December 29, 2012

On the Road

When things get rushed, details get missed.
Sounds plausible. Sounds almost innocent - of cause things were going to get 'missed' when you had to rush a wedding, locate an available J.P at such short notice, organise a honeymoon, celebrate a birthday, confirm a Police report, and catch a flight back to the UK - but the truth be known, we knew exactly what we were doing: committing bigamy.

We had both been previously married. PB (AKA hubby) had his divorce through, finalised, but me? I hadn't planned on marrying again so divorce kind of never came up. I just figured I'd get some papers through the mail one day and learn hubby-one had moved on. That was the plan. 

But now I had to come up with a new one - we both took a deep breath, confirmed neither had married before, and just hoped like hell no one found out. Good plan.

On the wedding day I was visited by the local Victim's Support Group. I'm not altogether sure what a stuffed toy lion was supposed to represent but I was given one anyhow. I decided to call him Leo. My long term friend Mina was my bridesmaid - turns out she was my Bride of Honour as she was happily married with two kids. I didn't know much about marriage protocol - I'd never done it properly before. PB's best man was my Bride of Honour's husband. It felt more legit and even if they'd only meet minutes before the ceremony, they still had enough time to banter which football team was the best - Liverpool or Manchester United. I didn't give a shit. 

My mother was in her element. She had a reason to party, to invite family members she'd not seen in years and have them respect her as an honoured guest. She stapled fake flowers to the trees outside where our vows would be spoken and took to refilling anyone's glass with whatever came to hand. Her second husband walked wistfully through the house not sure where to put his feet. It was the first time he'd met me. The first time he'd seen any of our relatives and we weren't too sure what to make of him either. Aside from the fact that he had an assortment of machetes hanging on the back of the guest bedroom door, he appeared calm and forgiving of such an intrusion, and besides he seemed to tolerate my mother so maybe he wasn't that bad.

The vows were simple. PB mentioned some funny comments and I said "Ditto." On the surface of it all, we appeared to be a sweet, funny, couple, and even I started to buy into the charade. It's not like I didn't want it to work and it's not as if I didn't have feelings for PB. We just had history, bad history, one that involved other women, infidelity, a mistress, a diamond ring, and me caught up in the midst of it all. It was also the reason for my blasé reaction when PB gave me a one-carat diamond solitaire engagement ring - the same one he'd kept in his bottom bedside draw for someone else.

I used to try it one, back in the good old days when we lived with each other in England. I'd steal it from the purple casing and once I even made a trip to the local store, fanning my face all innocent-like, just so I could see it sparkle. I'm sure I looked like an epileptic. But now? Now that it was legitimately on my finger, it seemed to have lost all of its charm. 

Things went from bad to worse. First of all, the JP didn't turn up - his embarrassed wife explained he'd forgotten and had already left to go fishing so we were left rummaging through the local phone book for a replacement. Eventually, I relented and Mrs Thorpe arrived. To this day, I don't think anyone cottoned on to why I was so mortified - for me, it was such a cruel twist of fate that this was the same woman who witnessed her 'much older than me son' suspended from school because he gave me a  hideous large love-bite while on school camp. Maybe she didn't remember or maybe she did, and she was just pleased to see the back of me, all legally married and soon to be living on the other side of the world far away from her son. 

PB and I spent our wedding night in the machete bedroom, taking turns describing useful if not macabre uses for all this man's armoury. 

"Maybe your Mum's just into some kinky shit," PB reasoned.

"Nah, he doesn't seem the type."

The following morning, we left for Rotorua. It was the start of our honeymoon and my birthday. A strange day. I expected to feel different, to feel married and I also expected to feel older - I felt neither. PB kept referring to the countryside as something out of a horror movie and once, when we did stop at a small country gas station, where there was only a gas station and restaurant and nothing or anyone else, he asked me to keep the car running while he went in to pay.

