Drawing with Technology

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I drew that on an iPad. My husband ordered the new one and it was released today, but don’t ask me what it’s called because I don’t know about all those things. All I know is that  so I took the shiny white pencil and decided to do some drawing. It’s a botchy attempt, and the shading is messy, but the experience was therapeutic. It really motivated me to draw more, and I will go so far as to say it is a better experience than drawing on paper.

It’s like magic, and you have all the functions and tools accessible to you straight away, no need to sharpen a pencil or go round hunting for the dark green (I lost my tube of dark green and it took three months to find it hidden behind the daffodils in my mum’s garden, don’t ask me how it got there!); it’s all there and all you have to do is do a little tap with your pencil and boom.

Drawing with it feels like I’m using brand new tools, and there are no glitches like you would expect with these technological devices.

I did that on a freaking iPad!?!? I can’t believe it. Am I gushing? Probably. I don’t care. It’s all perfectly, smoothly digital, yet so LIKE real pencils and the visual texture of the background is like really high quality paper, and technology has come so far, and growing up and experiencing its rapid change is simply magnificent and wonderful and I can’t wait to see what else they are going to come up with.

 

 

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Wed 30 March 2016

You know, I forgot I turn 22 today!

My mum texted me yesterday saying ‘How are you Mrs 22??”

I racked my brains for a bit thinking, why on earth would she write that? Then I realised of course that she was the one who birthed me, and it was almost my birthday.

My husband doesn’t remember, though! I sat back and thought about it for a bit, and realised it actually doesn’t faze me. I know he loves me, and not remembering the date I was pushed out into the world kicking and screaming doesn’t make any difference to that fact.

Or does it?

I guess a tiny part of me would like him to acknowledge the fact. I know he has a million and one things running through his mind, though, so it’s ok. It’s OK. Okay. There.

Also today I was craving chocolate and my little sister in law who is eleven knocked on my door just now and came in with a pretty teacup filled with  Cadbury mini eggs. Which I thought was darling of her, and she deserves a big hug and a kiss from yours truly.

Anyway. I don’t know why I wrote this post. March 30 has always been a special day for me, because it’s just so symmetrical and in my diaries over the years it signified many growth milestones. Each March 30 was more dignified than the last, and each March 30 entry had better spelling than the last. Is it vain to pore over my own history like that? I don’t know.

I just remember small Len who kept looking down at her feet to see if they were any further away from her, and little Len who swore vehemently she would never become a ‘teenager’, and small Len who scoffed at the thought of boys and told everybody she would live in the countryside one day with animals and plants and run in the fields and lie amongst the wildflowers and adopt children and always always always play. She would never stop playing and laughing.

She was naive, and sometimes disillusioned, but she always saw life as an adventure and a happy place, and every month she had a ‘best day ever, even better than the last best day ever’, and she discussed how one can measure a ‘best day’ with her friends who, in those days were kindred spirits, and I don’t know what happened to her. She has vamoosed. She vanished and in her place is a girl who mopes a lot now and complains and is often sad.

So all the March 30s are little glimpses into what she became, and perhaps little motivations as to how she could go back.

Sometimes I wish she never grew up. Horrendous things happened to her and it was all my fault and I am so sorry, but I think I ruined her forever.

 

Love Letters #1

I don’t know if you know this, but I love you.

I thought I loved you in the first month of our marriage.

I thought I loved you last year, when we were married for a year.

I thought I loved you on December the 19th, when I threw everything out of the cupboard in anger, and you were furious, and we didn’t talk all the way back to your family home, and you went out until late, and I was bloated and felt horrible, and you came back as I lay in the darkness, and without a word you held me.

Or last month, when you slept holding me so tightly I woke up with neck pain, and you massaged it before hauling yourself up for that long drive to work.

I did love you then, of course I did, but as the time passed, it crept up on me more and more and poked me on the shoulder, and when I looked back to acknowledge it, it had become a mass double its previous size.

Threatening to envelope me and overwhelm me.

Shall I give myself up to it?

I don’t think so.

I think I will carry on walking through life, clambering up the steep bits, pulling myself up the stark cliff faces.

