One day my children’s father was playing dominos loudly, with four friends. My babies were unable to sleep. Call it crazy, but I knocked the door quietly and I definitely asked politely “could you be a bit quiet please, the baby’s are trying to sleep”
well before I was able to say another word he flew across the room and literally lunged at me, grabbed me and flung me outside the room. He started punching me in the face and stomach, he slammed by head against the wall and I started to bleed. Not one of his four friends came to my aid. They carried on like I was none of their business. I felt ashamed so I couldn’t cry, but the more I refused to cry the more he laid into me. I felt my legs buckled so I pretended to faint just so he could stop. He left me there and went back playing dominoes. I laid on the floor for a while until I heard them laughing and slamming the dice on the table. Then I felt it my little girl was laying on my back, sucking her two fingers like she always did. That was the time I started to cry. I was a mess on the ground, my baby shouldn’t see that.
I recall I got up quietly, as if in a trance and tiptoed into my room, I collected some nappies and change of clothes and I stuffed them into a black bag. I took a bottle of milk. My other baby was sleeping I lifted her up quietly, kissed her and put her down again; but I recall my hand trembling literally like a leaf as fear engulfed me. I was using one hand to steady the other. I did not dress my children as I knew if he came out the room, I would be dead as I was in such fear I would not have been able to tell him what I was doing. Tears were streaming down my face as my eldest daughter looked at me with concern, she clinged to me like she knew something was wrong. Everywhere I turned she was hanging on to my leg, as if she was saying “mummy don’t leave me” My babies early life was filled with misery and although I loved them very much, I couldn’t laugh with them as I would have liked. But somehow I managed.
I then went into the bathroom and washed my face, and collected my Dettol. The using of Dettol was a ritual, and my mummy warned me that I needed to use Dettol all the time. I went through a lot of Dettol as it was used to clean many wounds. I was able to buy this by saving 20p, each time I was given money. I knew he wouldn’t notice. This ritual of using Dettol to wash is still now entrenched in my life. I went in the kitchen to get more food items, I could hear him coming so I flung everything under the cupboard and pretended to wash the plates. He didn’t say anything to me. I recall there was a glass table with four chairs and I pretended to wipe it down all the time praying to God that he wouldn’t see. I am sure God heard me, although at that time I had no relationship with God, he definitely still had a relationship with me. 🙂
Well he came in and made himself a drink, strange he didn’t ask me to make it, maybe he was curious to see if I was alive. One of his friends they called him Chiefy came out the room too, he wanted to use the bathroom but he knew what had happened, he said “you all right”. All I could say was “yes” I could tell in his eyes that he knew that I wasn’t, but he didn’t help me; neither did he take the conversation further. The tension in the room was very obvious indeed.
I went back to the room and held my two girls, until the men were back in the room and the dominoes session was back in full swing. At the first slam of the dominoe I creeped upstairs and open the front door. Slam! I ran back downstairs.
Slam! I ran back up the stairs with the smaller bag I had previously packed. Slam! I ran back downstairs. Slam! I ran upstairs with the pushchair. The next slam didn’t come so I waited upstairs my heart pumping all the time. Slam! I went back in the room and gathered my shoes and cardigan and stuffed them in the black bag, that had my children’s few things. That’s all I had in my possession the cardigan was red with white stripes, it was not even mine I had borrowed it from one of the girls before I left the home.
Slam! I had brought the last items up the stairs. What if he caught me? What if he came out the room, my heart was pounding. Many thoughts were racing through my mind.
Slam! The sound of the dominoes hitting the table brought me back to reality I went back downstairs and picked up my eldest girl. Slam! I brought her upstairs and strapped her to the pushchair. With time precision I was back in time for the next slam of the dominoes and sound of laughter from the four men. Slam! I creeped back up the stairs and stuffed the black bag underneath the push-chair. Slam! My baby had started to cry, downstairs and I ran downstairs and I put one hand over the mouth. I believe until this day that my babies knew something was happening; but overall they were good babies that day.
I waited for the next slam of the dominoes, my heart pounding in my chest, my baby in my arms.
slam! I was at the top of the stairs. There I waited with my ears to the front door.
SLAM! went the dominoes. Slam! went the front door.
I started to run immediately.
I knew I had to run but the walkways were extremely long. I most definitely would have been caught. I had the eldest in the pushchair and the baby in my arms. I decided to run up the stairs to the left to the other walk way on the next floor. As I turned the corner I saw him, the caretaker, my heart skipped a beat. I must have looked like a frightened rabbit, but the caretaker just looked at me and smiled. I smiled back. No conversation was exchanged. I was not sure what he thought but something told me he knew and was wishing me luck.
Once I was on the next floor I turned right as I knew I lived to the left, I went up the stairs and ran down the hallway and then down more stairs. The chalkhill estate was labelled as the concrete jungle. But I had learnt my way around it. My head was throbbing from the beatings, but somehow I needed to get away. I don’t know where but I knew I would never be back. I walked and I ran, I didn’t know where I was going, I turned left I turned right until my legs took me 10miles away, I had no money. That night me and my children slept on the stairs of a derelict building. Tomorrow would be another day.
I gave both my girls the milk I had brought with me and they seem contented. I knew the milkman would deliver milk in the mornings; so I ran to the houses and took two bottles. It’s like my babies knew we were suffering because I recall them being very quiet. In the day me and my girls would walk around the block to ward off suspicions and then back to our home on the stairs. I had no family or friends and I didn’t know what to do. Funnily enough I felt peace. I had escaped two abusive homes and I was not going back to either. I was still 16years old, homeless now, with two kids. WHAT NEXT?