He does't handle stress well, does PB, Never did and most probably, never will. It's no wonder, when the English Embassy called us at our hotel, he just ran to the bed, hid under the blankets, and started singing a random tune to block out reality.I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. 

"There are some inconsistencies with your paperwork," she said, "mainly the status prior to your wedding." I knew, even though PB couldn't hear what was being said (hell, even I couldn't hear over his moaning)  that he knew only too well that we'd been caught out. Seven years. That's the only thought I could think of - the term of imprisonment for bigamy, and now it looked like we were on the run. 

I stole a glance towards the bedroom and secretly loathed my partner in crime. He was not going to make it, I decided. The stress would kill him first. Suddenly, I heard her apologise. "Look, I don't know how to tell you this but it seems as if your husband was married before."

Oh the relief. It was PB's shit she's uncovered. That was okay. He'd not broken any New Zealand Law. Just an English one and we were heading back there anyhow - I'd turn his butt over to Authorities when we arrived. That was what I would have said only I was so relieved that all I could blurt out was "Oh, I know that!"

Although surprised, she professionally summarised our options: Get his secretary to fax over his decree nisi, redo the paperwork, and hopefully you'll make your flight. Sure, sounds easy but it meant packing up right there and then, heading back to Wellington, some five hours drive away, doing what was required, and then legging it back to Auckland, another eight hours drive, to catch our flight.

But that's exactly what we did. 

I knew PB was stressed. He ordered a steady run of whiskey on the flight and neither of us spoke until our stop-over in Perth, Australia, some ten hours later. It was only then that I felt I'd got away with it. It was only then that I thought, maybe this might work. 

Only then.


Running... away?

"Go to Australia," the Police said, "make a fresh start." But what is a new start and just how close is it to running away?

I was in Australia around twenty years ago. I was on my way back home. Actually, that's not altogether true - I was stalling my trip to New Zealand. I wouldn't call myself psychic but I did have an overwhelming sense of dread. Turned out, I wasn't that far from the truth. Within 24 hours I was in Auckland's ICU beaten to a pulp by my brother who took exception to me not wanting my father at my upcoming wedding. I don't know, I just thought it would be a little too much to attempt a traditional wedding when I'd not that long ago requested the Police look into my father's past on the basis of historical child sex abuse claims. 

I blame my mother for that night's events - she's always had her own agenda and I will never be able to completely understand it and now, I don't truly care to know. 

In any event, she thought my brother should walk me down the aisle. "It's the least you could do," she frowned. I'm not sure of all the psychological dynamics that little judgemental comment made on my older brother or why it sent him into a dark place where the only way he could escape his own demons was to try and kill the one standing before him - me. 

All I remember was how he had the strength to rip a door from its hinges and the sound of cutlery rattling in a draw still sends shivers up my spine - turns out, he had me in a chocker lock, my head like a rugby ball under his armpit while he fished in the nearby draw for a knife. I remember scrambling on all fours to a the neighbours house, across the road, banging on the door, falling into their laps. I remember seeing Police arrive and then seeing nothing. I hadn't blacked out. The blood vessels around my eyes had imploded and my eyes had 'shut up shop' in an vain attempt to heal.

I couldn't explain to them why 'things got so out of hand' but my mother could. "It's her father. He always does this. It's his fault, his fault I tell you!"

Kind of ironic since he was nothing more than the mere subject of an incredibly brief conversation but how do you explain the dynamics of a toxic family to the Police? They want things simple:Someone did something wrong and we need to know find the culprit, quick smart.

I was held in the hospital under Police protection until they could ascertain I was well enough to be released. "He's been arrested and won't be out any time soon," they assured. Taking their lead, I allowed them to drive me back to my brother's house to collect my belongings before attending my first-ever night in a Woman's refuge - mother and all. 

To this day, I will never forget the shocked look on their faces when I ran back out of the house to tell them that, not only was my brother inside but so too was my father and step-mother and all the kids, like it was some collective support group that had gathered around whom they thought was the victim - my brother. 

