Monthly Archives: September 2012

Fern ( who may be using another name) & Sasha


It’s not a great photo, not really, all a bit blurred, out of focus, but the police said they needed one that showed her face clearly and the nice policewoman liked this one, liked the dog, said it might catch people’s attention, they might look harder, because of the dog.

When they were little, Fern and Jason, I used to worry about them, worry that they’d be taken from me, that somehow I’d loose them. It wasn’t just the usual stuff, road accidents, childhood cancers. Deep down, I was convinced that someone would steal them, drag them kicking and screaming into a white van, lure them into a family saloon with promises of kittens or sweeties.

I tried to keep them safe, lectured them on stranger danger, didn’t let them hang around parks or shopping centres, made sure I always knew where they were.

And as they got older, bigger, the fears receded, I began to relax, sure that my children were safe now.

But it would take just one newspaper story, one teary interview with a parent clutching a battered cuddly toy for the fear to grow again and I would have to ring them, check that they were safe, ask them when were they coming home.

Because then, i still believed that the worst thing that could happen was for someone, a bad person, to take your child from you.

But I was wrong, because this, this is the worst thing.
No-one took my Fern from me, my daughter took herself away from me and there was nothing I could do to keep her safe from that.

On the 1st of September 2011, my daughter Fern got into her car, drove towards work and no-one has ever seen her since.

I can write this sentence down, I can even say it out loud, but I cannot hope to explain what that sentence actually feels like, what it is to live with that sentence, day after day, after week,after month.

I didn’t start worrying when she was an hour late, even two hours late. A late meeting, I thought, drinks with her colleagues. I pretended to myself, even as I clock watched, that everything was fine.
I rang her mobile , switched off.
I gritted my teeth and rang her brother, it’s hard to have a black sheep child when you only have two children, but Jason has worked hard for this, seems proud of this status.

He sounded surprised to hear from me, even more puzzled by my question, no he hadn’t seen Fern, no he didn’t know where she was or what she was doing. I could visualise the face he was pulling throughout the brief conversation, mouthing something to Her, that woman he lives with.

Suddenly, i thought that Fern might be trying to ring me, to explain what had gone wrong, I cut short the stilted conversation with my son and sat, looking at the phone, willing it to ring.

It was almost a relief when midnight arrived and i could admit to myself that something was terribly, terribly wrong.

I had my first conversation with a police officer, i ignored his patronising tone, a 25 year old woman doesn’t come home to mummy. I knew what he was thinking, but pushed on, finally receiving a half hearted commitment to check with the traffic police and contact the local hospitals.

I sat all night in darkness, periodically trying her mobile, still switched off. At one point, I became convinced that it was my phone that was at fault and dug around the dining table drawer for my ancient and rarely used mobile and listened to my own phone ring in the hallway.

The next morning, I rang her office to be told that she hadn’t been to work for 2 days and that they hoped she would feel better soon.

I rang the police again, made a fuss. I think they only sent someone round to shut me up and it wasn’t even a real policeman, just one of those pretend ones,the ones you see on bicycles wearing lots of hi viz gear.
But, give him his dues, he listened, took some notes, suggested that we check her room. I looked at him blankly, did he think she was hiding up there?
Because, of course , I was still thinking of some outside agency, a kidnapping, road accident, instant amnesia, but I nodded and we both went upstairs, the dog, subdued, confused, following us.

He was very kind when I broke down, made me sweet tea, asked if there was someone he could ring. I just stared at him, my worlds greatest mum mug held carefully in both hands.

Her bedroom was neat, but amongst the neatness, gaps.
Her suitcase missing, contact lens solution absent from her dressing table, her stuffed rabbit toy gone.
The almost policeman patted my hand, said it wasn’t uncommon , sometimes people just needed a break from their lives, said they usually came back a few days later.

But she didn’t.

Time passed, the nice police officer, by then I had a proper policeman, well policewoman, the one who talked about the photo, the dog photo, told me about support groups, Internet forums.
I joined them, talked to other families, but no one could explain why Fern, my Fern would do this.

At first, I ignored the dog, ferns’ dog but then I felt guilty, what would happen when, never if, she came back and the dog looked neglected, unloved.

I started taking her for walks, met this group of people, the 7am, the 6pm dog walkers, they all knew Fern, recognised Sasha.
I know them all pretty well know, they never ask directly, just ask how things are and I say the same and then we walk around the park together. Twice a day, 7 days a week while I wait for Fern to come home.

