"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.