Sometimes you’re ahead, holding your hand out to steady me over the sharp rocks, and sometimes I am throwing you a rope, and slowly hefting your tired body up.

Sometimes you are leaping on way ahead of me, and I am out of breath and in tears, struggling to catch up, calling your name but my voice is so faint over the wailing wind.

But you always stop. You stop and look round, and realise I have fallen behind, and you wait for me. Sometimes you come back to help me forward, holding me tight in your strong arms, whispering sweet somethings in my ear. Somethings I will never forget.

I want to get old with you. I want to go everywhere with you. I want to see you smile, and watch you learn and grow and change. I want to see your awe and excitement, I want to be a part of your epiphanies. I want to make you happy.

I know sometimes we will fight horribly. I won’t agree with you and you will become cold and hard, like marble. But you know me, and I know you. I know what you are about to say before you say it, and sometimes you can guess what I am thinking just by looking at my face.

Sometimes I smile at you, and you ask me what’s wrong.

“That lip,” you say, “is quivering.”

You pull me away from the crowd.

“Your eyes,” you say, “are not happy Len eyes.”

“Your personality,” you say, when I am at my lowest point, sad and inadequate and demotivated, “lights up the room.”

I know I love you more today than I might next week. But know that even when the love wanes, and anger and frustration take its place, I will still get up early for you, I will still see you off, I will still kiss you goodbye and make sure you have your hat on your ears. I will make sure you have enough blanket at night. I will get your pyjamas ready for you on those late, exhausted nights. I will ‘sort you out’ for lunch, because I know better than you know what you want. I will make sure you eat when you are so focused on your work you forget to take your coat off. I will hold you until you fall asleep, your breathing gradually becoming deeper and deeper.

I love you in words. I love you in actions. I love you in thoughts.

 

After I Left You

By Alison Mercer.

I found this book by chance in a town called March, in March, and I read the blurb and thought it would be interesting, and so much to Damian’s disappointment (he thinks I buy too many books and is heavily concerned about where I am going to put them all) I carried it to the till.

Every broken heart has a history.

Anna Jones went to university in Oxford, at a college called St Bart’s. While there she meets a group of people who later become her friends. The relationships she has with these people are at times complicated and even fragile, everybody being young and wilful and in the process of growing up.

The story starts off in the present day, with Anna heading towards middle age. She has a chance encounter with her old ex, Victor, and this brings in a flood of all the old friendships and experiences of her past, which make her realise that she needs to face up to what happened at St Bart’s so long ago.

But what did happen? This huge question creates an atmosphere of suspense and trepidation throughout the book, and it is done so creatively and also craftily that there were certain points where I could not put the book down. I always wanted to know more!

I think the strength of this book lies in the massive secret that is slowly being unfolded. However the plot of a book cannot rely alone on the buildup to exposition, and what really carries this book forward is the wonderful characterisation, the strong, complex portrayal of human behaviour, relationships, the selfishness and insecurities of youth, all interwoven into these characters, making them very real and sometimes hateful. I also couldn’t help falling slightly in love with some of them.

After I Left You is one of those novels that will linger with me as life drags me ever forward. It belongs in my bookshelf, a place reserved only for books that evoke something inside me and ignite my mind. This is one such book.

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All By Myself

Today I am going to have a house completely to myself.

All to myself.

Did you hear what I said?

ALL. TO. MYSELF.

With no risk or possibility of anybody coming home from school or college or work, no kids screaming, nobody. Nobody except me.

I will be free to walk around in my underwear. I will be free to have a long, hot shower without the risk of anybody knocking on the door telling me to hurry up or using the taps in the kitchen making my shower icy cold.

You know what I am going to do?

I am going to raid my mother’s freezer and cook myself a nice healthy nutritious meal. I am going to workout in the living room, window wide open, and something nice and loud playing. I am going to weed her garden, and throw away some junk in my sister’s room. I am going to hoover the whole house, make myself a banana and honey hair mask, and plop a bathbomb in a nice hot bath. I am going to watch a film in my mother’s massive bed, and sing really loudly. I am going to be FREE.