Like any kid, I wanted to run to my father, lay blame squarely at the feet of my sibling, and stand back to watch the wrath of his paternal protective instincts inflame like nothing on this earth.

I always was a dreamer, a hopeless romantic through and through. My father did nothing. In fact, I swear, the moment I ran from the house - he laughed. I could hear him. I yelled at the Police that he was laughing and they took in turns to run into the house and ask damming questions, none of which I was privy to - I didn't care by then. All I knew was I was a joke. The last laugh was on me.  

For a fleeting moment however, as I stood (gob-smacked) before my brother, I swear he questioned me visually, as if to say "who the hell did that to you?" and for a moment there, I wondered who as well and almost started laughing, not in a funny haha moment but in a Jesus Christ, I have really seriously lost my mind! 

Embarrassed, the Police regathered outside my brother's house. There was talk of miscommunication and connections and maybe something else - I didn't listen, I didn't care. To say I had lost faith in the Police would be an understatement. One of the Policemen, however, whether fuelled by his own upcoming wedding or the fact that his Fiancée was English (who knows) too it upon himself to call my very own Fiancée in England and encourage him to make the trip, bring the wedding forward, and take "this poor woman out of here."

So I got married - five days later.

I didn't have any photos. I was still to badly injured but I had something else no one else has at their wedding - a full blown police protective service circling the premises - rumour had it (albeit this information came from my mother) that my father was "around" and it "was bound to get ugly."

It never did - get ugly, that is. 

My husband and I returned to England... and that's when things got ugly. 

December 28, 2012

2013 - Starting Over

It's been a while since I wrote on my blog. A lot has happened. My best work buddy quit his position as the Manager when Receivers walked through the door and I was offered it instead. I thought it would be a great work opportunity but instead, I was used as a go-between, a source of inside information for the old business owner and the Receivers who were looking for a new prospective buyer. Upshot: Within three months, the old business owner regained control over the company and for thanks, he made me redundant - well that's a nice way of putting it. 

As I hastily packed my worldly possessions and moved out of the on-site accommodation, I left a few telling artefacts for him to ponder over: a raw, rotting piece of chicken in a desk draw and a week's supply of puppy pooh all over the patio. Chicken Shit - that just about sums him up.

Two weeks later, I had up-sticks and even moved to a new Country. 

And so here I am. 

No more fighting with ACC cause, well since my absence, they have managed to shoot themselves so much in the foot that it pales in comparison as to what a wee blog could do. Not a day went by that they weren't in the Newspapers for some breach of privacy - thousands of claimants watched helplessly as their file contents spewed into all sorts of public crevices and with no come back. In order to file for damages, claimants had to prove they were psychologically damaged but since they were predominately claiming for psychological damages, as a result of sexual abuse, the Privacy Commission deemed it impossible to measure a "new" level of damage. In addition, to write a formal letter of complaint about having their secrets revealed to the public, they had to prove they were in a "right frame of mind" but in doing so, they forfeited any rights to compensation or counselling cause if your sane enough to write a legible complaint, you ain't mad enough to get their help. Reading all this made me dizzier than being strapped into a roller-coaster on steroids. It was pure insanity; corporate bullying at its best.

So Nick Smith resigns and the sly coyote, AKA Peter Jansen, slithers into the woods, seemingly unnoticed, to sniff out some other tax-paying corporation offering easy blood money. The players may have changed but the strategy remains the same - take the compulsory ACC payments from the public and use them for any other means than what's intended.

That was 2012.

In the months since I arrived in my 'new' country, ACC matters have been pushed back into the cauldrons of my mind as I try to readjust to the changes that are inevitable when one up and leaves just about everything they know. It's like clearing out a suitcase and walking around trying to find shit to fill it back up with. I haven't done such a great job of replacing crap with just new crap. Instead, I have left things empty so I can see what it is that I miss the most - I guess it's one way of trying to re-establish what's important in life, especially if you have a small suitcase.

This is my journey - 2013.