eighteen

being a writer at heart means no matter how many terrible, unbelievable things happen to you, it’s okay because they will always make for good stories. i seek out experience, and things just happen around me.

i turn eighteen with the police at the foot of my bed in my hotel room. i am not there in my head. i count down aloud to midnight. they ask ‘can you please spell your boyfriend’s full name for us?’ and ‘can you please describe everything’ but i am not there at all. all numb and unhearing. my boyfriend is out in the winter night without a jacket, wearing a shirt covered in blood hiding from police and i am beginning to shake. the fat policeman says ‘happy birthday’ and i say nothing.

it’s the last day of shooting the ad campaign so we throw a party in a warehouse in the city. it has big open windows and you can see all the buildings lit up outside like the world is on fire. i feel very pretty because everyone keeps telling me so. i dance around and everyone keeps giving me drinks. things begin to melt together. i shoot into the night until we get the last shots and everyone cheers. shooting is over now.

one of the male models says ‘you’re only 17 a few more hours, be young and stupid’ and so i do.

we all take taxis to the hotel room in kings cross. my agent brings me a cake and champagne and we sit on the roof, laughing. on the roof there is a garden and i walk through it and look over the city. i think about how scared i am to become an adult. i imagine the effect i would have on the world if i climbed up and jumped off. at least i would never have to grow up. i am ignoring my boyfriend, something has come over me and it’s not me. i am mean-tongued and stubborn. i can’t find my love anywhere, it’s run away.

soon i am in an elevator with a skinny ukrainian model who calls me nina and there are drugs and all i think is, this will be interesting to write about someday. i like the way she speaks and moves her wrists. then we are on the ground level and some of the other models are there and my boyfriend comes and he knows. he never drinks but tonight he has, he is unusually loud. he thinks another boy kissed me but no one has. we yell.

a bottle is smashed against tiled floor, my boyfriend punches a boy and runs through the hallway and punches a hole through the glass window in the front door of the hotel. glass is stuck between his knuckles and he bleeds down his arms and runs. i am on the ground crying and everyone is holding me in every direction but i feel like i am down here alone. breathe, everyone says, breathe really deeply.

i want to chase after matt but i know no one will let me. when we are in the elevator there are more drugs and i am now beyond thinking. i let others think for me. i don’t know if the drugs work or not but i decide to never do them again. downstairs my lover comes back to find me and no one will let him. they all hold him back from running into the hotel. upstairs the owner of the hotel screams to us ‘who the fuck smashed the window downstairs, we saw you with him, tell me who it was now’. but we stay quiet (while inside is the loudest my mind’s ever been). i begin to cry.

in the street my boyfriend is so cold so he takes a jacket from the trash and wraps it around himself. he lays beneath a truck for a long time and waits.

i am in the hotel room and my beautiful friend from los angeles is reading to me to calm me. her voice is honey. i drift in and out of unfeeling. in each pause i worry about matt, so much it makes me sick. i don’t know where he is and i am scared we are over. my body shakes hard.

here and there are blurred spots in my memory i am yet to remember.

the police come and the police go. my agent hugs me tightly and promises everything will be okay. everyone sends so much love my way i am almost soothed by it all. i do not know that thirty policeman arrest matt and put him in the back of their wagon. i do not know that when they ask him why he did it he replies ‘love’. my friend from la and one of the models falls asleep in our bed.

there is only me to my thoughts for the entire night and morning. i do not sleep or eat or pass time with anything but sick worry. at every noise i open the door, every half hour i go downstairs to see if he is outside the hotel. he is never there. a thought creeps across my mind and it makes me cry. the dead of night breeds frightening thoughts. i am scared he is gone.

the night is the longest living night there ever was.

i watch the sun rise. my boyfriend is taken to the police station, to the hospital and then to a jail where he spends the night. in the morning he is taken to court. i do all i can to find out where he is but i don’t hear anything back. morning is here and one of the models comes over and worries beside me. he brings me chocolate because i have hardly eaten in the last few days.

matt knocks on the door and i run at him so hard we fall over into the hallway. his arm is casted and his clothes are torn and bloody. he is home. it was like i’d been holding my breath the entire time and i could finally let go.

later the same day somebody asks me ‘did you have a memorable 18th?’ and i smile and say ‘yes, something like that’.

