Quick note: If you have the time, donate to NSPCC or support them, they are a very good charity that help children in need.
How should I go about this? Maybe I’ll open with the generic ‘once upon a time’, but that would be too unoriginal. Instead let’s be unique, I’ll begin this story with the Sun.
When normal people think of the Sun the words ‘light’, ‘day’, ‘new’, and ‘hope’ come into mind. When I was younger, possibly four or five, I remember the other children in nursery always painting bright Suns above the scribbles of their happy families.
The Sun always seemed to contain this association with all that is good, there’s this innocence and love that comes with the Sun. We all instinctively seem to know that when the Sun rises all is safe and all is well. I could be having the worst day of my life but when the Sun hit my face, I would find peace and be able to pick myself up again.
When the sunrise appeared above the horizon on that bitter Monday morning in August. I woke up to it staring me in the face, I felt comforted. Like an angel had kissed me on the forehead. Even though I woke up feeling like complete crap the Sun made me smile, a bright innocent, almost genuine smile.
I was lying there, on the floor, tasting the iron from the blood on my lips. In a daze when the Sun peeped its head above the clouds and cheekily laughed at me. Its yellow rays and pure-bright grin, and gave promises of hope, of better days.
I couldn’t move, all I could do was lay there taking in the sunshine like some photosynthesising plant, as I listened to the buzz of the city beyond the open window.
London had never gone to sleep, long before Daylight made her appearance, life had been moving non-stop on the urban streets. Cars driving past and the pattering of heels on concrete.
The sound of sirens as common as the squeaking wheels of the bikers riding on the roads. Yes, that was the sound of fast-paced city life, cruel and uncaring city life, that lived on and continued on without ever looking back. Without ever thinking about those shut behind closed doors. Never stopping for the cries behind walls. My life at that time was much like the city, kind of merciless. It just went on every day regardless of my worries and concerns. It didn’t care if I wasn’t fast enough to keep up.
All of a sudden I heard a ‘THUMP’, it was the front door as it closed with its characteristic bang, and my heart began to pound as I assumed it was that person, that man, that bully who had walked in.
Fear reared its ugly head in my heart. I was scared of the monster that lived with me. I wanted to run, but my entire body was still aching, my leg was still twisted, and a rib or two was still bruised.
And the thought occurred to me, “even if I ran where would I go?”
So, I just sat there with concern as I heard footsteps growing closer and closer to my room.
“CREAK” was the door as it opened and all I could do was pathetically flinch as someone approached me. I didn’t cry or beg for mercy; it had never helped me in the past. So I silently lay there. Preparing myself to accept my fate when a pair of red bottom heels walked up to me and a short figure blocked the Sun from my gaze.
“Heels?” Relief flooded my heart. It wasn’t Martin, it was Mum.
She was wearing that short leather skirt that showed off her long skinny legs and always made me feel uncomfortable. Despite her black leggings, I could still make out the dark purple bruises that decorated her skin like tattoos. Her slim frame trembled despite being wrapped in a thick fur coat. Her knuckles were clenched.
“Martin got into a fight; he’s been arrested” was the first thing she said to me. She didn’t ask me how I was feeling, or whether I was in pain or not. Negligence was a habit of hers.
“So?” I replied with as much teenage angst as I could muster at that point.
“So that means we should pack up now and get out of here while he’s preoccupied at the station.” Her hands fidgeted and her eyes flitted as she repeatedly looked around as if something was going to jump out at us.
“What?” I was surprised, “you want to leave?”
“Good then start packing, I’ll give you ten minutes, we’re getting out of the city.” That was all she said to me before she turned on her heels and left the room in the fashion that she had entered it.
Perhaps it was from shock or just general bewilderment to what she had said, but my body suddenly felt light and I found myself struggling to my feet.
I swayed as I grabbed my rucksack and with zombie-like movements, I began packing. Well, you can call it packing, but really, I was tossing whatever I saw that had a semblance of value into the depths of my bag. Dull excitement made me giddy as I thought of us leaving Martin.
Ah…you’re probably reading this feeling a bit confused right now, I haven’t explained the situation well so let me give you context to this situation. I will tell you about Martin.
Martin came into my life when I was too young to know what the word ‘life’ really meant. On the surface our relationship appeared simple, Martin is- was- my Stepfather. In reality, he was no Father to me; he was my tormenter, my demon, my fears and my worries personified.
If I were to describe Martin kindly, I guess the best way to introduce him is as a snake, a snake hiding in a wolf that’s hiding in sheep’s clothing. Several layers of ugly and nasty wrapped up in the shiny paper.