If you feel this website has inspired you or resonated with you or if you found yourself thinking about someone who
would benefit from visiting these pages - Trust Your Intuition and send them the link.
If you would like to copy an article to your site or blog, you are welcome to do so, but must note copyright Sonya
Green and refer to www.reinventingmyself.com
If you would like to support this site you might consider:
emailing in suggestions or comments, a small donation, purchasing a product or visiting the links to our sponsors.
I didn’t recognise the voice repeating my name the way people do when
they’re not sure you have picked up and said hello. She kept saying
Sonya at the same time I was saying hello. Sonya, Sonya. Ya there? My
name seemed unable to find its way around her tongue and came out
sounding like shronYA.
Maaaate,’t’s me, Fayeeee. Ya there?
Faye. The voice made sense now; too many cigarettes, stoned at dawn
and drunk before noon; a lifelong search for love in all the wrong places,
and a ticket to no way out of here. The journey back to her father’s
rejection, just led her to the violent abuses of other broken people. Not
smart enough to be angry or strong enough to fight back, but willing
enough to bow down and plead for kindness or mercy.
I had been planning a trip back home and had already decided I would
drive the extra hours to catch up with Faye. The co-incidence of her call
was not lost on me and when we started talking, forty years disappeared,
and we were jumping up and down like school-girls. We spoke quickly
and kept interrupting each other as we excitedly tried to fill in the years
and tell our stories to someone who once cared.
The last time I saw her, I didn’t recognise her. Her face then was like her
voice now; it told her story. Ironically, it was her voice that I recognized
the day I found her sitting alone in a coffee shop, twenty years ago. I
recognised the voice, but it took time to find a photograph in my memory
to match it. Long seconds passed as I reconciled the wizened face with
the beautiful face in my mind.
See looked so old and frail. Her dull, home-hacked hair gave the
impression of dust and cobwebs. Her laugh sounded like a sinister
crackle, but I knew she was happy to see me. She caught my look of
disbelief and explained her black eye and swollen lip were her parting
gifts from Billy. Billy, I noted my contempt. Little, bloody Billy Watts; a
small boy when he was fifteen, but intimidating to everyone except Faye.
He was a part of the gang known as the Shark Beach Animals; word
around town was that they would rape any girl who said no. I suspected
that Billy was only accepted by the group because of his wit and
willingness to procure and assist. He wasn’t cool within his own right,
although he managed to fake it some of the time, by imitating the others.
I think his height bothered him but he acted like it didn’t matter by joking
about it and acting tough. I was left alone with him once and had to fight
him off when he wouldn’t let me out of a car.
Faye was really beautiful and popular back then; she could have had
anyone, but her low self esteem lied to her about who she was. These
days the Shark Beach Animals would be considered to be the scum of
the earth; losers and criminals. Back then though, times were very
different and to many teenage girls, including Faye, they were
Earlier on, Faye had developed a giant crush on a boy named Pete and
ended up being dumped by him after giving birth to his daughter; she
was just sixteen. He was classier than the rest and I hear he came from a
good family. I think he enjoyed the Animal scene more from teenage
rebellion, rather than by natural inclination. I think he acted like one of
the boys when he was with the boys, but he treated Faye like she was
something special when they were alone; not special enough to admit
paternity though or to even tell his parents about it. Not special enough
to ask after her or the baby or help out financially or otherwise. In fact, he
took off and never saw the baby. Faye never saw him again, but she
loved him for years and rehearsed what she would say to him when he
came back - another dream that never happened.
Faye was way out of Billy’s league, but he was a friend of Pete’s and for
a long time he accepted the role of ‘almost like a little brother’ to Faye.
Long after Pete had gone, Billy somehow managed to endear himself to
Faye. He was making a lot of money from selling dope, drove a fancy car,
acted tough and looked out for her and the kid. I think Faye thought he
was looking after her- like her father never did. Somehow the lines
became blurred and the safety she needed to believe in hid the danger
she was actually in.
We lost touch when I moved west, but we always sent cards for birthdays
and Christmas. We still do. Somewhere along the way, she just ended up
with Billy. I remember an invitation to her wedding but I couldn’t get there.
Billy had been busted for growing dope and was looking at a few years in
jail. She later confided that she thought he only married her so she
wouldn’t run off while he was away or that he needed someone to visit
him or bring him stuff. He was already abusive and violent before the
wedding, but she reasoned that it was only because he was short and
insecure. When he proposed, she asked if she could have Stand by Me
as their wedding song. He said no. For some reason, I felt more
disappointed with that than anything else; probably because I couldn’t
bear to think about anything else, I knew I would never understand it.
