Almost daily diary!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

From the past (with explanation)

(Afterword: Having read a couple of comments below, I thought that perhaps I should explain that these events, spaced across 6 or more years, at the time did not feel catastrophic, dramatic or even on ordeal. Life just lurched from event to event, good and bad, intense and less so. Perhaps it was because I was so young and had nothing to compare my life with, perhaps it was the time itself? In the early to mid '80's I had never heard of 'Domestic Violence' I don't think the phrase had been realised back then, it wasn't on the news, on advertising hoardings or seen between TV programmes, it wasn't in my vocabulary; things happened but that's just how it was. I didn't share these events with my family - can you imagine the fuss, things were complicated enough? But then again, as I have said, there didn't seem much to tell. It is only now, now that I put it all together - and condensed here even more so- that I realise I was a victim in a way. But I prefer, like many others, to think of myself as a survivor - and that is a survivor of life in general, not just of Domestic Violence.)

"Guess who touched me on the arm in the supermarket yesterday?" She says in an animated fashion. I shake my head. "M!" she shouts with glee, "you know, your old flame?" I nod my head and she continues with enthusiasm. "He asked after you". She is pleased to have seen him and I look at her in amazement.

She is talking about a man that she didn't really approve of all those years ago, he had tattooed arms ( I was instructed from an early age to "never bring a man home with a motor bike or tattoos!") and long hair - though no bike - and she had said that he had no table manners at all. She thought he was lazy and not suitable (despite owning his own company) and "was he seeing someone else?". I will always remember that line because I was never quite sure myself. Yet here she was talking about him like an old friend (though she had warmed to him over the 6 or more years we were together.)

"I just happened to have some photographs of you all, I'd just collected from Boots" She continued. Goodness me she has shown him photographs? "He has 2 girls now you know?" I did. "He says tall Girl looks just like you"
"Poor thing, everyone says that to her." I reply as I make a swift mental calculation and realise I was hardly 3 years older than she is now when I first met him.

As she carried on I began to remember parts of those 6 years, or was it 7. The images flashed through my head at speed, like a film-strip flicking on a stark white wall superimposed on the current view of my mother sitting in her conservatory. Each scene played for only seconds but were none the less vivid: The fist through the car windscreen, from the inside; the blue room, in a fairly grim B&B in Dartmouth, and the searing pain of sex, as I lay silent and he ground down on top of me without my consent; the view from the back of the ambulance as we sped to hospital to have pills pumped from his stomach; the promise I made afterwards - how many others had said those same lines?

"He says he thought he saw you the other day" She smiled as she delivered this piece of news "and I told him you'd love to have had a chat" I smile back, remembering better times, times when he could talk me out of a black mood and make everything in the world seem so much better, just with words. The time he stroked my head until an agonising migraine had passed; his last note to me - everything will be alright.
"He says he often thinks of you kindly" She finished

How strange, until now, I had never thought of him at all.


nick said...

Strange that your mum gradually warmed to him. Does she know the full story about the violence and the pills? Or has she somehow romanticised everything?

Suburbia said...

No Nick, she never knew about those things.

Maggie May said...

Its a pity you couldn't have confided in her but I think that you either can or you can't with your own mother.
It sounded as though you were well shot of him and I wished you'd told someone of your ordeal.
Strange (frightening ) how people can be idolised when they least deserve it.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Steve said...

We all go about in our bubbles, don't we, ignorant of what has happened in other peoples. Perhaps that is a mercy?

Anonymous said...

A very honest piece of writing. I'm never sure whether the past be best left where it is?

Fi from Four Paws and Whiskers said...

Very interesting -we do tend to normalise our lives even though they are often examples of "DV". I did... it took a friend commenting for me to realise the extent of what was wrong. More importantly, that the situation was not one I caused and that it was real!
Parents rarely get a chance to see the reality of their children's lives because we seem wired to want to make them proud of us and avoid any "I told you so" feelings. No wonder your mother did this...

I heard an interview recently - a man whose daughter was murdered here by the husband she was leaving. He said how ignorant they had been about her situation and he wished he had known the risks and sought advice etc - she hid so much from her parents and in the end she died for it.

Furtheron said...

Hmm - I never hit my wife. However I was an abusive drunk for many years - when I went to rehab her Mum couldn't believe it - but she didn't see the torment I put her through, the lawn littered with tools thrown from the shed in a paddy - the slammed doors etc. etc. She wasn't the one repeated clearing up after me like my wife did

Friends said the same "He isn't that bad is he?" Only those in the relationship know what the relationship is really like

BTW - the advice I give my daughter is to never bring home someone like me! We have had a continual procession of divs in baseball caps I'm afraid. However at the moment she is currently steadfastly single :-)

NitWit1 said...

Abuse in a relationship comes in many forms,some less violence but emotionally devastating.

A difficult post to write, as well as read.

Suburbia said...

Furtheron, perceptive of you, it was often alcohol fuelled but I had forgotten the significance of that. He never hit me, but damaged things sometimes. You are right, only being inside the relationship - any relationship- can you really know how it actually is.
Thanks for your thoughts :-)

Suburbia said...

Thanks Fi

Rose said...

I think we often put up a front with parents and others, pretending all is well when it most certainly isn't. I'm sure your Mum would think differently of him if she knew the truth, but after all these years, it's probably just as well she doesn't. I'm glad you've put this relationship way behind you and don't even give him a thought anymore.

Powerful writing!

Looking for Blue Sky said...

Well this brought a lot of mixed memories back for me too - and I think people on the outside forget the the bad stuff is mixed with good stuff too. Sometimes the good times are so good that you want to hang on, you want to believe that it will all be okay. I try not to think about my ex, but he has a bad habit of ringing the house almost every day! xx

Liz said...

I am so glad you have escaped from the past and have a bright new future ahead of you, Sub.