After three months of living in two houses full of humans everywhere, with very little private time, today looks like it will be simply magnificent, and I will enjoy every. single. moment.

Did you hear that, everybody? EVERY. SINGLE. MOMENT.

Also, it’s really sunny and warm today. It really feels like spring!

Adios, folks, and happy Good Friday to you.

A Scattering of Thoughts

“Oh, you’re wearing a lot of makeup!” My mother squints at me in the dim light of her bedroom.

“I’ve been here for three hours how did you not notice?”

“I didn’t really look at your face,” was her nonchalant reply.

Well, that’s my mother. I do love her, despite our differences. She is a good mother, never mind she doesn’t like to give out hugs. She sacrifices a lot for us kids, and we don’t half treat her as well as she deserves. She comes from good mothering stock, that’s for sure. Her mother was wonderful. One of the best women I know. In fact, I will go so far as to say my grandmother is the best woman I have ever come across, and our family feels her loss very sorely. I mean, right now I could do with a soft warm hug that smells faintly of herbs. I used to play with my Nan’s hands; her skin was paper thin and so so warm and soft, her fingers swelled at the joints with arthritis, poor thing, but she would knit away everyday. I learnt how to do a braid on my Nan’s hair. Long and silver and silky smooth, although thin because she was on blood thinning medication and that made her lose a lot of hair. She smelt wonderful and warm and like motherly love. Do you know that smell?

Anyway. My mum’s going away for two weeks and she is stopping in Turkey for a flight change and I am scared and worried and anxious for her. I do hope she will be okay. She kept saying things like ‘I’ll leave all my bank details, and if anything happens you have to take my death certificate to the town hall and get a probate.’

I don’t want her bank details, I just want her. Oh dear.

Also yes I am wearing lots of makeup. It’s the end of the week. Tomorrow is bank holiday! I am wearing several layers including primer, foundation, concealer, bronzer, highlight, blush, setting powder, eyeliner, three coats of mascara and a lime-crime velvetine in Riot.

I feel very glamorous, even though my hair is a bush and you can see my scalp very clearly. I shall just muss it about and hide it and carry on with my work.

Ta-ra folks!

I thought she was American

I thought she was American,

I really don’t know why.

Her frame was large,

shapely.

Her purple vintage coat,

fell over her knees

in neatly pleated frills,

Vibrant, dazzling.

Her heel was ladylike

Her hair elegantly, gently,

pulled

to the back of her head.

Her smile was wide, flamboyant.

When she opened her mouth,

her Liverpudlian syllables filled every corner of the room,

and a small stone of disappointment

dropped in my chest,

with a muffled plop.

I thought she was American.

How stereotypical am I?

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On Soul Pollution

Can you un-think what you have read and watched?

The fact is, you just can’t. And it will pollute your soul, whether you agree that you have a soul or not.

All humans are born pure and innocent. Yet as we develop, we display certain tendencies which aren’t completely unblemished, but in the majority of cases children are naive. Especially in our society. When presented with adult themes before they are ready to learn about them, children can be traumatised and it could hinder or stunt their emotional growth.

Even as adults there are certain things that we shouldn’t be privy to. Not because it is ‘inappropriate’ or ‘sinful’, but to preserve our own sanity. Too much exposure to perversion can desensitise society to it.

My mother used to tell me to stop watching horror films because they would ‘pollute’ my soul, and I would scoff at this notion, but she was right. When it’s dark and the world is asleep, I am frequently plagued by existential thoughts that often involve demonic tendencies.

Watching programs in which paedophilia and even pornographic scenes play a hefty part in the ‘art’ of the film is polluting. I’m sorry if you’re liberal and think this is how art is expressed. There is an abundance of ways in which art can be expressed sufficiently, and it doesn’t have to be through the shock factor that many forms of media today use.

For example, I started watching a TV series created by Lena Dunham called ‘Girls’. It started off alright. A bunch of girls living in the city, and their respective problems. However as the series progressed, each episode became strings of scenes in which violent and perverted and deeply personal acts were being committed by humans, things that most humans just don’t need to see, not even for art. I really enjoyed the show at the beginning but now I am left feeling filthy and horrible, as though I peeked into a room I wasn’t supposed to.