In the café she told me of her despair. She had been drunk and smashed
the car into a tree. When she told Billy, he beat her up and threw her out
into the night. I couldn’t get the whole story as it came in chunks and in
no particular order. What I could understand, is that she drank Bourbon
for breakfast most days and smoked dope like cigarettes. Her daughter
mothered her and she did well at school. No one in town liked her. She
had been banned from most of the pubs and had been asked not to
show up at any of the school events. Billy hated her and wanted her out,
but she had no where to go. She had never had a job and couldn’t
imagine working for a living.
I was so angry and so shocked and disappointed. I wanted to rescue her
and I wanted to confront Billy; I wanted to hit him. Her face had
transformed during the conversation and she was thirteen again and ‘I
was her best friend no matter what’ as we used to promise each other. I
was on holiday at the time and didn’t need to be anywhere, so I agreed to
go home with her, and take on Billy if necessary, while she packed a bag.
Faye and I had been rebellious and reckless teenagers and back then
we thought we were bloody tough and ‘didn’t take shit from no-one’. In
that moment, that’s who we became again, and I think we both knew that
if it came down to it, we really were that tough and we really would get
Faye knew that I had her back covered, and I knew that she was feeling
more powerful than she had in a long, long time.
When we pulled in, Billy was building something at the back of the house
with a couple of other guys. He looked surprised to see me and moved
forward to say hello. Faye came screaming from behind and kicked at his
work, smashing and scattering it across the grass. She was screeching
like a wild animal and taking swings at him. He tried to catch her arms
and spoke softly and deliberately. “Faye, don’t.” he kept saying. The
others sighed and moved away, looking helpless; there was something
about the way they moved that suggested that they knew how this would
“Faye, Faye, let it go, just get your stuff and let’s get out of here.” I
pleaded. Initially, I thought she was purging out years of anger and pain. I
knew that my being there had given her courage, but she was merciless
and hysterical and nothing was going to calm her. I could see that Billy
was struggling to calm her down, walk away, protect and restrain himself.
I was completely thrown off balance when I realized that this was
something very different to what I had been expecting. No matter what
Billy said or did and no matter what I tried to do, she would not stop; she
smashed things, slapped at him and screamed abuse at him until her
voice broke. It dawned on me that it was Faye who was abusive and
violent and quite obviously this was not an unusual event. I actually felt
that Billy might have to slap her to bring her back to reality.
Apparently, Billy had rented a small flat in town and Faye had been living
there for months. I stayed with her for a few days and we talked long into
the nights. I learned that she had become an alcoholic and he was
battling a drug addiction. They seemed to own each other; each others
prisoner and warden. Violence had become their language. She talked
about leaving him; getting sober and healthy. She could get a job and
her own place in another town…
She moved back in with Billy the day after I left, and stayed for another
five years. When he left her for another woman, she went on to find other
Actually, I shouldn’t be suggesting that Billy was responsible for Faye’s
problems. I’m sure it all goes back to the day her father took off and left
her mother with five daughters. She was a lovely woman and did an
amazing job of keeping them all going on a bit of a pension and part time
work as a cleaner. The girls had a lot of freedom and very little discipline
or boundaries. They were all very beautiful but also competitive with each
other. Faye didn’t really have an anchor in the family other than her older
sister Liz. Liz was a wild child who had left home at fifteen and travelled
with a rock band. She was super cool, stunningly beautiful and cold as
ice. When Liz moved back home, Faye tried hard to emulate her. Liz had
guys worshipping her; she treated them mean and they showered her in
attention, gifts and good times. She chewed them up and spat them out.
Faye felt inferior to Liz, but to my eye, Faye was definitely the more
beautiful in looks and the ways that mattered more. Liz had long blond
hair which probably caught your attention initially, but close up and
feature for feature; Faye would win any beauty competition. Liz was
street smart and charismatic whereas Faye was genuine and generous.