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Girl in the garden by Nadine May


Rubiesandduels would like to welcome our newest guest contributor, thank you for this story.

Girl in The Garden
There is a girl in my garden.
She is small, and young, and doesn’t know many words and I should not have a child in my garden. The man sad I’m not to.
Not just in my garden. I’m not to have children. I can’t look after them, he said, so I can’t even have my own ones, the ones I had at the hospital all proper.
But there she is, in my garden, and she is in pyjamas and I am worried.
If she is found here and they don’t believe me that she’s not mine, I will be in trouble for having her because they said I can’t have children when I’m by myself.
I don’t know what to do and I’m afraid to call the man, because he is mean to me and calls me a liar and takes things away from me.
But the girl is very young and she has pretty eyes and she reminds me of my little one, the last one, that they let me keep for a while, ‘til she got burned and then they said she had to go.
Even though I never burned her myself or anything and even the doctor said it was just an accident with the kettle and anyone can do it.
I want to ask someone in the street to help but there are too many of them. I like things quiet, but today everyone is home from work on the holidays and everyone is out and the street is crowded.
I can see a police car and a police van and I think something has happened; probably someone else got burgled like last week.
It makes me nervous, makes me want to stay inside and lock up and stay away.
But the man might come round. If he comes and I’m not here, it’s okay and he doesn’t get mad, he leaves a note to say he called. If he comes and I have a little girl here I’m in right trouble.
Mum lives up the hill but there’s too many people on the road to walk that way. I don’t like the crowds and the little girl, coaxed inside with a plate of biscuits, she seems like she’ll cry and scream around a crowd, seems on the verge of one of those big tantrums like I used to do when I was little when I’d hold my breath ‘til I fainted. I don’t want to be in trouble, so I decide I’ll walk through the park behind the house.
The little girl is only in her pyjamas and she smells like wee a little bit, and other things. I give her a bath like I used to give my girl, dress her in the left behind clothes the man and the social never took with her. I didn’t understand that, how they would take her but not the clothes I bought for her. Mum had told me it was so she would forget me, so she’d have no memory of me, not even a pair of socks or a hat.
So I have spare clothes and they’re clean and soft because they go through the wash once a month in case they bring her back, so I put them on and they fit her. This girl and mine are the same size and it’s quite nice to see the little green hat I used to like so much, keeping somebodies head warm.
I make us some toast and tea and the girl, who I think of as Jane because she looks like a Jane, is very quiet now and I think she’s so little that she’s run out of feelings to have and just got tired, so she sits and doesn’t say much.
I don’t have any TV for her to watch because the TV got stolen and I never watched it anyway, but while I get ready, she sits and scribbles on paper and I remember how my girl used to do that.
I make us both a nice lunch, sandwiches wrapped in brown paper like mum makes, and then we go out the back door and through the gap in the fence.
I’m right inside the park then and mum lives all the way up the hill. It’s a steep climb but I do it all the time and my legs are used to it. The ground is lumpy and some of it has sand under the dirt, but it makes for good handholds. When I was little I would play here for hours, and when I got bigger mum said I could only live as far away as the end of the park because I know it so well so I’ll never get lost. Mum says this hill is my hill the way I walk it.
Little Jane, though, she’s not as big and strong as me and she starts to cry quickly and I get afraid I’ll be heard and get in trouble.
I let her ride on my back and that makes her happy, even though I’m tired now, from carrying her. She cuddles close against the windy rain the hill always gets, twirling my hair around her fingers and singing in my ear.
When I look back at our house, I’ve climbed enough to see over the roof and over the hedges. There are even more crowds now, loads more cars and vans and even ones like them that turn up outside of the football matches. Mum says they’re for the telly, those vans and that’s why they have all that funny stuff on top, to send their signals to the TV. It even looks like the road is closed; those portable fences set up to block all the traffic.
I wonder if I missed the Queen coming to visit. I hope I didn’t, because I like the Queen and once when I was six I met her and gave her flowers and she smiled at me and she’s a Queen so that means I’m special because she never smiles.
