I opened the letter…
We are pleased to offer you a temporary accommodation following your application for housing…….
I smiled to myself, the council had offered me another accommodation. I was excited.
D and I and the three children moved into the property around six miles away. This was a large room in a hotel. It was a disaster at first but because D, was frustrated as he couldn’t do his business. I was secretly happy. I could finally get a breathing space. At times I felt like was a horse. In the day he would go to work it was great. I was still not happy mind you.
One evening after we had been there a month, D said to me.
“Your mum just lives down the road, in fact around 15 minutes walk”.
“Why don’t we bring the children to see her, she could get use to the grandchildren”.
These words stung my ears. I didn’t want D to know what I had gone through with mummy, it was my secret. Further he was no better to me.
“What do I do? Was the question.
“well, surely mummy wouldn’t hurt the children”. I thought.
“maybe she will like me now”. I thought
After all I was a big girl now, never a woman, yeah, mummy would see me as a big girl.
Most of all, “maybe D would stop beating me, because after all…
” I would have a mummy, wouldn’t I ?
The idea of D thinking I had someone, would stop the beatings.
“Well” , when shall we go D said. In that controlling voice.
The fact D said when, gave me back some control. D never ever asked my opinion. I had learnt my new word ” independence”.
This was the deciding point whether I should see mummy or not. It was now four years since I saw mummy.
We dressed the kids, and walked it down the road, to the house, while I was walking I felt literally sick, my legs were weak. D did not know how I was feeling, so I acted like I was ok. I was not, I was filled with dread, I was going back to the area of abuse.
I was recalling the rape, on the stairs, the beatings, the bullies, the graffiti, my school, which was a stones throw from my home. But I kept walking. Side by side we walked.
I could see the building getting closer to me, and I tried to control my breathing. We arrived at the building, I took a deep breath and walked inside. We stopped at the lifts, and waited.
The lift door opened, and someone stepped outside, my heart stopped until I realised it was NOT. Mummy.
As we stepped inside the lift, and the door closed, The walls seems to be caving in on me. I struggled to breathe, while at the same time keeping my secret from D. Fear engulfed me and the sweaty palms didn’t help. I was scared. When the lift door opened.
I wore the mask, and grinned.
D knocked the door, I stood behind him, peeping, wanting to leave, but routed to the spot. We stood there waiting, D, Me and three children. At my mummy’s door.
she opened the door, a short militant older woman.
She has not changed, I thought.
“Hi mummy, ” I said.
“I have brought the children, and their father. To see you.
She looked at me in disgust, said nothing and walked back inside. We followed.
We walked into the living room, can i sit down i asked. She did not reply.
My childhood fear took over, she had not given me permission so I remained standing.
“Sit down” she said.
Mummy was still in control and she knew it. I was still that little girl.
I sat on the chair, quietly remembering how to be polite, how not to speak unless spoken to. I looked around the room, I could almost hear my younger self crying and screaming. “Mummy please…as I ran from room to room. I glanced at her and I felt NOTHING.
I was in an environment with two people that could kill me if they wanted to. . I planned my escape route in my mind.
I would grab my two girls, the baby would be safe. I would run out the door, straight accross the hallway, down the other stairs, then up the stairs to the fifth floor across that hallway and down the stairs. After all D, and mummy didn’t know the escape routes.
“do you want a cup of tea, she said.
Her words brought me back to reality.
“No, thank you”, I said. “After all she could poison me” I thought.
D will have one though I said. well if he died that would be ok, I thought. At that point, many thoughts were going through my mind.
She made him some tea, with her favourite vanilla essence and handed it to him.
Then she sat down. She never spoke to me at all. I was invisible.
she spoke to D, about his parents, about his job, nothing about me.
I didn’t want D to know anything, so I acted like every thing was ok. I prayed she would not let me feel worse, or give permission to D to beat me.
“Give grandma a hug” he said to the girls. As he handed her the girls. she seemed ok, with them, she played with them.
I liked that. I wanted them to have someone of their own, as so far they only had me.
D explained that HE wanted her to meet the girls, he didn’t mention the violence. I can tell she didn’t mind D, she was always different around men. She treated him like he was a master. D, liked that.
She told D, we were welcome to come at anytime. Gradually I started to feel a little relaxed, after all she was just a little old lady on the chair, wasn’t she?
We continued to visit regularly, there was no violence for a period of three months, we all slept there, it was better than living in one room at the hotel…. She made me feel comfortable and although there was no love lost between us. My girls were happy.
My life change rapidly……