Late night, Monday, 20 December 2010. Five nights before Christmas.
I was staying at my eldest sister’s home in rural south-east Queensland.
She and her family had all gone to bed, and I was out in her garage guest-room borrowing her laptop PC (with her knowledge and permission).
Despite knowing that no one else was there, I still glanced nervously over my shoulder to see that no one else was there.
When I needlessly confirmed that there wasn’t, I typed one word into Yahoo! 7, selected ‘AU only’ and clicked ‘Web Search’.
I wasn’t looking for porn, though.
The word I’d typed was ‘bankruptcy’.
As I mentioned at the end of DA (Part 3), my financial situation was hurtling through disaster.
DA had certainly helped, but I still had to do something…
When I had first confessed my situation to my psychiatrist back in September 2010, he had mentioned bankruptcy – which at first I didn’t want to contemplate, because (a) I knew next to nothing about it and feared it, and (b) I wanted to somehow resolve my problem another way.
As the weeks and then months passed, however, I couldn’t find a way to somehow resolve my problem. At first, as I’ve previously described, I had made whatever payments I could and proactively contacted my creditors, but it was too little and too late, I fell further and further behind, and I became even more frightened and withdrawn.
Despite this, I still didn’t look into bankruptcy, because I had the impression that it was the complete end – you surrendered almost everything you owned, you could very well end up on the street, and somehow you started over.
At the time, I still had a desk at one of my employer’s worksites. That site had a shower that I had used several times during an earlier period when I’d walked to work. Several times during those last few months of 2010, I thought that if I went bankrupt and got kicked out of my apartment, I could secretly live at the worksite and still have regular access to a shower; all I’d need to do before going bankrupt is buy a sleeping bag or folding-bed to stash under my desk and bring out at night when everyone else had gone home…
By mid-October, however, my desk was reassigned because I’d spent most of my time working from home.
All was still not lost if I did go bankrupt, though, because I could ‘claim’ a hot-desk and make it ‘mine’…
Late December arrived, and I began my annual month’s leave at my eldest sister’s place.
Although she and my youngest sister have been two of my closest confidants in life, I hadn’t yet told either of them about my current situation – although when I did a year later, my eldest sister said that I had seemed “preoccupied” at the time.
Instead, I had resolved to leave my troubles behind in Sydney, and focus on Christmas and my leave.
I relaxed a little, but there were still voicemails from one of my creditors.
As well, on the evening of 19 December, something completely unexpected happened.
I was watching TV with my sister and eating Pineapple Lumps when part of a tooth crumbled.
I had just uncovered my first cavity – which meant that I would need my first filling.
Fortunately, next morning, the 20th, I was able to make an appointment for the next day, the 21st, with the first dentist I rang in a nearby town. As well, because my sister would be busy for a few hours elsewhere in that town tomorrow, I decided to use the time after the dentist’s appointment to call my creditor and do the right thing of actually speaking to them.
And the 21st was also a payday.
And a filling shouldn’t cost that much, should it?
So there I was that night, after a nervous glance back over my shoulder, searching for information online about ‘bankruptcy’.
The Yahoo! results came up.
One of the leading results grabbed my eye because at first glance it appeared too good to be true.
So I clicked on it.
And the website it linked to would change my life.
TO BE CONTINUED…