But the police that are stood about don’t look like they do for the Queen, happy and smiling. These police look all serious and angry and keep sending people back the way they came with big waving arms and loud voices I can almost hear all the way up here.
Whatever it is I’m glad we’ve stayed away, and I carry on, turning back to my climb and trying not to huff and puff so much. Jane is getting heavier and I think she’s falling asleep like my one used to. If she does, she’ll not be able to hold on to my back and she’ll fall and she might get hurt and I’ll be back to being in trouble again and I really don’t want to be in trouble.
I put her down and make her walk, but it’s not even that far to go anyway, now. I can see the back of mums’ house, the thick hedges that line her garden.
My hole is still there, the gap in the branches I use to use to run away when mum had upset me.
I’d hide on the hill for hours and mum would be so upset and would call the police to find me. But then this one policeman was really mean and said I was a horrible girl and next time no one should try to find me. And that made mum stop calling the police when I ran away, and I would get lost for longer and get found by other people that weren’t police men and they would hurt me. Mum said they gave me my babies but I don’t know how hurt can make a baby because mum said babies are made from love, like I was.
I wonder if anyone loves the little girl as I push her through the hole, but realise if she was loved she wouldn’t have run away too and ended up in my garden.
My mum is already waiting for me, like she does. Her back window looks down the hill so she can always see me coming and always has tea waiting.
But today she has seen Jane with me and she looks worried and starts asking me questions and I think I’ve made a mistake. Maybe I should have left Jane where she was, because mum is only asking about her and where I got her and I didn’t expect mum to be so mad.
Mum talks so fast and she’s so angry that I can’t keep up and I decide not to answer and mum knows she won’t get me talking again now, I can throw a sulk for days.
She goes quiet too, then but she does that thing where she looks at the floor while she works it all out. I don’t know what she’s working out since we just need to find out where the girl came from but mum already has a plan, I think.
She runs around the house like a mad one, packing a small suitcase with clothes for me and her and getting on her computer. Then she gets out our passports, not just mine and hers, but the one we got for my girl just before they took her away, when we thought they’d let me keep her for ever.
Mum has all the photos of my daughter because I didn’t want them in my house, because they made me too sad. She takes one of them, and the little girl, into the bathroom and when they come out Jane has her hair dyed red like my girl, and if you didn’t know you would think it was her again.
I nearly start to cry when I see her, thinking of my little one but mum hasn’t noticed and still thinks I’m sulking.
She’s printing something, hustling us all into a car and I’m so confused and still angry at mum for shouting at me that I just go with her. It’s too noisy now in my head, and with her shouting, and I want it to be quiet again for a while and once we all get in the car, it is.
Jane falls asleep and mum puts the radio on but quiet like, and someone is talking about the police and how any locals that want to help can come to Crown Street, my street, to volunteer.
Mum nearly crashes the car trying to change the radio and in the end she just puts a CD on and its Queen because it’s always Queen and I want to point out how she’s playing Queen while the Queen visits my street and it’s funny, but she still seems mad and I still want to sulk if she’s going to be mad at me for nothing, so I do.
Mum drives us to the airport, and now I’m really confused but I start to think I’ve made a mistake somewhere, and that I should have told mum why I brought the girl, rather than go all sulky and say nothing.
Mum is telling Jane that her name is Mary, like my little girl. Now I really think I should say something but mum must have bought the tickets and she’ll not get her money back and then she might get into trouble from the bank.
So I keep on saying nothing and let mum smile and charm and be pretty at everyone until we’re through into the gate, because she’s good at that, and I keep on saying nothing while we walk around and buy giant Toblerones and some kids toys and games for the plane.
When we go to board, the lady at the desk squints a little too long at the little girl and I think I should say something then because the lady has already figured it out, but mum has this smile, the one she would wear when the man or the police came around to talk about me, school, my behaviour, my babies.
It’s a very special smile that means ‘say nothing, let mummy fix it’
So I say nothing, and let mummy fix it, and we board the plane.
And as we fly away, to visit Auntie Carol that lives on an island by Greece, mum finally tells me, Jane, or Mary now, as she began to fall asleep, mum looks at me for a full minute, just looks, then begins crying into her hands.
And I just wish she would tell what I’ve done wrong.

