Planning ahead with caution



During the time back in UK, my neighbour and my best friend and I spent many times together, and there was more laughter in my life.  I was also seeing my cousin from Brixton regular so I was feeling blessed.  In addition, life with D, wasn’t as bad as it used to be…he was still drinking excessively  but most times he was sleeping.  Yes, his drinking helped both of us to keep sane.

One evening, around seven months since I left Jamaica, D and I was sitting in the living room,I was writing as usual and  he was watching his sports programme he loved boxing.., D was fairly illiterate due to inadequate schooling in Jamaica, as well as arriving to the UK at the age of 14 .  It was difficult for him to catch up with the British education system. Whilst he was in Jamaica he cared for the yard and his family, so education was none existent for him,  he would still try to teach himself at home, that was one thing I liked about D, he was keen to better himself, but in the meantime he was good at Boxing which was something he excel at, and it was a good pastime.  He had a lot of practice at home in any case.  

D was Stocky build and had put on even more weight around his middle, I looked at him and thought to myself, where was the guy I had met at 14 years old?  Why had he change? or was he destined to be so angry and aggressive all the time?  Then I thought to myself I’m actually afraid of you.  I  really was, but he wouldn’t have known that.. There was something about D. That although I was married to him. I was also deep down afraid. It could be because he looked intimidating or it could just have been because he was a man.  You see…mental abuse was on another level and he used his size to intimidate. I tried to accept that this was my life now but there was something about D that made me not want to test the waters.   I wondered  if it was because he was a trained boxer??

But that wasn’t it, he was simple menacing…

I thought hard about telling D my plans to go Jamaica.  My heart skipped a beat, maybe at the prospect he would say no, or the thought I was going to now test the waters and go Jamaica anyway or because I just didn’t want him to say no.

There was only one way to find out..

I knew that D had been drinking so it really was a good time and I knew I had to tell him soon…I couldn’t imagine what it would be like if I didn’t go to a Jamaica therefore  telling him had to be a better decision.  But before I could say anything, D asked if I was coming upstairs,,,coming upstairs I knew what that meant too. And so I did…..

The next morning before he left for work, I timed it well…

“Guess what” I started.  Speaking to D.

I was speaking to my aunty yesterday “…

“she said as my father was getting older she would like me to come over to Jamaica, she had already told her daughter and she would like us both to come….she said last time was rushed..

Yes!  my plan was well rehearsed.

What about the children? He asked,  I told him I would ask my best friend to help to look after them. Surprisingly D agreed…. I would be going for five weeks I said, I missed out the extra three weeks. Surprisingly D. agreed.

He said he would look after the girls. I trusted him…with the girls he looked after them all equally well. I would find out why D agreed to look after the children. Much later… But for now..

Yes D had agreed that I could go Jamaica,,,alone.
That evening I called my cousins and friend who was already aware.

I had applied to do my access to higher education, and was accepted so I commenced that September.

My children were doing well in school, and the Access course was going as planned, I had worked it out that by the time I was ready for Jamaica, the course would be complete. In any case we had booked our flights for the August of the following year, right into the six -week holidays period.

It was great course and I met other women with children who just wanted another chance in education. I was the youngest on the course and with the most children. At first I felt ashamed and to some extent I was envious of the other women my age who had no children and how easy the strict regime of the course fell into their lifestyle, Nevertheless I was determined to do well.
I was going to prove everyone wrong. Yes… I was going to get an education.
And most of all I wanted to prove to my children that despite major setbacks one could become high achievers.

I was adding new roles to my life. I noticed D had become more hostile, and he was not helping financial, if I wanted money I would have to ask, but he would provide food.  We were two separate people married but living separate financial life. One evening while home alone everyone in bed, I was just thinking when these words pop into my head.

First a mother then a wife
Sexually duties caused me strife.
An unpaid carer during the day
But a paid one at weekends
That’s my life
A new course with added responsibility
Busy 24 hours a day
No time to sleep.
But alas, I have a goal in mind
To see my papa and siblings
One more time,

I recall doodling this one day and laughed to myself. I knew it was true, my love of poetry  had also begun..
English was my favourite subject and I loved learning new words, they were added to all the words I had learnt over the years, but new words continued to appear. The one I like most was determination….

One Day I arrived at work to find that one of our severely disabled children was sick. This was the first time since I was small that the death topic came up and I was surprised to know the old fears had returned. As well as the memories of being forced to look at a dead body by mummy.

I had to work nights and unfortunately I was there when she passed, To say I was petrified would be an understatement. I ran into the room where the other worker was present and stayed there rigid to the spot. The fear from the incident at church was here to stay…. I recall sitting in the office and repeating the Lord’s Prayer over and over. I always did this if you can recall when I was afraid.

I asked myself why did I do this? but at time I never knew, but. I was taught from a young age to read the Lord’s Prayer and this was what I did. Naturally my faith in God was very strong growing up. But I did not know how strong.  I would recall going to the front of church to say the sinners prayers but I didn’t understand, I was always forced by mum to go to the front.  I recall church days being humiliating and uncomfortable I was always singled out, wore the oddest clothes.  I was bullied by the Sunday school children, but I do recall I loved the unseen God and would talk to him like he was my invisible friend.  As a child I always felt that there was someone else with me guiding me it was like a quiet whisper, but I guess I was too young to tap into this, but I always remembered that I would feel calm when I had my bible as well as when I said the Lord’s Prayer.  So this night I took refuge again in the Lord’s Prayer.  My actions then  were revealed to me much later in life.

We will see why later…

Nevertheless having said the prayer I felt calm again. I use to think it was  My mind, but at the time I could never understand why. There was always an inner voice speaking to me., invisible being I was never afraid.

After I left work that evening Farah…death. Made me think about life. I was now scared of dying even more, I had the fear of suffocation, of going down below. To a point it would overshadow my life….
But. I was going back to Jamaica therefore  I couldn’t afford to become sick; for the rest of the year I had minor and major hiccups. I would laugh I would cry but each time it was like my heart was trying to come through my throat, whenever I thought of my family back home in Jamaica….yes anxiety was coming back…

However, this time I welcomed it, after all there was a good reason.  I was getting closer to putting my plans into place.


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2 Responses to Planning ahead with caution

  1. Beverley says:

    AAAH thank you Andy im trying x


  2. Andy Oldham says:

    Another great memoir Beverly! Keep writing my friend! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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