02 ] Thugette , Carmela
Welcome to the Kiss Kiss Bandits apartment!
Step beyond the front door onto our Ikea mat – that feels so nice, you’ll want to roll on it – and you’ll see the three-seater and widescreen TV staring at each other in the petite living area to the left. The TV was courtesy of our lovely Diva Tae, the doll. Oh, and over there in the corner is the desk where little Shaire does her school homework. The apartment is barely big enough for it. See the glossy black statuette on the window sill? Yeah, that’s our cat.
We got an open plan kitchen to the right. It’s surprisingly big, actually; we could get a table in there, shove four chairs around it and still have space to walk around it without having to shuffle sideways.
Just beyond the kitchen is the only bathroom. Do not, ever, underestimate the savagery that can arise in a girl who has to share a bathroom with three other girls. Shit, with anyone. It is war. And war is not the fucking playground.
Opposite the front door is the door master bedroom – I don’t know who in hell designed this apartment – which is the bedroom of the vibrant Kaidyn and Tae. We call it the Red Room. Standing ineffectually between the Red Room door and Shaire’s desk is the creaky Blue Room door, bedroom of the relatively quieter Carmela and Shaire. Despite that the Red Room is bigger, Kaidyn and Tae fight over the space like Amazonians. I knew they were used to having their own space of a certain size, but it took a stern word from me to get them to ‘make do’.
I want you to realise that it is not, nor has it ever been a ‘smooth ride’.
I want you to understand how much we had to work and strive and sweat and bleed to get this place. Look at it. So small, so neat and cosy, so homely; smelling of Tae’s fancy Nag Champa incense and Kaidyn’s perfume; Sierra’s black fur all over our favourite blanket that we drape over like legs when we watch a movie together; Shaire’s scraps of paper containing lyrics and poetry and homework covering every flat surface; Carmela not leaving a trace of her existence apart from a hi-tech laptop that Tae gave her, which always remained open on her latest music project. Literally everything they – we... have worked for, is contained within those four walls, the value dispersed between shampoos and big value packets of pasta and rice in the cupboards, our clothes, the furniture, the little pieces of decoration that we had.
Me, Tally and Kaidyn had managed okay when we were there. The New Bandits – as I didn’t discover for a long time – were seriously struggling. Besides Kaidyn’s job and the extra Carmela earned doing ‘confidential’ jobs with Redeye, most of the finances were being covered by Tae until her hideously wealthy parents cut off her allowance. Shaire was still at school and earnestly looking for work, joining the ranks of thousands of frustrated graduates. And each month when the rent was due... the fear of losing this sweet little place, and everything in it, hung over them all.
So that’s why I wasted five, six hundred words on it.