Authors: Dawn Keane
Copyright © 2015 Dawn Keane
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any other information storage and retrieval system without the written permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
This book is a work of fiction, all names, characters, places, and events are the products of the author’s imagination, or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locations is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
To my beautiful Mum You are my best friend, my angel. You saved my life. I love you with all my heart.
The Women's Aid worker, Pam, seems like a kind lady with short, blonde hair, and concerned grey eyes as she sits opposite me behind her desk with a sympathetic look on her face. A pen and a notebook are situated in front of her and she is listening to my every word, while I tell her of the abuse I suffered at the hands of my ex-husband. All because of a bloody tap.
I turned the tap on as slowly as I could to fill up the kettle, and the water pipe made a loud screeching sound, a rumbling that shook through the whole house. It did that every time the tap was turned on. Ian was in bed and it woke him up. He was so angry with me, he jumped out of the bed, ran down the stairs towards me and started having a complete meltdown, going completely ballistic at me for waking him up. I shook with fear as his eyes blazed with anger; a murderous violence poured from him as he glared down at me. He started shouting at me for turning the tap on the wrong way. He said that I was a stupid fool for not knowing how do it properly. I didn’t realize there was a right way to do it. I was so frightened because I knew what was coming next.
Ian lost it completely and flew at me so fast my head spun. He was shouting and swearing; he was beyond being in control of his temper. I was scared out of my mind. I trembled as my throat closed. I proceeded to beg him not to hurt me. I pleaded with him, but it didn't do any good. He flew at me again and punched me so hard in the face that I fell on my knees on the floor. Ian didn't want to hear anything I had to say. He got right in my face with his forehead firmly pressed up against mine, pushing me down and shaking me with the force. "You’re pathetic. You don't even know how to do a simple thing. Not knowing how to turn on a tap quietly, you stupid bitch." He punched me again and again. "Next time, yeah," he shouted, "Do it fucking right." He punched me on the right side of my jaw. I could no longer hold myself up.
I slowly agreed that I was pathetic for not knowing how to turn the damn tap on correctly, then my head smashed on the floor full force.
I could feel the blow to my eyes as he repeatedly hit me over and over and again. Black spots filled my vision then everything turned black. When I came to, I couldn't believe what was happening to me, and Kayleigh. Was she ever going to be safe? What sort of mum am I to let this happen? How can I stop it? I believed that I must have deserved everything I went through. I must have one of those faces men want to injure. Ian left me alone and went to his sister’s house to calm down. I went to the bathroom and splashed my face with cold water, and it hurt so much I winced; the pain was excruciating. The water slowly soothed my face, stinging slightly with each splash. I couldn’t see very well as my eyelids had swelled and were changing colour, my tears stinging the open wounds. My head was in so much pain, I put my face back into the water in the sink to soothe it.
I looked up into the mirror; I was a complete mess. No amount of make-up was going to cover it up; it felt like my heart would pop through my chest, it was racing so hard.
All I wanted to do was go and see my mum and tell her what happened, ask her for help. But I knew she would be disappointed in me. I couldn't call her and tell her, she would think I'm such a failure. I stared at my broken reflection in the mirror trying to figure out what I had done to deserve this and I couldn't. I was so shocked, so scared out of my mind. Ian was back in no time at all with a box of chocolates, like that made it all ok again. He said he was a psychotic human being. He kept saying how sorry he was, so sorry for what he had done, so sorry for losing control and that he couldn't believe he had hurt his woman. He promised me it would never happen again, but the damage was already done.
I’m having one of those moments: the milk-in-the-cupboard, sugar-in-the-fridge moments. On any given day, I can catch my coat pocket, or whatever I’m wearing on a door handle, a cupboard, or anything really. If it has a handle or anything that sticks out, it is guaranteed to grab me and pull me straight off my feet and onto my clumsy ass. This might be my best inept performance yet.
“Damn, I’m clumsy as fuck!”
As of now, I have dropped the hair dryer onto my foot and I’ve recently fractured my big toe on a heavy wooden door, while chasing my friend’s ten-year-old son in a tea towel fight. Hopefully, this puts me at my quota for unnecessary injuries for the week.
"Now are you sure you have got everything you need sweetie? Have you packed your phone charger? I need to be able to reach you. Your onesie; you need to take it. It's bloody freezing in Scotland and you'll need a warm coat."
Rose sits on the end of my bed looking at my suitcase stuffed full of things I don’t even need. You would think I was about to move to the other side of the world the way she is eyeing me.
"I think so and it's not that cold in Scotland." I couldn't help the smile that was spreading across my face at her concern for me. It’s July for God sake. “Hey, I'm only going to Edinburgh for a few days, it's not that far away, and I'll be back here before you know it."
I throw down my hair straighteners that I held onto in my other hand and sit down on the bed beside her. I take her hand in mine; she knows how worried I am about traveling alone with the girls.
"I know, but I'm really going to miss you guys, and it’s Scotland you’re going to. It feels like it's so far away to me and I will worry." She speaks in a soft tone, as she struggles to come to terms with me going away. We have become so close living here together; five women in one house, sharing a bond like no other. We share everything. I stand and zip up my case and throw myself into her arms for a hug. As tears slide down her cheeks, she turns toward the door. When she reaches it, she turns her head towards me and smiles.
"Don't do anything I wouldn't do."
I mirror her warm smile and state, "As if."
The door closes.
Hobbling around,, I’ve managed to pack my case with all the essentials that us girls need for our trip. We will be leaving our hometown in Manchester and heading up to Edinburgh. My most critical accessories for this trip are definitely my wedges. If you ever have the misfortune of breaking your big toe, having several pairs of killer wedges in your wardrobe is a life-saving must-have.
We ride the metro train into Manchester. “You poor girls must be so embarrassed with me hobbling along beside you, I can’t believe my luck,” I say to the girls, in apology for my slowing our progress.