I first met Faye a few weeks before we both started high school. We were
too young to be hanging around the café strip at night, but my parents
didn’t know that I snuck out when they went to bed. She was sitting
quietly outside the group but a part of it just the same. She was watching
and taking it all in, looking like she belonged but not feeling that way
inside. She looked like a black cat. She had long glossy black hair and
green almond shaped eyes which were exaggerated by expertly applied
eyeliner. Her heart-shaped face was golden-tanned and flawless. Truly,
she looked like cat woman. She wore a mini skirt not much longer than
the width of a thick belt, fishnet stockings and white boots. She took a
swig of Muscat from a bottle camouflaged in a brown paper bag, and
drew a long breath on a cigarette. She passed the bottle to me and
smiled. I thought she was the epitome of cool!
I found out she had just moved into a street a few blocks from where I
lived. The next day I called in and we spent the day sunbaking on the
front lawn. She had a portable record player and an LP of Abby Road.
We played it over and over until we realized that the sun had buckled it.
Later we bought another copy and to this day I have always kept a copy
of Abby Road. That day we talked like two explorers who had been
separated and finally met up again. We exchanged life stories like they
were secrets that only we could know about. Her place became mine and
my place became hers; we did everything together. I loved her and she
loved me; in a way that only best girlfriends of a certain age will
We shared everything; we were like a living diary to each other. We
talked and compared our way through puberty, teased the boys, sang
and danced, hitchhiked along the beaches, took up smoking and
drinking, and we shared dreams and secrets and all of the tears and
laughter that came with all of that. People used to talk about us and
judge us harshly. A lot of our behaviour was affected to do just that; we
wanted to wind them up, shock them out of their sanctimonious little
boxes. Not because we were mean but because it was fun and funny.
When Gary Freeman took me parking I didn’t know what to do. I had a
giant crush on him and I wanted him to kiss me. I had only seen my
parents kiss in a hello goodbye kind of way. I was confused. I wanted to
kiss like they did in the movies. It seemed to me that a pash should last
longer than my parents kisses and that your head should move around in
a circular motion. I hadn’t seen enough of this kind of movie to really
study it. I thought I would improvise and made up a bit of a combination of
both styles. I kept my lips together and kind of moved my head from side
to side. Gary asked me what I was doing and I was mortified when he told
be to go away and practise how to kiss.
When I told Faye what had happened she just said, “I’ll show you.” She
gave me my first real pash and we practised it until she said matter-of-
factly, “Don’t worry, you’re a great kisser.” We never kissed again and we
never mentioned it again.
I can’t remember where or how she met Lenny. She seemed so excited
about him; he was so good looking and he had a car. He was eighteen
and she was fourteen. She fell in love with him and I thought that he was
a dickhead. He introduced her to sex and drugs. For a while I was happy
for her and she confided everything he said and did. He was bad for her
and made her feel immature and stupid. He played head games with her
and his possessiveness of her and jealously of me had her torn between
the two of us. Too often she was too busy with Lenny and when we did
catch up she was usually unhappy and spent the whole time talking
about how cruel he was and how much she loved him. Bit by bit, he
chipped away at her self esteem and she withdrew and became nervy.
He would show up off his face, drive recklessly, flirt with other girls and
stand her up. The worse he treated her the more desperately she tried to
He became infatuated with her sister Liz, who saw him as an opportunity
to drive her around and score dope for her. Sometimes Liz would sit with
Lenny in the front seat and Faye sat in the back watching them flirt and
laugh with each other. Lenny continued to have sex with Faye but it was
Liz he really wanted. Faye spent the best part of the year crying,
drinking, getting stoned and falling apart. Liz delighted in tormenting her
by threatening to steal Lenny away.
It was Liz who told Faye that Lenny was dead. She didn’t know the details
but he had committed suicide. Faye was devastated; she was changed
by it forever. Liz later said to Faye that Lenny was a loser and that she
deserved better. She hinted that she wanted to break them up for Faye’s
sake and that one day Faye would thank her.
The boys at school acted crazy when Faye was around; most of them
had a crush on her. Men stared or whistled when ever she walked down
the street. She looked like a girl that had it all and she did an excellent
job at faking it. The classier men assumed she was out of their league
because she looked right through them. I don’t know how she picked
them but she seemed to have some kind of homing devise that sought
out the broken ones.
Pete was probably the most stable of them all, but then again, he
probably damaged her more than any of them. Pete hung with the wrong
crowd but he came across as better than the rest of them. He was gentler
and treated Faye with sensitivity and kindness. He appeared to be
everything that Lenny was not and she quickly fell in love with him and
began to dream big dreams. Within weeks she discovered that she was
pregnant. [The pill was not readily available to single women; especially
teenage girls. No one knew much about contraception at all, because no
one outside of marriage was supposed to be doing it.]
