Young & Uncomfortable
This is where my story gets slightly more disturbed, if it wasn't already. During, and after, the events that transpired with the courts and my father,there were other demons in my life. I was unencumbered with confusion, dread and fear for the first few years of school. You would think it would be very hard for a five year old to have demons, but I did. Most children already fear school, it being an unknown place where their parents aren't there to support them. Most children have the fear of being bullied, outcast and ridiculed. I had all those things later on in my childhood, but these demons were those of which the adults would whisper about when near children.
Abuse. This is yet again my topic sentence, yet a different kind. Admittedly not as physical as my wonderful father's abuse, but enough to make me still have nightmares about them fifteen years on. From the first moment onwards, I was never the same. My pathway through life had been tackled and changed and I had no idea just by how much. This story has three parts, three sets of villains and one very lonely little girl.
I was in year 2. I was 6 years old and I attended Lucas Valley Primary School in Harrow. These are the seldom facts that aren't blurry to me. Class had been going on from a number of hours, that number i do not know. Physical Education was next. For a full-figured child like me, I already hated any form of exercise. 20 minutes or so before PE started, I had gotten into trouble. Nothing too severe, but I was being reprimanded by my teacher Mrs Elsey. I believe I had thrown an object at another student or something, but I cannot remember. It was so trivial, it shouldn't have mattered, but it did. The teaching assistant was standing very close, listening to my admonition. Let’s call him Mr D because I have no idea what his name was, nor can I remember what his face or any of his physical attributes looked like.
Nevertheless, it was PE time. We were a small primary school, so there were no gendered changing facilities, or any changing facilities for that matter. The boys would get changed in the classroom, with the blinds closed for privacy, and the girls would get changed in the cloakroom. It wasn't a perfect system, not one that would be tolerated with today’s child safety policies by any standard, but it worked just fine back then. The cloakroom was that of a U shape, so nobody could see us, and it was located right next to the single stall bathrooms.
In the cloakroom, I was getting changed with the rest of the girls. Mrs Elsey shouted in that Mr D wanted a word with me when I was done changing. I had just taken off my little white polo shirt, but before I could finish changing, I was pulled into the girls bathroom stall. I was wearing nothing but my knickers, tights and shoes. I was 6, so there was no hiding behind a bra or a vest, just my little kiddie nipples out in the open and my thick blue tights clinging to my tiny legs. It was Mr D.
He started talking, very quietly, about how he was disappointed in me for getting in trouble earlier. I said sorry. He said he felt as if Mrs Elsey had been slightly too harsh on me considering the crime. I said thank you. He asked if I wanted a present to make me feel better. I, incriminatingly, said yes. He pulled out a caterpillar from his pocket. He told me to pet it. I did. It wasn't like any other caterpillar I'd ever seen before. It wasn’t green, it wasn't small, it wasn’t slimy, well… not at first. It was hairy. I was scared. That wasn’t a fucking caterpillar. Even in my innocent youth, I knew that. After he squeezed his caterpillar so hard that it exploded, he left. I finished changing and did PE. I didn't feel right. The whole situation didn't feel right. Do you now understand why I called him Mr D?
About a week later, I woke up in the middle of the playground with teachers fussing over me. I had tried to hang myself with a plastic skipping rope. How twisted is that? 6 years old, first suicide attempt, Check! I don’t know what I was feeling, I honestly don’t remember. But I remember my sister being absolutely furious with me, as the school had to get social services involved. Jessica remembered the social workers from when we went to court over our Father and she was not pleased. But it all went away eventually, and it was never spoken of again. I wonder what would have happened if I had told my mother, or Jessica about why I had done it. Would things have been different? Would the abuse stories have ended with the first one? Who knows?
After only a year after the traumatic event of Mr D, I would find out that my demons were only just beginning to show. One had been secretly waiting for me, in my own family. He wasn't blood family, which somewhat makes this less disturbing, but it’s still a massive shit show.
My auntie was a lovely woman. Emma Russo. Emmy as we called her. My mothers sister and my grandma's daughter. I adored her like a second mother. She was slightly more upper class than my mother, working in Orthopaedics for the NHS, being married and just generally having the most seemingly perfect life. She looked very much like my grandma, with her plumpness and short brown hair. She was the sweetest woman alive, always laughing and loving everyone that entered her home. She was my favourite person for a long time. So it literally dumbfounds me to try and understand how she married, and bore the child of, one of the most disgusting waste of spaces that has ever lived. He was an okay guy to begin with. Abit creepy and weird, very dorky. He worked in engineering so it’s only right he fits the stereotype for a creep. He was like watching a horror movie in a foreign language. You have absolutely no idea what’s going on, but you just have bad feelings constantly and that’s how it was as soon as he set foot in the room.
Every Tuesday night was bingo and beer night for my mother. Ever since I can remember, every single Tuesday without a doubt, 6pm until around 11pm, she was gone. When we were younger, me and my sister would go stay at my aunts for the evening. Sometimes it would be my aunt and her husband, sometimes it would just be her, and the other times it would be just him watching us. The latter is when I knew I was not going to have a good night. As my sister grew into her mid teen years, she stopped coming to our aunts and started going out with her friends. That’s when the nightmare properly started.
