Following a terrible previous year, I was glad to welcome in the new year, always hated christmas but liked the new year. I wondered what this year had in store for me.
D was in and out of the home, but he provided for the children so we were fairly comfortable, by way of basic things. D had rented a room but we were getting on better. He was still working as a carpenter and painter and decorator, so that helped as we had limited times together.
I was still deeply unhappy and I couldn’t shake it off, no matter how many people were around me, it felt as if something was missing I always felt I was destined for better. It was as if I was here for a purpose. In fact maybe that is what I wanted to believe but one thing that kept bothering me was why so many bad things had happen to me since my arrival to the UK. There were many questions and no answers. After all I was only young when I arrived to the UK, what could I have possibly done?
I was very lonely. Strange but true.
When my youngest was a year old, I decided to try to find a job. I started working for the local council as an administrative assistant. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing but I pretended I did and gradually I mastered the filing system and administrative duties. It was only a six month temporary contract but it gave me the feel for more freedom and independence. I got along well with all my work colleagues the only difference is they were my age, but had no children, yet, here I was with five children, and for the first time I was wishing I could do the things they were doing. Although, they were in awe that I had five children at age 25. Little did they know I had lived the life of a forty year old from the age of 14 and had experience more then they could ever imagine. My life had centered around rape and abuse.
I was still in legal battles with my mum who was still in the background causing trouble and checking my every move. She was constantly making accusations that D was not a good father, so I became under the watchful eyes of social services department. The children still needed to see her at weekends which was now the new order, but Ds children weren’t allowed to go, so you see this caused inner turmoil, as the very thing I wanted for my two girls couldn’t happen. D treated them as if they were his children, but my mum destroyed this every weekend. She held fast sowing her poison seeds.
When my children were with me I had no choice but to tell them that D was their only father, and that they should always remember how well he treated them.
Although, I would not lie to my children, I wanted to avoid the feelings that I had experienced and that was the sense of not belonging, I wanted to avoid the tension between sisters, but it was hard. I didn’t want my children to grow up believing in a lie, that D was their father, but D accepted the role why couldn’t my mum? She was jealous and cantankerous. I knew I had to accept defeat, especially as spoken words are powerful. I knew sadly my third daughter would know the difference.
As I was leaving the house a few months later D arrived. He stood in the doorway and held out a little red box. When I opened it, there was a ring inside.
“Will you marry me” He said.
I was shocked at first, as it wasn’t what I expected and it was certainly not what I wanted. Everything moved in slow motion, it was if his mouth was moving but I couldn’t hear the sounds.
I thought this must be a joke…my whole life was filled with misery D wasn’t the guy I wanted to marry, he drank too much, he was too miserable, he was too ignorant, he was no fun at all, he was old fashioned, he felt that even at my age, a woman’s role was cooking and cleaning. I didn’t want this, I felt there was something else missing I wanted to be free. But, I wasnt…
In those seconds my mind was racing, I would certainly end up an old woman, cooking cleaning and performing my duties at night. In fact due to my experiences of men, I knew I didn’t want to marry anyone. This was not an easy decision until something snapped in my mind. But he was a good father. I guess I needed to put my feelings aside and do what was right for the children.
” He will also now become a legal bed partner” the voice in my head said, could this be his reason? But I ignored the voice.
I didn’t know what to say, but I was a mum first and foremost, my children needed stability. Many thoughts raced through my mind and I started to blame myself, it felt like I lived a careless life. It was my fault I thought, I should have stayed at home, but, as my mind drifted to the time at home. I realise I was kidding myself, I had no regrets about leaving home so young. But I had regrets how my life had turned out after leaving home. There was no one to catch me when I fell, no one to show me right from wrong, no role models, no parents, no family. I was still very alone. Yes I had friends, but in reality, I knew they never needed me and they would never need me as much as I needed them.
I was technically trapped, in a life of hell. I missed my father, the only significant person in my life. I missed jamaica. Although I had the children, it felt like they had each other and I was just their mother. I tried to be the best mother, but I had no clue what a mother should be, I felt that I was mentally stuck at 14 years old, and I did what a fourteen year old would do and that was to care for them, like you would a priceless doll. After all I had no great experience on motherhood, I was far too young to have children and my naievity made me feel incompetent as a mum. But I tried..