She had only just left school; she was in the lowest grade and failed most
of her exams so she only completed two years of high school. (Those two
years had been consumed with Lenny). She was aware that she would
be pressured into adopting out the baby and that she would be shamed
and gossiped about. Abortion was illegal, expensive and dangerous. In
those days boys were usually forced to do the right thing and marry the
girl. I think she secretly thought that that would make it all worth while and
if anything, marrying Pete would be a dream come true. Some wondered
if perhaps she might have deliberately become pregnant to snag him.
She was desperate to be loved and taken care of, and marriage might
have given her the security and future she had always wanted.
When she told Pete he said “You’re F…ing kidding aren’t you? It’s not
mine and I have friends who will say they have all been through you.
There is no way that you’re tricking me into marriage and you won’t get a
cent from me.” With that he left town and she went home. Seven months
later she cried her daughter into the world on her own. She called her
A small town can be a cruel place and one you can’t defend yourself
against. No one says anything that you can challenge or explain. It’s in
the eyes, the looking away or the subtle nod that says ‘You got what you
deserve.’ You don’t hear those whispers you just feel them. Kind
condescension is also acidic. Judgements aside, the loudest silent
question was, ‘Why hasn’t she left town and given that baby up for
Faye was aware of the three sixes being painted on her forehead. Nice
girls in her situation left town to stay with an aunt in the country or to go
to school in the city. Social hypocrisy and Christian morality saw a boom
in adoptions at the time and it was just the ‘right thing’ to do. It wasn’t just
the shame of it but also the practical matter of no financial support and
the greater adage of the time “No man would ever take on another mans
barstard.” You were actually referred to as ‘used or damaged goods’ due
to the deluded misconception that brides were virgins.
Luckily for Faye she had developed a sense of not caring too much
about the opinions of others; or at least not allowing it to show. She had
never had a lot of approval or acceptance, so feeling stoned by the
sinners only made her stronger.
As it turned out, the Government at that time changed history by
introducing a special benefit for single mothers. Every fortnight Faye
would go down to the local police station and sign off on a payment. It
was humiliating but it gave her the best chance she had of managing on
her own. She rented a car garage which had been converted into an
Jane, a friend of ours, and myself moved in with her. The rent was only
ten dollars per week. Faye and Kelli shared a partitioned room and Jane
and I slept on two single beds in the main room, which was also used as
our lounge and dining room. I remember it well as there were no
mattresses or blankets. Our clothes were used as bedding, so we didn’t
need a wardrobe. Another partition sectioned off a kitchen sink and a
toilet. We loved it and some of the best times of our lives were had in our
little hovel. We were free and independent and that’s all that mattered.
The building was too small, but the yard was large, so we had people
over all of the time. It was probably the only place in town where
teenagers could hang out without parental supervision. There was
always music and laughter and in a strange sort of way we created an
We were a short walk to the beach so most of the guys who surfed would
call by our place. The fatherless baby had more male attention than any
child could ever have. Faye was surrounded by people who cared about
her and the baby bought her more love than she had ever imagined. She
was a great mother; she seemed to know what to do as a matter of
instinct and common sense.
We went our separate ways, and when I left she had moved in with Ted
who appeared to love her and treated Kelli as his own. I heard later that
he was on the dole, smoking a lot of dope and had taken to beating up
Faye. Over the years I heard similar stories; different names and
occasional remarks about her drinking and pot smoking.
Time and distance moved us in different directions, but the biggest
distance was more about who we were, rather than where we were. We
make our choices and play the hands we are dealt. I don’t really know if it’
s about right or wrong, good or bad or just pathways to destinies. I do
feel certain sadness about her and wish things had been better, but who
is to know? Every life is interesting and challenging and I often wonder if
we are all just searching for ways to heal our wounds. I don’t need to
analyse or explain her, nor do I wish to judge her or fix her.
I am looking forward to seeing her. She was my first best friend and that
to me is a sacred space within me.
Sonya Green 2008
|My First Best Friend
When we travel a different path
Low self esteem, teen pregnancy, addiction and abuse.
Download Healing Meditation CD from Itunes
Insightful and thought provoking articles
on personal growth and healing
~ SONYA GREEN
Ebooks also available for download from Amazon Barnes and Noble and most download
sites. Click the link top left or the book cover for more info.