 

  1. Chelsea Marie

    I think I’ve read this story over and over maybe 5 times. It fascinates me for some reason. Your love story sounds similar to mine. Except my boyfriend and I live in suburbia. In the heart of Loveland, Ohio. We only dream of being wild and free like the two of you are. But your story inspires me to find magic in our mostly mundane lives. I’ve been following your blog for over two years now, almost the same length as my relationship with my own m (his name is Matthew). Thank you for sharing these beautiful stories with the world. I know many people follow you and I’m only one of them but I feel like i’m a part of your story, even if it’s a only minuscule part.

    With Love,
    An Inspired Fan

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  3. Chesney June 9, 2011

    your words speak so loudly to me, louder than any writing i've ever read before. stay beautiful :)

  4. eemah

    hi, i'm eemah. nice blog you have here and great stories and photo's too. Its so colorful in here, its like sweet, crazy, nasty and bold, interests me a lot, will be watching from now on.

  5. slow cheetah.

    Wow, I can't believe I found your blog- I just stumbled across it by accident. You don't know me but I've known about your photos on Flickr for a long time. You are the most amazing photographer, and I really really do mean that. Clearly you're also an amazing writer as well!

    You will go far :)

  6. Ana Jonessy

    A painless lesson, my dear Nimi, is one without any meaning. This night has taught you many; the power of love, among other things.

    May life bless you with an abundance of wisdom, without compromising your youth and your adventures.

    XO

  7. Dreamer

    what a whirlwind of a night! Sounds so dreamy yet so realistic. At least all was well in the end. I couldn't help but smile with that sentence at the end. =) Thank you for sharing such stories.

  8. Bethany Struble

    its so brave of you to open your life up to the world. thank you so much for sharing your photos and your words. you are such a beautiful person <3

    love,

  9. thekiddoesit September 6, 2010

    If you're shooting a campaign for a famous brand you shouldn't be telling there were drugs in the aftershooting party, they might not like this info leaks the internet. Also underage drinking and that stuff … you know, just saying …
    hope everything's ok now! btw nice writting ;)

  10. Just Another Londoner

    So not only do you take amazing photos, you're also an amazing writer. For a moment I was there with you. Keep sharing, because it seems this is what you are gifted to do.

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BOYS

so i spent my last week of seventeen with these boys. handsome and crazy. i was shooting a campaign in sydney and it involved making bonfires on beaches, taking shots of tequila, throwing parties and driving around sydney to find beautiful places to get out and run amok. we acted real young and stupid, especially the night i turned eighteen, but that story is coming.

there are a lot of posts that need to be, but for now this is the most up to date. i’ll just have to take you back in time a little with the ones that are coming.

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  2. Steve Emanuel June 27, 2011

    I am thoroughly convinced in this said post. I am currently searching for ways in which I could enhance my knowledge in this said topic you have posted here. It does help me a lot knowing that you have shared this information here freely. I love the way the people here interact and shared their opinions too. I would love to track your future posts pertaining to the said topic we are able to read.

  3. Just Another Londoner

    You weren't even 18 before? Wow, my life feels ridiculously inadequate now…Such amazing photos!

  4. Natalie

    i love these photos! all ur friends are super cute! :)

    natalieoffduty.blogspot.com

  5. Isabella

    Wow! The boy in the bath is really good looking!

  6. Lewis.

    You are my biggest inspiration! Ah, I want to have your talent or live your life. You sound like you are having a blast! How did you get found??
    How did you get noticed in an industry that is so difficult to get a job in??
    Please email me(if you could ever get the time!)
    xx

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