I desperately wanted someone too, someone to tell me if I was doing good, or if I was making mistakes. That longing never went away.
Now here I was standing at my front door, about to leave for work, with an engagement ring glistening in a red box. I was going to be a legal wife. I didn’t like jewellery anyway, plus I had never had any, but this particular jewellery for me would symbolised my fate with an obsessive individual, who was always drinking, who always wanted sex.
I was also in a situation where I desperately wanted my children to have the life I didn’t have; instead I my children were being a target, and were being mentally abused, by my mum, as I now called her, they were never able to forget that D was not their dad, She would never allow that until this very day. I was constantly fighting for stability, for myself and children; for them to have a large family that was in my dream.
I was about to do something that could change all that on paper.
Yes, I said “I will marry you” I remember I tried to avoided his gaze.
But was I doing the right thing, I felt I wasnt, but from previous posts, you will gather, putting my children first was all I ever did.
D had started to calm down and it appeared he did want the family structure. but by now he was drinking regular. Oh I hated the smell of stale alcohol all over me. But, what was the use complaining, since arriving in UK at six years and a half. I had experienced the most abuse from people I trusted. I was caught in a world that was alien to me, with people whom were all strangers. This was infact a minor.
I recall I never felt the butterflies, I never felt the excitement, but deep down I remember feeling revenge towards the woman who he was with. I also remembered the legal battle with my mum, I smiled to myself as I thought “if I was married she would be fighting D as well as me”, as we would be one.
Simple things please simple people I thought as I continued to work.
I didn’t tell anyone at work, but took the ring off and put it in my pocket. This was because I grew tired of hiding the bruises, tired of the excuses and now here I was going to marry a man for the sake of pride. No one actually knew at work what was happening, whilst there I could wear my mask, and grin all day. My manager referred to me as smiler…
On my way from work that evening, I immediately went over to Matty, and told her but she already knew. We both laughed. I didn’t tell her how I felt, in fact I don’t recall telling anyone. What I did tell her was, maybe my mum would leave me now.
The next day D, had contacted his parents and family and the next thing I knew wedding plans had commenced. I found it odd, but the family didn’t seem to mind. I thought maybe I had one up on them as their darling son was marrying me.
The date was set for the following August.
I continued to work and helped financially to get the wedding organised, the children were excited at the prospect of being bridesmaids. I was extremely tired to say the least due to lack of sleep. Most nights D would request to do his business but I would say “we are not yet entwined” any excuse not to do anything. “How long could I keep this up for”, I thought.
In all honesty I absolutely hated, interaction with the opposite sex, I always felt violated afterwards, and sometimes I would go into the bathroom straight after and just cry. But hey, I needed to get married. I had no time to think about my needs; And was desperate to remove the stigma of the single parent.
The planning went ahead. My best freind would be chief bridesmaid the thought of us standing together declaring our freindship meant more to me than everything else associated with the wedding. I asked my neighbour too, but she said in her Jamaican brawl. “You must be crazy”. We fell about laughing, I knew she wouldn’t do that it wasn’t her style, so I choose her daughter instead.
But Wait, My life was about to take another twist.
I felt I would approach my mum so I called her and asked her about any brothers and sisters I left in jamaica, still naturally hostile, she said. You have a brother in UK.
Impossible, must be another one of her games… Right out of the blue. What!.. What!… What is she telling me How? ..How can this be? A real brother now that is crazy, but I was curious. All my years alone there was a brother here with me in the UK. A real one, flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone. Was my mum trying to play with my a mind? Or was she trying she had information I needed?
It felt like an electric bolt, all my years of pretending all my years of lying about having a family. There was actually one of them.
What was his name? Where can I find him? Found out his name but there was no where to find him. Soon after that I heard my aunt and uncle was immigrating to jamaica. The ones from Brixton. Could they find my brother I wandered? The wedding plans although went ahead, I needed to find my brother by any means necessary. I was desperate, was he older, tall, would he like me?, and importantly would he walk me down the aisle?
The excitement was too great… They didn’t find my brother in Jamaica though but my aunty had found someone else…