Adults only, trigger warning!
Thankfully it was a runt of a ‘man’ – although I use the term man lightly, because real men don’t go round hitting women or cripples – or my recent injuries would be worse.
I’m always aware of my vulnerability ever since the ability of naturally walking was taken from me – that and the pain. There’s no flight for me in Danger when it happens – I can’t run let alone walk fast anymore – unless I’m driving my car. With a cracked spine and nerve damage originating from my hip I cannot defend myself either. But men, even small men are always much stronger than women anyway.
My two siblings are drug addicts and had threatened violence years ago so I stopped all contact. For some reason I didn’t like being threatened with punches from my birth sister’s (Golden) boyfriend (Weasel) (2011) just because they felt like saying it – I suppose they were jealous of my inner strength. I wanted more for my life which is clearly ironic now. I refused to stay unemployed and doing what they clearly do which is the purpose of their lives. After 31 years they don’t have much good to show for themselves.
So after that time several years ago when I was threatened with violence I stopped contact with all four of them (including birth brother and his ‘lovely’ wife). I couldn’t do it anymore. To try to make things right with us – when I didn’t even cause them any harm – to have some kind of reciprocal caring/respectful relationship. With my chronic ill health I was always tired and in so much pain and unable to do what able bodied people take for granted (I was able bodied and know how that luxury feels). I needed help but got very little. It was humiliating, frustrating, depressing and frightening. I retreated inside myself, something that wasn’t alien to me since I was left so much to my own devices as a child – I was a very independent person, even in childhood.
I made my tiny world as beautiful as I could – inside the four walls of my small bedroom; the patio and garden where I tried growing plants; and the living room where my mum would sometimes be. I had my nightly communications with John on Skype and he visited when he could but that wasn’t often due to financial constraints. I had my creativity, dogs, plants and John. I had basic food, warmth, a roof over my head. I made my room magical with sliver flecked black net curtains that picked up the night lamps creating an illusion of stars. I collected inexpensive Art Deco pieces including a cabinet for my fabric supplies and a bureau for my crafts. For a few months I had one of the best friendships with a woman who was like a big sister to me. She was very ill with MS. And for a while I became friendly with some women who worked in one of the local grocery shops. I was alone, apart from my mum because John was still waiting for his Greek papers so he could be with me.
Long before Golden/Weasel threatened me with violence the Gnome, married to my brother (sorry no special name for him, but it’d be something like Bully/Coward if I gave him one) threatened to arson the house where I lived with my parents, to kill me.
That threat came late one autumnal night (2004) when I was walking alone along the dark unlit road. I was going to the local shop to buy something. I kept hearing giggling (they were high) and noticed people shapes darting in and out of the bushes. Then I heard the female say to the male, “Yeah I think it’s her (my name).” When they passed me in the dark she made that threat. My birth brother did nothing, said nothing. Where was my big protective brother from years past?
Some days later my dad discovered a little fire had been made in the log pile heaped up beside the brick wall of our house. She’d set it alight while we slept. I thank God that her sadism is blessed with equal stupidity because it was a poor excuse of a fire. Didn’t the Gnome ever learn how to make a proper fire during all those years she lived in the country?
There’s a long history of me being scapegoated by my family of origin. Thing is when family does that to you strangers think they have a free pass to do that too.
At 17 a ‘friend of the family’ attempted to rape me and when I mentioned it to my parents I was told to apologise to him for being rude to his face.
When I was a teen I remember being excited having my two siblings – me, the sensible quiet one in the middle – thinking how great it was going to be when we got romantic partners and children. But I never had that. When I see it in real life, those warm sibling bonds or depicted on TV I feel sad. Some people have lives with much loss. I know my life is by no means the worst kind of life, but it’s really pretty shitty in some areas.
I was punched in the face today but it wasn’t by either sibling nor their cohabitees But my birth sister is surely to blame.
