she could pass as a Hollywood actor but she never really acknowledged it, her makeup was her burka, her dismorphia was her projected identity to the world. Didn’t like her father, felt betrayed, was self loathing and every first impression she played a bitch. Drinking a gin and tonic she wondered why. She was like many. She didn’t deserve to be the item of ridicule but to the women who wore repeal hoodies, she was an enemy to feminism. Wasn’t her fault she was dyslexic, she went undiagnosed for years, instead her diagnosis was “stupid”.
She had a miscarriage at the harbor, the trip was for an abortion of which was defeated by that event. Running to the rest room to vomit, it was a low time for her, alone and out of credit, she sobbed as she was bleeding, afraid of the security as she didn’t quite trust men at that moment after all they put her through.
Arriving at the harbor meanwhile was Katya, a polish immigrant looking for work here as she graduated from nursing school back home, she had an interest in hardcore punk but during an episode in her teens induced by an unknown substance of which was new on the market at that time she was trying to give back in some way as an old nurse once did for her but that was another story in another time.
She arrived to the rest room to find Ophelia in tears. “Are you Ok? She spoke great English, mostly learned from western television and song lyrics that she learned by rote growing up. Ophelia just looked up and said just before passing out “Fuck off”…….
At the hospital Ophelia woke up on a trolly hooked up to a machine next a mop bucket, she could hear the polish lady arguing to an elderly nurse about the conditions she was accommodated in though all she saw in front of her from her view was a Pakistani janitor cleaning urine off the floor of which an elderly man was on the next trolly mumbling to the ceiling through his respirator, he had a black eye and the smell of vodka was making its way through the constant barrage of disinfectant. The Pakistani was mopping and scowling to the old man as Ophelia saw, she laughed morbidly and gave him the finger as he scowled back, he continued mopping as it was all part of the job.
An elderly nurse came from around the corner to check, her head went down to her clipboard and jotted something down and the walked away out of sight.
“Hey!” Ophelia muttered lunging herself upright but a sharp pain hit, she froze with a whimper but knew if she moved more it could get worse, instead she fell back on what was intentionally a pillow but instead the slightly padded headboard with the sound of loud beeping from the machine, a tear went down her eye but no one came as there was already a car crash victim being rushed passed to the theater.
It wasn’t for five minutes of more arguing from afar with a few curses in Polish, Katya came around the corner with Ophelia’s bag and placed it on the chair.
“What were you doing to my handbag?!” Ophelia croaked as she spat on the wall, “I saved your life bitch and by the way amongst a load of dumb messages from guys I was trying to find out what your name was as I was calling you Rhianna1991 until I figured out that was wrong, whats wrong with you people?”,
“Well don’t want them pigs knowing that, would I?” Ophelia replied,
“I’m Katya, and you?
“It’s Ophelia Smith, you can tell that to that one with the clipboard, she seemed like a bitch for sure.”,
“Yes Ophelia, yes she was, she was saying some horrible things about you that no one deserved but who knows? Maybe you do?” she responded with a laugh but frowned as she realized what she say, I’m sorry”.
“Nah don’t be, done some shit in my time but at least you are being nicer than that one” she replied, “Ouch, what happened?”
Katya: “ I might as well tell you that you lost your baby, so sorry”
Ophelia: “You do know why I was at the harbor?”
Katya:“I heard but wanted to hear it from you”
Ophelia: “Didn’t want it so was off to get it done elsewhere”
Katya: “Some luck but still not great, there are still some tests if they get around to it but I think you may recover, hold on dear, the doctor is coming”
Ophelia: “Thanks though I’ve heard enough to be satisfied love”
Katya: “This hospital is awful, the staff have been horrible, I think I made a mistake looking for a job here, no one hiring”
Ophelia: “Why not the dole?”
Katya: “I’ll look first”
Ophelia: “The dole for ya, come on now, isn’t that what your here for? You wouldn’t want to be doing what that Paki over there is doing”
Katya: “I came here for a few reasons and it wasn’t to clean piss or to treat people like it, came here to make some better money, can you blame me?”
Ophelia: “You came to the wrong place”
Katya: “You could be right….”
Dr Solomon arrived with the charts…
Dr Solomon: I am sorry but your test results came back, you are HIV positive
Katya: Oh lord!
Dr Solomon: You still here? I thought the staff told you that you can leave Rhianna alone!
Katya: Her name isn’t Rhianna, it’s Ophelia
Dr Solomon: You are not Rhianna1992?
Ophelia: No, its Rhianna1991 but it is Ophelia Smith, and where did my passport go?