I have never watched porn in my life, and nor do I ever intend to. Sure, it’s fine for the people who do, to carry on with what they choose to do, but for me personally it is unappealing and frankly downright disgusting. I respect your choices though so don’t eat me. In this season of Girls, there is so much sex. Just scenes of naked people having sex. The THING is, this sex has NOTHING to do with the storyline whatsoever. Like the themes it is trying to portray can be depicted more powerfully without the portrayal of several minutes of human beings going at it like animals. I tried my best to analyse how these scenes (not one or two per 20min episode, but several VERY LONG ones) fit into the narrative. They did not. They only served to highlight to us what we already knew about the characters involved in the sex. I forwarded through the whole show and saw more sex, more nudity, and very little else. What started off as a show depicting the different ways people approach life has now morphed into publicly accepted pornography.

IT WAS NOT IN THE NAME OF ART. I know art, folks, I study it extensively in my course, it is something I am often confused by but always appreciative of. I appreciate the endeavours of others to make sense of their worlds, through sometimes unsavoury means. I mean, go for the graphic sex scenes all you like, some are actually enjoyable, if a certain amount of elegance is used to portray them. But this show is downright perverted. They are taking the darkest aspects of humanity and highlighting them in a manner which is just shocking. Will it keep an audience happy? Probably. It is not in the name of expression, either, because to achieve the effect I think they are going for, one scene would have sufficed. But they have consecutive scenes of intimate sexual behaviour over numerous episodes; and each scene depicts more or less the same thing. I felt as though it was vulgar and overdone and really unnecessary.

It’s not just the sex, though. I mean, if it was just the sex I wouldn’t be writing this post. My point is that although art and self expression is great and shows people the dark corners and crevices of humanity and human minds, it can also be dangerous. The whole point of unsociable thoughts being hidden is so that these ideas don’t go mainstream and get into the most impressionable of minds, who would take such ideas to an extreme and cause perverted chaos in society.

People go around thinking it’s ok to rape and hurt and abuse because they are being desensitised to it, and yes maybe not being helped enough by the mental health system in our society, but these sorts of crimes are rising steadily and it’s not just because there are more people around, it’s because more of us are being exposed to perversion, and it does have an impact on some people’s minds.

This is why it’s important to have a sense of sensibility when watching and reading things.

Anyway, this analysis was purely personal. I honestly feel so disgusting after watching that show. I’ve stopped watching it since the last episode (lol. ironic.), and have decided to watch things that are intellectually stimulating and artistically articulate. Just a personal preference. Maybe people do this and find it normal, but it’s not right, and I don’t want my kids to watch people have sex because it’s just something that should be private as its between two people. Also makes people expect things that just don’t always happen in real life.

Also, disclaimer, I absolutely do not judge anybody who enjoys such things and who doesn’t feel disgusted by it. Everybody is subject to their own tastes and preferences and I fully respect that.

This is just my two cents.

Skyscraper

When I was a little girl, I lived in the torrid Arabian Peninsula. My schooling there was heavily influenced by American culture, and my father, an English professor at a university, had lots of thick books designed for literature students filled with short stories  written by Americans, for Americans.

I learned about Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou and the vibrancy of the early years of New York, I listened to the voices of African American writers and singers, and my view of America, although informed by the media, was mostly shaped by this romanticised idea of the biggest, brightest city in the world; New York. My favourite place there? Why, Harlem, of course. The dentists and doctors of Harlem, the mothers and aunts, hardworking and unfortunate, the white supremacy felt deeply by all the growing children of Harlem, the red popsicles and the hanging onto the back of pickup trucks, getting ankles scraped and leaving trails of blood everywhere.

I was British at heart, of course, that comes with parenting and daily living. In writing, however, I was North American. I was influenced by Anne of Green Gables and Jean Louise Scout. My style was American in the way I used slang and my views about freedom and coming of age.