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The quiet pleasure of Agatha Christie on an almost winter night.


There is something immensely pleasurable about winter evenings and comfort reading. I should be working through the pile of “hard” books that tether untidly next to my bed, but instead, I find myself reading for perhaps the 5th or 6th time one of the many Agatha Christie paperbacks that have their own shelf ( the rather nice 60s Fontana editions, with the good illustrations, if anyone is interested) in my sitting room.

Agatha Christie was my first foray into “proper” books, books that were read by adults and kept in the main library, not the children’s room.

In an era when teen fiction simply didn’t exist, Agatha Christie or more accurately the borrowing of them from my local library, was a rite of passage.
At 12 or 13, the librarian, and this was long before the days of Interactive learning zones, multi media or libraries in shopping centres, would decide that you were old enough, sensible enough to be unleashed into the adult section and Agatha Christies were the books we were gently but firmly pointed towards.

I knew of course that there were other adult books, books i had heard of, wanted desperately to read, but I knew better than to even consider trying to borrow them from my local red brick Carnegie library.

Although I can remember the dizzy joy of discovering copies of The Joy of Sex, The Diceman and Memoirs of a Borstal Boy by Brendan Behan under my mothers’ bed, my weekly library loaning, in that Saturday gap between confession and helping my mother with the big weekly shop, mostly consisted of Agatha Christie and Norah Lofts (just for the racey bits)

I read them all, was bored by the ones that included any archeology, puzzled by the Tommy and Tuppence Beresford series, enjoyed the Hercule Poirots and was actually scared in at least Miss Marple novel.

Agatha Christe novels had everything I needed at age 12 or 13. They could be read in one evening and in the days when families had one television and the television had 3 channels and bedrooms where places we went to sleep, not to live parallel teenage lives, a book that could occupy a whole evening was a treasure.

Agatha Christie’s characters lived in a world I knew nothing about, but recognised even as a suburban teenager that they belonged to quite another time, but was happy to drift along in her world while in the real world, I was drifting too.

Her books were safe, yes, there was some mention of romance,but fat, awkward and convent schooled, there was nothing to make me feel anxious, uncomfortable.
For the nights when I wanted to push myself, pretend a level of sophistication,there was always the books underneath my mothers’ bed.

I have of course read and re-read these books over the years, most often in rented holiday cottages, piled up amidst the Jackie Collins, the Andy Mcnabs and the current must read amongst the sort of people who rent cottages in Norfolk or remote parts of Wales, one year we found 6 copies of Captain Corellis mandolin in 2 different locations.

Secretly, I always hoped for at least one truly wet day, a day when even the most optomistic could not look out of the window and suggest it might clear up later.
Then, with a clear conscience, I could take myself to a sofa and bury myself in small village crime.

So, last night I re-read Agatha Christie, chewed chocolate covered toffees and remembered my 13 year old self.

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It’s time


And the room goes mental………
Bodies slick with sweat
Busting moves, big fish, little fish, cardboard box
And the DJ doing that DJ thing, making salaam to the floor
Enjoying the 100 per cent reliability of all killer, no filler.

Faces are fixed, jaws grinding, mouths drying.
Unwanted cigarettes, burn out in waving hands,
Arms in the air, like you just don’t care

Strangers ricochet against each other, smile, embrace, move on
And all the while the beat goes on,
You are the music and the music is you
You no longer know where the toon begins and where you end

You watch your own hand describe an arc
Transfixed by internal, half understood rhythms
Movement is the only constant

It’s time to burn

It’s time for another pill.


The Centrefold, his dog and me.


It takes a really long time for every other Thursday to come around, from break time, I’m on tenterhooks, just wishing the day away and of course, Thursday afternoon is the worst lesson, double history with Mr Turner. He sits at the front of the room, reading out the history book and we’re expected to write it down and the mad thing is, we do.

Even the scary girls, like Maria and Lisa, the ones who listen to John Peel and like bands like Southern Death Cult and once pierced another girls’ ear in the toilets with a safety pin during a wet lunch break. We all write down what he dictates.
I keep looking at my watch, wishing the paws of Truelove Bear to move faster, to actually reach 3.30 and home time.

Ali and Nikki are going to Andys records cos they reckon that the boy who works there looks a bit like the singer in The Jam, but its Thursday, so I shake my head, grab my bag and I’m gone.

I’ve got a whole routine for every other Thursday, straight into the newsagents, I don’t even need to ask, Mr Pritchard sees me coming and has it ready for me, I look quickly at the front cover, just to see who’s on it and then I think about sweets. I used to like strawberry bonbons or sherbet lemons, but now I usually get aniseed balls, not because I like them much, but they remind me of that wedding we went to when my uncle said I needed a drink to match my dress and got me Pernod and black currant, my mum was furious, said I was far too young, got me a coke instead.

When I get home, there’s nobody in, because my mums still at work. It’s funny, when I was in Juniors, nobody had a mum who worked fulltime and didn’t have a dad at home, but now I’m in 3rd year Seniors, there’s loads of them, I reckon by the time I get to 6th form we’ll be laughing at the weird ones who have a mum at home and a dad who goes out to work.

