PART OF THE “BREAKING THE CODE OF SILENCE” SERIES
If you missed it, read Ungrateful Bitch (Part 1) first…
After a couple of hours spent shooting pool with friends and listening to the jukebox in the comforting normalcy of the football club, I arrived home, at 10pm as promised, in my boyfriend’s car – my bike in the boot. To be honest the last forty-five minutes at the club had been uncomfortable as I grew more apprehensive about going back. I was jittery and pre-occupied. A knew what my father was like and we had agreed beforehand that if he was there, A would bring me back to his house. I could have his bedroom while he slept on the sofa. He assured me his mum, a single mother who’d experienced domestic violence, would understand.
As soon as we pulled up on the drive I knew something was wrong. The house was in darkness but the curtains weren’t drawn. It looked eerie and empty, like the windows were watching me. I felt vulnerable. I got out of the car and walked up to the front door, the crunch of the gravel underfoot was magnified in the quiet of the deserted cul-de-sac. I wasn’t allowed a key, so I reached out to knock. As soon as my knuckles met the door, it soundlessly swung open to reveal the hall with its patchwork of shadows and darkness. I had barely a minute to grasp for an explanation when my father’s leering face appeared, inches before me, as he stepped out from behind the wall, “Hello”. The smirk that arranged his features betrayed his intense enjoyment of the drama he had staged. His voice was saturated with smug satisfaction.
Instinctively, I took a step back. “I’m gonna go back to A’s house for the night – it’s all arranged with his mum. I’ll come back in the morning and we can talk about this then, when everyone’s calmer” As I explained my decision to him, with a composure I didn’t feel, I could see that this wasn’t part of his plan; “You’re going nowhere!” His voice grew louder at the end of the sentence as he lunged forward and his hand closed around my arm. I cursed my slow reaction; a part of me hadn’t thought he would do this in front of someone outside the family. He followed me, step for step, as I tried to back away from him. His grip tightened until it became painful, was he going to break my wrist?
In my peripheral vision, I saw A approach us. He was saying something – telling my father to let me go. My heartbeat increased as adrenaline flooded my veins; this situation was not going to play out calmly. I was NOT going into that house, knowing what my father would likely do to me – whether you call it self-preservation or disobedience that was my motivation. I had suffered at his hands since the age of twelve; it seemed this was the point where I couldn’t stand it anymore.
By this time my mother was standing just outside the front door with my fourteen-year-old sister, who was starting to cry. She told us to keep the noise down – her only concern was what the neighbours would think. A took my free hand in his and my father yelled at her, “CALL THE POLICE”. His face was a mask of fury and his eyes blazed with anger, flecks of spittle flew from his lips as he shouted at A to let me go. I was trapped between the two of them as my father tried to pull me towards the door and A tried to prevent it. I couldn’t free myself; I was the rope in a human tug-of-war.
I don’t know how long we were like that, time gets distorted when you leave your body and become an objective observer of yourself in a traumatic situation, but A was the first to break the chain. He pushed my father, who stumbled backwards off-balance, and fell to the ground – losing his grip on my arm, and his glasses, in the process. A yelled at me, “RUN!”…
And I did, without thought, hesitation or plan. I just ran. I knew that if I didn’t, what awaited me was far worse than anything I might come across on the road back to town.
Don’t risk missing Ungrateful Bitch (Part 3) Subscribe now by RSS feed or email, or hook up with Expatlogue on Facebook.
Linking up with the Love All Blogs Mental Health Blog Hop.
Reading this sounds like you are well out of it in Canada. What a bully! I know teenage years are difficult and we had a few run ins with our kids but I still can’t understand why your father called the police?
PS as MissSHortie commented below, your writing is so powerful. There are writiers and there are WRITERS 🙂
Somehow, the physical distance of moving here has given me a clearer mental perspective about certain events from the past, but it had nothing to do with our decision to move. I’ve tried, over the years to speak to my parents about these things, but they claim not to remember them – a luxury considering I can’t forget them. My father went so far as to say that because he never hospitalised me, what he did was fine. The years I lost to depression and self-injury and those hospitalisations, seem not to count. My mother claimed ignorance and said I needed psychological help, not realising that the reason I was able to approach her about it was thanks to the help and support I received from a team of mental health professionals.
I’ve got to read the rest of your story, but sounds like all you needed was a good hug, love and compassion
That would have gone a long way…
Pingback: Ungrateful Bitch (Part 3) | expatlogue
Pingback: Ungrateful Bitch (Part1) | expatlogue
Your writing is so powerful, I feel like I am there watching what is going on, it’s upseting to realise that this is fact and not fiction. It has, however made you who you are today and as you can not undo what has been done you have to take strength from the past horrors of life and know that you are much better than either of your parents and always will be.
You are so brave to write so truthfully about what has happened, but I know you are doing it to try and change the silence that goes with these horrors and how it has effected you.
Take Care X
Thanks for your words of support, and I’m so glad the message is getting across about bringing incidents like these out into the light. You are doing some wonderful work yourself over on your blog – keep it up, it DOES make a difference x
Do you remember A telling you to get in his car and locking the doors, to protect you from Dad before you managed to escape? I don’t know how exactly you got away… I got told of for swearing though!…
I had a look at the house on Google Maps – it was the first time I had seen it since the night it happened.It made me feel very strange; remembering it all.
Aisha, this gave me goosebumps.
As I was reading, I was forming an opinion of everyone you mention but then I thought it’s too easy to sit behind a computer and judge others. One really shouldn’t judge but sometimes what we read or hear shocks us to the core.
You’re are right Ana, it is easy to judge from the safety and anonymity of your computer screen. But judgement isn’t what we need to combat situations like mine – that’s what makes them more likely to remain a secret. Over the years I’ve tried not to judge my parents, but I’ve learned there’s a difference between not judging and absolving of responsibility. I’m glad it gave you goosebumps, I was trying to recreate the scene from my point of view so I must have got the right feeling across.
How frightening. What happened next? And what a supportive boyfriend. My mothers temper used to terrify me, and I would dread going home as a teenager. I often never knew what awaited me
It’s the sheer unpredictability, the anticipation of terror that is the worst part, isn’t it? Something my father recognised and used expertly. The last installment will be out next week, insha’allah!
This is so powerful, I feel so deeply for you and your experiences and just wish there was a way to go back and make none of it ever happen. But these awful things – have they moulded you into the strong, supportive and inspiring lady that we find writing here today?
You are doing a grand job and I really don’t mean to sound condescending x
I’m so glad you added the last sentence or I might have thought you’d copied and pasted from a Deepak Chopra book! Seriously though, that is the only positive way to look at it so really there’s no choice – that’s what I have to believe; but some days, when the same old obstacles and difficulties rise up to meet me and I haven’t the energy left to beat them back, or when I’m enjoying all that life has to offer and I remember all those lost years spent in a fog of grim survival, THAT’S when I feel SO much anger and regret. I’ll never know the person I could have been. I’ve been limited to learning to love what I am now. Still, that lost person is purely hypothetical and learning to love yourself is a great achievement, so it’s six of one and half-a-dozen of the other!