When I first heard the word skyscraper, I imagined tall buildings that literally scraped the sky. Maybe shavings of cloud drifted down on the streets of New York as they floated lazily by. Maybe Langston Hughes, at nineteen, put his hand out the window and caught the sprinklings from the tips of the skyscrapers.

I never wanted to go to New York, I just wanted to drift through its gaudy streets and meet its uncertain inhabitants. I wanted to hide behind a door as I watched an old lady slap her son silly because he stole somebody’s purse. I wanted to hear all the stories by the evening window, and I wanted to be privy to the arguments that took place behind closed doors. It was life. It was living. It was people and magic and light and electricity flooding through the minds and souls of children just like me.

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Everybody has a story.

No Title.

Haka-haka-haka-haka. His sobs reverberated through the phone, punctuated at intervals by wet gasps. He cries like he laughs, she thought, like a raucous oscillating drill. She sat in the living room downstairs, her family sound asleep in their beds upstairs, unaware of her turmoil.

Please, God, please. Help me.

“How could you do this?” he rasped.

She didn’t reply, but her shoulders trembled, and silent tears formed rivers down her soaked, swollen face. She felt strangely detached from him. She was hurting because she didn’t want to hurt him, but a part of her was itching to slam the phone down and run away.

He took a deep breath, “I won’t let this happen!” he choked, “I’m getting in my car right now and driving up to give your father a piece of my mind,” he spat, the old malice strong in his tones. Anger clouded her vision like a red veil. She stood up.

No more! No. Fucking. More!

She held back the overwhelming urge to scream, aware she was hyperventilating; her voice was high and harsh, an icy whisper into the phone.

“How DARE you,” she hissed, drawing power from her fury, “WHO do you think you are?! Don’t you DARE come down here. I don’t WANT you here. Don’t you DARE.” She spat each word out. She was terrified he would do what he threatened to, and indignant that he would have the audacity.

He was sobbing quietly as she finished talking. She became aware of her heavy panting. Both her fists were clenched, holding the phone so tight to her ear that when she moved it a little it unstuck from her hot, wet face with a squelch. All her muscles were tight, on edge, ready for flight.

“You’ve ruined my life,” he finally whispered.

You’ve ruined mine.

“Why did you waste all my time?”

“I didn’t,” her voice faltered.

Two years!” the hacking increased.

Haka-haka-haka-haka.

She wanted to slap him across the face. He wouldn’t manipulate her feelings like that anymore. That pathetic, weak crying. She felt repulsed.

I didn’t waste your time. I didn’t. Did I?

I chased him, though. I ran after him and wept when he didn’t text back or answer calls for weeks and weeks. I put myself out there for him and lied through my teeth for him, and went to him even when he was cheating on me the whole time.

I lied for him when my mother demanded to know where all my pocket money would go. Later, when I had no pocket money left, I stole money for him to pay his insurance. Not just once or twice, but many times. I always put it back, though, when my money came through.

‘What would I do without you?’ he asked me, smiling gently as I put ten twenty pound notes in his ravaged, bony fingers. It felt good, when he smiled like that.

“Len?”

She heard the hope in his voice and hung up, heart thumping wildly, staring at her blank screen. He didn’t call back. One minute passed. Then another, and another. She got up and lay on the floor, staring at the ceiling.

Please, God, keep him away from me. Please protect me from him. Please make him happy without me. Please, please God.

An hour later a message lit up her phone. Under his name in the notification bar was a small yellow face with two rivers of tears running down it. Her heart slumped.

Please, God.

***

“Is it because your parents don’t approve?” he asked her a week earlier when she tried to break up with him in person. They were in his mother’s front room, him standing, her sitting. He had been angry all afternoon, slamming cupboards, shaking her.

“No!” she sobbed.

“Then why?” his voice was rising, and a vein on his forehead protruded, purple and throbbing.

“I just don’t.. want this life.”

“I told you I would marry you.”

She shook her head, her shoulders shaking uncontrollably. He moved closer to her, and her eyes focused on the giant metal cross leaning against the far wall, everything else in her frame of vision blurring. His crotch pressed into her face, as she focused on the way the russet hair of Jesus curled over his bronze face. He pushed into her and her head jerked back roughly against the sofa, straining her neck.