Dr Solomon: I was wondering why that Rhianna1991 I told was confused….let me check back with you, I think there has been a mixup
The doctor strolls out rechecking his charts then he starts running away dropping another chart, Katya picks it up and comes back to Ophelia
Katya: I think you can go soon once you get a prescription for the pain but rest up, you have anyone I can call, you need a better place than this shithole
Ophelia: So I don’t have aids?
Katya:….no but that is not…oh nevermind. Give me a few minutes and we’ll get a taxi together somewhere
Ophelia: Off license?
Katya: Good idea but none for you, you have to recover more. But I need a drink
Katya: No love, just no.
Eventually as Katya pushed Ophelia out on a wheelchair after she was finally discharged they hailed a cab Ophelia hummed to herself as they were been brought into the town center to find a BnB
Katya: You like musica?
Katya: Music, sorry, RnB?
Ophelia: Yeah but can’t play a note
Katya: neither can I though I can produce on GarageBand
Ophelia: Whats that?
Katya: Its a Daw, on the computer, you can get it for free
Ophelia: Wha? That’s feckin gibberish, firstly what does produce mean?
Katya:….I just…You have a nice voice even though you were humming, you can hold a note well
Ophelia: Thanks but you are not dawing me in a garage ya sick fuck
Katya: No, no…
Ophelia: I’m messing, had an ex who was on the laptop messing about with that I think, the garage thing
Katya: Oh really?
Ophelia: He was a bit of a psycho
Katya: Oh, where is he now?
Ophelia: Fuck him, let’s just leave it at that.
Taxi Driver: Here we are, that’s thirty
Ophelia whispered to Katya: Shall we leg it?
Katya: No you can’t, I got it, just might not afford the off license now…or the BnB, shit, sorry bad language, I’m just exhausted now
Ophelia: It’s “Shite” by the way but getting there, here look, a pub, we can scab a cuppa at least by the fire. Where did my passport go, do you know?
In a pub full of farmers the two walked in to see a fire lit stove, the warmth was needed as it was a manky wet afternoon, they had three euro between them, enough for a pot of tea and a pack of salt and vinegar taytos between them. They looked like they’ve been through a war at that point, tired a both were silent for an hour a reflecting on what to do next.
There was an open mic with two young men in trendy outfits and perms setting up the stage
Ophelia: Whats going on, a bit of music?
Katya: Seems like it though that PA might have seen better days
Ophelia: Looks like shit, ya
A loud pop blasted from one of the speakers, everyone grunted, moaned and sarcastically cheered
Ophelia: what was that? Fuck my ears
Katya at the two trendies: Turn that gain down
Bart, trendy number 1: No worries we got it…
Katya: Do you know what you are doing
Dave, trendy number two: Ehhh no, first time with this mixer, sorry, we were supposed to have a sound guy but he bailed on us, you know anything on how to work this?
Ophelia: Just play a fucking tune for Christ sake, know any Rhianna?
Ophelia: Know how to play wonderwall then?!
Dave: We don’t play covers
Ophelia: What do you play? Shit?
Katya: I got this Ophelia, I got this…..
End of part 1
As it turned out to Ophelia’s astonishment, Katya worked the desk like pro, within three minutes of ordering to Bart and Dave at a sound check they were playing wonderwall in no time. The crowd was beginning to form until gradually dispersing after they busted out their own songs.
Ophelia: Your shit and you know it lads
Laughter amongst the crowds
Bart: Well why don’t you sing?
Said with a slight sneer, Ophelia bit her lip, Katya looked to her with a wink
Katya: Go for it love
Ophelia: Sure I don’t know many but can you play Rhianna lads?
Dave: Might know the chords…Three of them right?
Ophelia grabbed the mic and began to scream one note, Katya was quick on the volume controls, added a bit of reverb and delay until it sounded bearable but within three seconds it sounded crystal clear like something Janis Joplin would have been proud, Dave and Bart looked at each other realizing they need a capo to fit that key as they only knew three chord shapes and none of them suited, they stood back a little and just palm muted a rhythm while the other clapped in synch, everyone clapped their hands along and wooped every now and again in appreciation. After the final note Ophelia threw the mic on the ground, Katya turned on the mute before the pop happened. There was a standing ovation but as the crowd went wild she pushed through them in order to go to the restroom once again. Katya ran after her worried. On her way to the women’s toilet she found it was locked, she then burst through to the mens room and blasted through to the only cubicle to find a man with a needle shooting up, she turned around to vomit in the cubicle, she was having a panic attack, Katya on the other hand was catching her hair as she was regurgitating bile.
Katya: Oh lord you alright?