I go straight upstairs, put the magazine on the middle of my bed, shove Rainbow Bright and Truelove to one side and put on the tape from last weeks top 40, it’s a good one, hardly any talking and I got the writing on the label just perfect, no mistakes at all and the Dexies are still number 1.
I watched them on top of the pops and I reckon their look is easy to do, I could use my school plimmies and buy dungarees a couple of sizes too big.

I’ve got my own way of reading Smash Hits, I like the interviews cos they ask really sillly questions and then I check out the lyrics, sometimes that’s good cos they have a song you really need to know the words to and then last, cos I save it to last, is the poster inthe middle. The one you can pull out and put on your wall. So far I’ve got the Stranglers, The Jam, Adam Ant, Kevin Rowlands and the one with the mental hair from the Human League.
The best posters are the ones where they are looking at the camera, so it’s like they’re really looking at you and i can imagine that they’re in the room with me. Adam Ant is the best cos he’s got lovely eyes and he looks a bit sad too.

This week the poster is someone new, he was on top of the pops a couple of weeks ago, although he’s only number 28.

The photograph is a bit different, it’s a real close up, his eyes are looking out of the picture, I quite like his hair, it’s a bit like Paul Wellers and I like him, so I take the staples out carefully and I think about where to put him. I reckon I can shift Kraftwerk over a bit cos I’ve gone off them.
I have to be careful, cos my mum only decorated the room last year and she had to use 2 days holiday and I’m only allowed to put posters on one wall and not use Sellotape, cos it leaves a mark.

I step back when I’m finished, yeah it looks alright. I wonder if he’s in the top 20 yet. I decide to take the Kraftwerk poster down if there’s another poster of him next time.

I quite like the dog too.

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The Crying Girl.


You already know a little about The crying girl. You know she is a sort of famous, you have heard that people come from all over, Bradford, Leeds, Birmingham, even London, just to see her.

On a friday lunchtime, when the men are absent and the women and girls take over the house you have heard the talk, how visitors crowd into the front room of the terraced house where she lives, just a few streets away from where your own parents live. You can easily imagine the scene, can visualise how the curious, the devout, the bored arrive at her front door, step over the jumble of shoes by the front door, shake hands with her father, her brothers and uncles and then are ushered into her presence.

The conversation loops around your mothers’ sitting room, the women remember the blessed aubergine, the naan bread with the face of the prophet. The conversation darkens, someone mentions possessions. A tiny ancient woman, her eyes cloudy with cataracts makes a discreet movement to ward off the evil eye and everyone pretends to not notice.

Although later, you practise the same movement, admiring its economic beauty and wishing that the devils in your life could be so easily managed.

You have agreed to visit the crying girl with your best cousin, your almost sister.
Both of you are home for the first long holiday since you went away to college and both of you are struggling. Your parents houses feel tiny, suffocating, you feel the weight of the community upon you.

Away from home, you have become modern, almost daring. You both dress in the uniform of good (ish) Muslim girls away from home, skin tight jeans, high heeled boots, scarves chosen to compliment your Juicy Couture t-shirts.

You confess to your cousin that you have experimented with not wearing a scarf, but it feels too alien, too unfamiliar and besides your cousin brother sister has some involvement in a phone shop on the Cowley Rd and you known how news travels.

So, this visit to the crying girl is by way of a smoke screen, a subterfuge. You plan a flying visit and then into town, coffee and the trying on of unsuitable high heeled shoes. You both need a bigger vista, a wider landscape than the rows of terraced houses where everyone knows everyone else’s business.
So, you make your way, past the halal butcher shop, the cut price flight agency, you are both light hearted, giggling. Your cousin fiddles on her iPhone, finds a you tube clip of the crying girl.

And then you are there.

The room is small, over-filled with furniture designed for a much larger space. There is an almost new flat screen TV, on the day you visit it has been hooked into a PC and is playing the YouTube clips on a loop, so you can look at the girl and then look at her again, in the flesh and on a screen.

The girl sits in the middle of the sofa, she is dressed in village finery, nylon, cheap, the colour so bright it hurts your teeth. She is plain, sallow skinned, nose too large for her face. She doesn’t look up when you and your cousin enter the room.

And beside her is the mother, constantly dabbing the daughters face with the box of tissues on her lap. Hers is the only movement in the room. The girl herself is motionless, except of course for the tears which fall silently from her eyes, regular as a metronome.

You both stand, speechless, watching.