“I don’t let my parents choose who I should love,” was his parting shot, his eyes red and wet.

 

***

She knew deep down in her heart that it was wrong. She knew it was wrong when she started talking to him. She did a double take when she saw his photo online. Strong brows knitted over a pair of sharp ocean eyes, pointy nose and bright red mouth. Hair spiked up over his forehead.

‘Hello! How are you today? :)’

‘Hi, I’m good thanks, you?’

They spoke for a while. Then she went out and had no internet. When she got home, there was a message from him online.

‘You make my tummy flip!’

It sounded cheesy, and she didn’t know if it was the excitement of the day clinging on to her, but the sentence made her tummy flip.

‘I bet you say that to all the girls.’

What am I doing?

Three days later, he professed his love for her, and told her he was jealous of all boys who spoke to her. Never had she been so flattered in her life. She hugged herself everywhere, her knees wobbled like jelly when she thought about him.

I’m in love.

Maybe it was this wholehearted, deep rooted infatuation making her half mad that obscured her judgement. She called him every night. He told her she was ‘so fucking sexy’ when she sent him a photo of herself at his request. He said her voice on the phone was beautiful, he could listen to it all night.

‘I don’t believe in sex before marriage,’ she said, when he mentioned that he wanted to be inside her. It threw her a little, disgusted her, but another part of her liked hearing that.

‘So marry me.’

She loved his voice in the dark as she lay on the damp grass under the stars through the summer, her phone pressed hard to her ear, her voice a quivering whisper as they spoke into the small hours.

“Come and see me,” he pleaded with her, “be brave.”

She did go, finally. The harsh light overhead accompanied with the rattling and swaying as the bus wound around tight country roads made her queasy. She watched the man in front of her, as the folds of his neck, behind the sweat stained cuffs of his shirt, rolled over each other with each movement the bus made, and when he turned to glare out of the window, she caught a whiff of something acrid. She leant as far back on the seat as she could, tugging at her neckline. If it was a little looser, perhaps she wouldn’t feel so nauseous. Or maybe it wasn’t her surroundings at all, but the fact that she was doing this. She was going to meet him. A loud voice in the back of her mind which she tried her best to stifle, was telling her to go back, go home, but his words rang in her ears.

‘You’ll always be under the control of your parents.’

He loves me, though. He loves me.

When the bus pulled into the station, there he stood, waiting for her. A cold, clammy feeling spread over her body as though somebody had cracked a giant egg on her head.

 

***

His face loomed in front of her, his eyes not blue and not green but an icy ocean of both colours.

Live a little, his voice raspy from all the cigarettes he was always smoking, it’s legal I promise.

No no no no. I don’t want to.

 

Go on you buzzkill.

She took the flimsy little roll up he held out to her. She toked on it, and her eyes scanned the stars above. She shivered in the icy cold.

Eyyyy. That was nothing. Have another.

It doesn’t taste nice.

That cackle again. Hack hack hack.

She breathed in the putrid smoke, she held it there like she’d seen him do so many times. She breathed it out, and watched the swirls drift away in the wintry air. Just him and her, standing alone in the doorway to the garden. Just how she’d always wanted it. Why, then, was she so unhappy? She tried to lift her feet but they wouldn’t move.

“My feet won’t move,” she heard her voice say solemnly. She felt anything but solemn, panic rose inside her. Her movements were slow and dreamy, her speech was lethargic. Her brain separated into two, one ugly one telling her she was mad and that she was going to die, and the other swelling up, the voice of reason, telling her to hold on. His eyes drifted in front of her, and her logical brain told her not to trust him.

‘I’m dying,’ she murmured faintly, ‘call an ambulance, please!’

He laughed. High pitched and feminine, she thought. Hold on, hold on, hold on.

***

“Where were you?” her mother demanded, her tone terse. Amal could see the worry creasing the lines beside her eyes.