Ophelia spiting the last of the vomit put her thumb up
Ophelia: Apart from being a spastic here now for a second…wait a second
One of the barstaff came to help but first dragged the heroine addict out and flung him out the back exit, he came back with the bar owners wife of who congratulated her with sympathy and admiration handing her a pint glass of icy water.
Owners wife: Here love why don’t we clean you up, you both can stay upstairs, you were fab!
Katya: Thank you so much
Owners wife: can I get you anything dears?
Ophelia: Gin and tonic?
Owners wife: Well perhaps when you are feeling better
Katya: Wodka for me.
Owners wife: Certainly, we may talk about a bit of work for yourselves once Bart and Dave fuck off like.
Ophelia: (more spitting) Those faggots were putting me off a bit, Ugh
Katya: Thanks again, what is your name?
Owners wife: Gertrude Smith, and yours?
Ophelia: …..Ophelia, Ophelia Smith…..what is going on are you….?
Gertrude looked at her with a trembling smile but in tears
Gertrude: Where is that bitch?! What did she do to you? My sister is going to get fucked up once I find her. My sister kept you away from our family and fucked off with that IRA fucker when you were a baby…
Ophelia: Bitch and Gobshite indeed but your are not my auntie, how can that be?
Gertrude: Look in my eyes hun, just look in my eyes…..
Ophelia got a passport when she was eighteen, she went straight to Ibiza around the clubs where she met Rick who happened to be from the neighboring county nearby. Rick dealt cocaine and a substance that was new on the market, she met him outside a small club and asked him for a next of a joint he was smoking to himself. Ten minutes later in a bathroom cubicle they were snorting lines and consummating their relationship under the eye of a camera phone which was snuck under the door by one individual who ended up posting it online to a pornsite. The video got a hundred thousand views though they were never aware of that. That man with a camera phone was found dead in his apartment after another video was posted to the same channel but with two men in balaclavas with baseball bats. Ophelia and Rick went home to his parents of whom ran a local pharmacy. For two years and seven overdoses later Ophelia decided to run away after finding her results came out positive, when that happened she wasn’t the only ones results came back positive as Rick took his out of a strange curiosity. When a man’s results come back positive it is said to be a sign of testicular cancer, poor Rick though he was a bit of a prick to begin with.
Moments after Ophelia’s ordeal in the harbor, Katya was briefly absent to find help. She was found by Benjamin an Israeli nineteen year old who was avoiding the draft back in his country. It was his lowest point but he thought he needed a passport that he could try to forge for reasons that were quite beyond his capabilities but it was a state of panic for him. It was a pointless theft as he managed to sneak out of customs due to the distracted security when aiding Ophelia.
Benjamin was born in Jerusalem but lived with his uncle in Peta Tikva, commonly known as the Detroit of that country as stabbing were a frequent thing, Ben didn’t want revenge as his uncle was murdered on a bus amongst three others on their way to a protest in Rothschild street in Tel Aviv, the knife welder was reported as a deranged Arab but it really was an extremist Hacidic jew, so Benjamin had enough, he wanted out……
Ophelia woke up with a headache and every other ache imaginable. But at least she was in a clean bed for the first time in a year, it even had a pillow that smelled fresh. Sitting beside her was Katya who greeted her with a smile.
Katya: Here take this
Handing her a glass of water and some solpadiene, Ophelia reached out for the solpadeine and swallowed with a slight gag ignoring the water until Katya insisted she drink it. Ophelia was almost used to discomfort through her years of abuse.
Katya: You think you are a soldier, do you?
Ophelia: Soldya for real
Katya: You never give up on being a bitch, do you?
Katya: And don’t tell me again to…
Slap! Katya smacked her in the face
Katya: You never have been nice were you!
Ophelia started to whimper, her eyes watered profusely and wailed
Ophelia: I wish I was never born! Everything is shit, everyone is shit, the whole world can go fuck itself, you should of hit me harder, I deserve it!
Katya began to cry as well, she was always under the impression that she had it good compared to her, tried to embrace her but Ophelia pushed her away spouting her usual profanity
Ophelia: Will you fuck off you lesbian!
Katya was so angry but she had to leave there was nothing she knew how to salvage in this situation, as she thudded down stairs Ophelia whispered out katya’s audible range…
Ophelia: ….Come back….
Katya was already gone.
Ten years have past.