The mother looks exhausted, her own skin grey as if she hasn’t left this space for a long, long time. As you watch, her hand moves to a plate beside the sofa and she selects a tiny piece of samosa and places it in the girls mouth.

She chews, swallows and continues to cry.

You remember the stories you have heard;

Tales of possession, of Djins, of exorcism in far away villages.

There are those who believe that her tears are a mourning for the state of Islam and the sins of the overly westernised young people.

Your aunties know someone who brought their sick baby, who was made well again when the crying girls tears were dropped on his forehead.

You know girls, modern girls, who swear that just two of her tears added to their bridal day make-up, will make them irresistible to their new husbands.

You consider yourself modern too, well educated, better than these superstitious country people. You came here because your cousin said it would be a laugh,something to do, something to fill an empty Saturday afternoon, before your real plans kick off.

But now, faced with her, the crying girl, her complete dispair, you are moved, experience an emotion you struggle to describe.

You want to ask her why,
“why are you crying?”, but even as the question forms on lips, you know it is the wrong thing to say, so like the crying girl, you remain silent.

Their is a pause and then an uncle ushers you all out, back into the front room where the men sit.

You turn back, somehow desperate for another glance. The mother is holding a glass of water to the crying girls lips. She sips and as the mother moves the glass away, you watch as tears drop into the glass, water and tears mixing together.

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Sandra and the boys


He never really liked them, not really. Although he said he did and he certainly liked the attention. 3 big dogs, walking to heel, big furry minders.
“yeah” he’d say
“attack dogs, trained, kill you on my say so”
And the dogs would look at him and then turn away, eyes fixed on me, tails wagging in unison.
They were just part of the whole package, CCTV, baseball bat leaning on the wall by the front door. Ready for some invasion, desperate to be the man who saw off some scumbag robber.
As if anyone was ever going to rob us, I mean really, we had nothing, ancient TV, CD player he found for a tenner at a car boot sale.
He spent more on security than he ever spent on the house or me for that matter.
Everything in the house was as tired as battered as our marriage. I felt about as attractive as the dingy sofa, sagging cushions, unfashionable fabric, yeah that pretty much was me to a tee.
But the dogs, the dogs had the best of everything, fresh meat, big leather collars, food bowls scrubbed out every day, coats brushed till they shone while he watched whatever sport was on the telly and moaned about our lack of Sky Sports.
When we sat on the sofa, the dogs would watch him, vigilant, noticing his every move
“yeah”, he’d nod, satisfied
“they know whose boss”
And he’d pat the nearest, not noticing the tiny flinch, the move away.
His hand just that bit too heavy.
The same way he never noticed my flinch when he touched the back of my neck, his hand just that fraction too heavy on me as well.

He wasn’t a bad man, not really, just stuck in a life he hadn’t planned, didn’t want and it made him angry, made him lash out and there was no-one else to lash out at, so he lashed out at me and the dogs watched, carefully.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I was a battered woman or anything. No late night visits to A&E, no arguments with cupboard doors, well, not many and no-one at work ever asked why I wore so many long sleeved tops, polo neck jumpers, why I jumped if someone slammed a door too hard.

And besides, i had the dogs, some nights when things went badly wrong, afterwards, I would lie on the sofa, the bloody sofa, dogs wrapped round me, their weight a comfort, my hands deep in their fur, finding warmth when I felt so cold.

He liked me to walk the dogs, would watch us leave the house
“no-ones going to mess with you, not with them around you”
And then he’d go back to the TV, his beer, the match.

When things have been a bit bad for a long time, it takes something really bad for you to notice, to realise that a line has been crossed.

So, the day i couldn’t make it to work, couldn’t cover up the damage, couldnt face the world, I knew something had to change.

I sat for a very long time, staring at the front door, the dogs staying close, unsettled by the change of routine.

And then I heard his key in the door and me and the dogs all sat up straighter, poised.

And as he entered the room, I used the word, the attack word.
I wasn’t really sure what would happen, if they would actually do it.

But they did it, all 3 of them, moving towards him, fast, focused and for a minute, he didn’t quite know what was happening, thought it was a joke, almost a smile on his face.

And then the dogs were on him and he wasn’t smiling anymore and he was shouting.

I stood up, walked towards him, counting in my head
1 2 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10
And then I called the dogs off.

I saw him yesterday, I was out, walking the dogs and he saw us, started walking towards us.
I stopped and the dogs stopped at my heels.

He looked at me and he looked at them and then he crossed the road.

I’m buying a new sofa when I get paid this month.