We have a recurrence of situations. I’d gotten into trouble for doing something trivial, and again, I have no idea what. My uncle didn't drink, from what I can remember, so I have no idea where his anger suddenly came from, considering he was usually pretty laid back. I remember his rocking chair in the living room that my mother had often smacked my ass over. He sat down, pulled me over his knees, pulled up or down whatever I was wearing and smacked four times. This wasn't enough for him. Blur. Blur. Blur. Discipline shed. Those are the only words I remember from his mouth. To this day i cannot think of any other conversation we ever had, or his tone of voice, just those two words.
It wasn't a shed, like suggested, it was the attic, but semantics didn't matter at that point. I was in a cold and dark attic, bare from the waist down, with a red raw handprint on my 7 year old ass. I was absolutely terrified. I’d been smacked before obviously, but usually only once, and in the heat of the moment by my mother, not several times over a person’s knees. Everything happened so quickly. I could see the ladder had been pulled back up and was blended into the floor of the attic, so it was nearly pitch black. Blur. Blur. How did we even get up there? He told me to bend over, I think. I don't remember him grabbing me at all, dragging me anywhere. I just remember him smacking my ass like there was no tomorrow. I glanced back. Not a fucking good idea Mais! His little caterpillar was out, and he was stroking it hard and fast.
I hate this fucking world. I couldn't look at him. I couldn't be around my aunt. I still saw her frequently after that, but I always tried making sure he wasn't there first. I couldn't look at her after that. To this day i’ve never told her what happened, and i don’t think i ever will. That was the only time he actually touched himself whilst doing it to me, but wasn't the only time he gave me a spanking, so who knows if he did it after just to the memory of it. I hated myself for this happening. I didn't understand. Everybody, apart from him, in my immediate family were women, so I just thought that was what men do.
Third one’s a charm. This story is the one I think I remember the least about. This story will make absolutely no sense and will probably have the least amount of emotional impact, for the pure fact that over half of it is missing. It's severely hard for me, because I don't know what happened to me during this time. It is literally a black screen of fog between me and this suppressed memory. It’s mainly the fear that i felt, that I remember.
As we have already concurred, my mother was common. That meant that as much as she loved us, when we were out playing in the estate as children, she wouldn't see us from the morning until dinner time. If you weren't home by the time the first street lamps came on, you were in trouble. One day, I don’t know how I got there, but I went to a newsagent shop down town, which was about a thirty minutes walk from my house. I probably walked there, but who can say. I remember the shop layout, and that two older Asian men worked there. I don't know how or why, but they took me to their flat. It was across the road, down a couple of alleys, up some stairs and the flat was situated above a pizza restaurant. It smelt like damp. I have no idea how old i was or why i was stupid enough to go with them but I definitely knew about stranger danger at this age,plus I had already gone through traumatic experiences. But my little brain didn't seem to register that two Asian men, who were maybe mid forties, taking a girl, definitely under the age of 9, into a dodgy looking flat on her own, was NOT...OKAY!
In the corner of the room was a stained mattress. Under the window was a stained radiator. The carpet, beige and stained. It was just one big mess. I was dragged to the end of the mattress. I sat down, crossed my legs and started to sob. They both comforted me, got me a glass of water and said it was all going to be okay. How fucking dumb was i? One started to kiss my neck. I froze. The other stuck his tongue down my throat. So much for my first kiss being magical. I pretended my little nokia brick phone went off and tried to make an excuse to leave. I stood up but got thrown back to the mattress. I hit my head and it hurt. Blur. Blur. Blur. They were shouting in their language. I heard two women enter the room and I sobbed with joy thinking that they were going to save me. Somehow my little pink top wasn't on my body anymore. I saw a flash of a camera and then it was dark. One of the women had grabbed me by my leg, dragged me and stuck me in somewhere. The walls felt wooden when i knocked on them so i'm assuming it was some sort of wardrobe.
It felt like days had gone by. I was scared. I was wet from pissing myself for however long I had been trapped for. I thought I was going to die. Blur. Blur. Fucking blur. Sunlight. I had no idea how, but I was outside. I knew where I was so I walked home. I had my pink top back on, along with my coat, and trousers that looked like mine but were not soaked in urine. I arrived home. ‘You’re home early, dinners not going to be for another couple of hours’ my mother said as I walked through the door. I was so confused. It hadn’t been days, it had been mere hours. Had I even been gone at all? Surely my mother would have realised if i was gone for days! Did i dream it all? I must have. Nothing made sense. My clothes were dry, I didn't feel any physical pain. What the fuck? I went to my room, took off my coat, and then I saw it. It fell out of my coat. A fucking picture. A polaroid looking picture of me topless on that stained mattress soaked in urine. I panicked and burned it. I took my mothers lighter into the bathroom and burned that fucker in the sink. In hindsight, I could have saved it as evidence to show my mother or the police. But I was a child, and i didnt want any attention for what had happened and I thought I would be in trouble for going with them in the first place.
I know these stories may be hard to read, because they certainly aren’t easy to write. These stories were the last things I managed to tell anyone. I know there are still so many parts missing, but to be honest, i don't want to remember anymore.