Ophelia after checking into a rehabilitation center discovered a love of music. She went to study the classical grades and got a scholarship to go to college. She worked behind the bar with Gertrude, it was now just them as the owner of whom was Gertrude’s second husband passed away after a heart attack some years in between. Ophelia was writing her thesis on early child development and was already the top of the class. She briefly had a boyfriend of whom was studying literature and politics but for some reason she couldn’t understand exactly why he left so quickly to a transfer to Harvard but she never let it get to her. She changed her accent completely over the years to fit in with her classmates though she kept to herself on the headphones, listening to Nina Simone constantly, she discovered a foreign film called Nikita, eventually watched the western remake, hence the reference. The pub still didn’t have wifi, she didn’t miss it as they were out of the way. She was wary of her past and to an extent she legally changed her name to Kate Morris to protect herself.
Katya met Benjamin at a bus stop, Benjamin unaware of their mutual commonality comforted her as she was in distress after the ordeal with Ophelia, she didn’t mention her name ever but described she had a run in with a lost soul. They married in a registry office and ended up having two kids, Benjamin was obviously young for Katya but it worked out strangely enough. They named their kids Peter and Mary in order to fit in a little better in school. They even changed their own names to Barry and Rebecca just for a new start…..
But one day while Mary was looking in her parents closed, she found a passport…..
Mary was bright for her age. She was good at maths, spoke four languages fluently and at nine years old was already going to secondary school, Peter her little brother on the other hand played soccer and always had dirty hands and any opportunity which annoyed Mary quite a bit.
Mary: Will you go away please Pete?
Peter: Why, what ya got?
Mary: Nothing, go away
Peter: I wanna see
Peter: Gimme gimme gimme!
Mary: Get your grubby hands off!
Peter: But I wanna
Mary: You are too stupid to know what it is
Peter: No I’m not
Mary: You are too!
Peter: No I’m not!
Peter: Mum! Mary is stealing from you!
As Mary heard footsteps and polish swearwords only she could understand while Peter smirked in she came furious, Rebecca weighing more than she once did grabbed both the kids.
Rebecca: Get out of fathers belongings, that is private!
Mary: But mum, what is this?
She showed her what she found, Rebecca formerly Katya fainted in shock, fell back and hit her head off the radiator, knocked out unconscious. The children cried for her as Barry was still at work….
Somewhere in time on a the back of the bus traveling through the country
Katya: You can’t just go back?
Benjamin: No, they’d be looking for me
Benjamin: You don’t want to know
Benjamin: I think you know enough things by now woman
Katya: Shut your mouth, you are only young
Benjamin: You don’t know me, you don’t want to
Katya: I know enough about you and where you come from, could only imagine but child you haven’t lived long enough
Benjamin: I haven’t live at all, just suffered
Katya raised her arm to strike Ben
Benjamin: Just try it
Smack! Ben just looked back
Another wallop on the back of the head from Katya
Katya: No, you are sick, it’s that what you like?
Benjamin: No, but you seem to do woman
Katya: What is wrong with you, can’t you stand up for yourselves
Benjamin: I may deserve it, I’m a coward
Katya: You are not, just crazy
Benjamin: Not that much, can’t feel it much, you hit like a girl.
Katya: Want another child
Benjamin: A few more if you like
Katya: You are aroused by this?
Benjamin: Kind of
He smiled then laughed
Benjamin: No I joke woman, though if it makes you feel better..
Kayta grabs Ben by the ear
Katya: You are a pussy and you know it
Benjamin: You are strong woman, I like you, feisty!
Katya: You are just after one thing
He winked though Katya was unimpressed
Katya: Grow up!
Benjamin: Ok. We are nearly there I think, though seeing so much greenery I wish we could stay on this bus to see more of it.
Katya: Its nice I guess
Benjamin: Have barely seen one rifle yet
Katya: Lots where you are from?
Benjamin: It’s war country
Katya: Well you shouldn’t be there so
Benjamin: Shouldn’t be anywhere though have to make do somewhere
Katya: Why you here?
Benjamin: I love Riverdance and Westlife
Katya laughs uncontrollably
Benjamin: What’s so funny?
More laughing from Katya
Benjamin: I don’t understand
More laughing from Katya
Benjamin: I like their music, whats so wrong with that
Katya: Your music is shit
Katya laughs more
Benjamin: We will be there in twenty minutes
Katya: You can get off I’m staying on for the next stop
Benjamin: It’s the last stop
The radio comes on, Westlife’s new single comes on
Benjamin looks at Katya and smirks until….
Some one at the front off the bus: Turn that off!
Bus driver changes to the News
Radio: Further conflict in the middle east as Israeli forces move in on Gaza territory, causalities reported….
Benjamin puts his head down while Katya looks out the window and say nothing
Someone on the bus: Hate those fuckers
Benjamin starts to look angry until Katya pats him
Benjamin: I know, not going to do anything
Katya: I know you won’t child. I know you won’t.