More about the trauma that entered my life when I reached puberty. Part 1 can be found immediately below this post, or you can click on the link HERE.
A few weeks after my father rams his tongue down my throat, a fifteen year old boy who lives down the road lures me into a caravan to “show me something”. Once there, he pushes me onto the bed, pins me down, and tries to tear my clothes off. At first, Im too shocked to take in the nature of his intentions. Terrified, I think my life depends on my escape.
Fear is metal-flavoured. Later I will learn about the chemicals released by the body, which prepare us for fight or flight, but at this stage I know nothing of adrenalin.
He’s underestimated the accuracy of my fierce reputation, and the strength of metal. I struggle free, and punch him a couple of times. He reels backwards, finds his footing. Blushing, and staring at the floor as if in search of some small thing he has lost, he stutters a three syllable apology, which repeats. He’s stuck, and doesn’t try to stop me from leaving.
I’m confident that not even a boy five years older than me will dare cross me twice. I’m correct. I have ways, and I take to making his life as difficult as possible. I’m safe from him, but nothing can exorcise the feelings of rage and shame that hit me again and again, every time I think of the attack. I feel no conscious blame, but somewhere deep inside, I’m soon to start totting up the abuses.
Meanwhile, my father and I are avoiding each other’s eyes. He’s floundering, scrabbling to plan a strategy. I spend a lot of time on my own. I’m often to be seen running through the field below our house. No longer is it a joy; merely an escape. When I reach the bottom corner, I crouch down and crawl into my secret, secure space. This den is a miracle of nature, its earth walls dry and lined with tree roots where I conceal my private writings and pictures of Paul McCartney. When I show him my tiny hideout, I’ll invite him in. We’ll sit opposite each other, our feet touching, while I show him all the items I placed here in preparation for his arrival. Everything which belongs to us is here, everything which reminds me of him. This is my shrine to him.
Paul is going to save me. One day his limousine will choose a scenic route to a nearby gig. While passing a gate at the top of the field, he’ll spot the clump of trees close to my den. With a strange sense of destiny burning in his chest, he’ll ask his driver to stop, get out of the car, leap the gate, and eagerly sprint down through the field toward the trees. Like a sprite, I’ll reveal myself.
Only then will he know that the hollow emptiness that has always stirred in his soul was due to the lack of me in his life. We’ll spend the rest of our lives climbing trees together, playing tag in warm shadows and running in the sun. On sleepless nights we’ll talk to each other about our perfect world, our silver voices flowing across the small gap between the separate tents in the field where we sleep.
This is my deepest secret. It’s the reason why I smile as I write in honour of him.
It will happen. Soon. It has to.
Our lives will be serene.
Our love will be clean.
I was ten years old, traumatised by sudden, unwanted changes, both in my horribly blossoming body, and in my life. I dispised and feared the bulging bits, the blood, the bending cramps, and a future which may be filled with bastards who squeezed me as if I was a squeeky toy. When I was in my den, I lived out a fantasy. At all other times I continued to pretend I was a boy. It seemed like my only defence.
My innocence clung to me as tightly as I clung to it.
to be continued…
©Jane Paterson Basil