“With Lucy,” Amal muttered, pushing past her mother and going up the stairs. She sniffed the inside of her polo neck. She smelled of him. Cigarettes and lynx, and something musky.

“Were you, really?”

She hated the accusation in her mother’s voice.

“Yes.” Her voice was clipped.

She pushed herself into the bathroom, and ripped off her clothes, discarding them on the cold, tiled floor.

She had rushed out in the morning, without any breakfast. Used whatever money she had left to buy the bus ticket. Sat on the rickety bus for an hour and a half, feeling as though she was going to vomit from nerves and heat. Walked across the disgusting old bus station and crossed the road to where he was waiting in his ancient, battered dark blue Citroen. Climbing in. Then her silence would settle in. It was as if a heavy weight was placed on her chest, suffocating her. Thoughts would bubble up and froth away, swallowed back down her oesophagus, until her belly was full, like a leaden sack. He would talk at her, mostly lies to big himself up. The sack in her belly growing and growing until it swelled into her chest, eating away at her as he launched into his customary rant trashing her family, calling her parents all kinds of names. Did she argue? No, she just sat there and drank it all in. But she loved him, so it was okay. She loved him when the pain seared through her, every inch of her body tense. It’s almost over. Almost over.

In the shower, as the scalding water beat on her skin, plastering her hair to her face, her whole body revolted, repulsed. She was throbbing and sore. Her legs shook and she had to hold on tight to the side of the bath so keep the room in focus.

How could she have let him touch her.

 

***

He texted a few months after she had left him. ‘Your name. That’s all I can think about.’

 ‘I miss you so much.’

‘I will call your mother.’

‘You ruined my life. I’m going to kidnap you and kill your father.’

‘I will kill your whole family.’

‘I love you so so much. I can’t stop thinking about you. If you don’t reply, I will kill myself. You heartless bitch.’

The last text, full of malicious venom, made her shriek with fury. She refused to reply, though, to grace his malice with any response.

She screamed and and screamed into the emptiness of her house.

Delete, delete, delete. Twenty calls a day. Anxiety ripping her apart, racking her body, making bile rise in her throat. She retched from fear, but nothing came out of her mouth.

***

Manipulative psychopath. His figure was blurry in the distance, but the lanky legs shooting out beneath him as he scuttled along the pavement like a giant grasshopper were telling. His bony shoulders jutted out on either side, his long head rising up in the centre, the light brown fluff on top, greasy and thin, swept over his huge, gaping forehead. The way his head sat a little forward, his neck protruding out over his chest, giving him a self-conscious hunch. His body growing narrower and narrower down to his feet. He was long and narrow and bony and revolting.

He won’t recognise me. It’s been so long. 

She felt he was looking at her; she drew her face inwards so that folds of skin bulged out beneath her chin. She scowled heavily, knitting her brows together, and lifting her upper lip, trying to make herself as ugly as possible.

He was coming closer. Each step she took was weighted.

Don’t look up.

They passed each other. Blood thundered in her ears.

Please don’t recognise me.

The moment passed. The whirlwind rushed by. Her limbs were weak.

Manipulative psychopath.

His crotch in her face.

His drugs in her mouth.

His scent in her nose.

His harsh anger, rattling through the phone, making her throat dry and filling her with dread.

His threats.

“I’ll kick you in the fanny if you don’t shut up.”

“CUN-ttttt.”

Threatening her if she refused to come and see him.

Slamming doors in her face.

Calling her mother a bitch.

Those sexual messages to Angie, Katie, Chloe.

Her running after him, despite the sexual messages.

His.. crotch.. in .. her face.

“CUNT-ttttt.”

She whipped around sharply, suddenly furious, her scarf whirling around her head.

I had no closure.

She followed him as he jaunted off down the street. His long arms swung uselessly beside him, making her angry, twitching like that. She walked faster.

He needs to pay for what he did.

Her voice broke when she tried to call out to him. He didn’t turn around.

I’m going to punch that fucker in the face.

Her breath came out heavy and thick, her chest heaving with adrenaline and anticipation and hot, hot rage.

He can’t just walk away from me.

Turn around. Turn around and face me, you coward.

 

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