Golden and Weasel used to be quite friendly with their then neighbour – only because of the drugs supplied by Weasel no doubt – for years. Even after the runt moved out to live somewhere else they still remained in contact.
Golden has run me down to everyone: including friends we jointly had as kids – I’d often bring my 3-year younger sister along because I always looked out for her and we were close. Because of her chronic drug use and the poison she spewed most of them didn’t want to know me years later when I returned to the country. Golden and Weasel yapped about me in a derogatory way to this ex neighbour. The last year my dad was alive and he finally realised that the serious injury I had was really serious, no matter how much he got annoyed with me I still couldn’t cut the grass – he finally took on the Runt because Golden pushed it. I really wasn’t able to cut the grass anymore. It hurt to see someone else do it. Yet another thing of my former life I had to relinquish. Always the little things. They add up you know.
If all the things of your former life are taken away you have to find new things otherwise you start feeling like less-of-a-person. Chronic illness is dehumanising.
Runt has cut the grass of my mum’s properties for several years. He’s also broken a number of things for several years – usually my stuff, starting from the year my dad died.
It was him who attacked me today. Why? Well, apart from it taking a nasty individual to hit someone weaker than themselves, it’s because I became insistent that he should leave the wildflowers alone, something my mum told him to do long ago. But because she never complained about all the things he broke with his grass-strimmer – garden ornaments; plant pots; plants; my wicker chair, my mum’s new garden seat – he obviously thought he could do what he liked. He most times broke my stuff – I’m sure that’s no coincidence since he’s thick with Weasel and Golden.
When I worked for people I didn’t tell them how it was, I listened to what I was asked to do and (if it was reasonable/within job description) did it. After all I was providing a service of which I was paid for.
When he entered the back garden I said nicely, don’t cut the nettles. He didn’t. But as soon as my back was turned he did. I then said why did you just cut the nettles when I said not to? He said he didn’t. I took a step forward and pointed at the patch where the nettles were. I said you obviously did. He said you have enough nettles. I said you were told not to cut any nettles why are you doing it? He then argued with me, saying they were weeds. I said this isn’t YOUR garden darling. He walked off.
Wildlife note: Nettles should be left to preserve the butterfly eggs until the end of August. Britain has seriously dwindling butterfly numbers. When they’re gone they’re really gone for good.
I was sorting out my plants in the sun-room that opens onto the patio and through the window I saw him drive his lawnmower over another bigger patch of nettles! I shouted to him, what are you doing? Don’t cut the nettles. He went off in the other direction, turning his back to me. I then, enraged, yelled I AM TALKING TO YOU!
A little later after he finished cutting both the front and back lawns I caught up with him in the drive. I asked him why he cut the nettles, he said I can’t hear you, I can’t hear you like a child in a playground. I’m thinking this is too weird, he’s being paid a service and he’s not doing what he’s been paid to do AND he’s behaving in a rude condescending way towards me. I thought, that definitely has to be partly my birth sister’s fault. She enjoys turning people against me because of her own self-dissatisfaction. He also has a problem with drugs and always wears black sunglasses so you can’t see his eyes. I don’t know what possessed my parents in employing him in the first place. Several times John offered to cut the grass – for free of course – when my dad had passed on but my mum always declined.
All the time he was mocking me he was pointing a finger in my face, continuing on with this children’s playground silliness. I don’t like people putting fingers in my face so I smacked his hand aside, telling him not to do that. But as soon as I smacked his hand away he punched me in the face with the other. Just like that. I was astounded. I yelled HE PUNCHED ME! When he punched my face I stepped backwards awkwardly and thereby further injured my damaged leg. I tried grabbing onto the lawnmower for purchase so I wouldn’t fall – cripple here. He yanked the lawnmower out of my grasp and swung back his arm to take another closed handed punch.
At this point John came rushing out. He’d caught some of the commotion from the front window and when I yelled HE PUNCHED ME! he sped out so fast to my rescue like I’ve never seen him do before. Runt told John to get me under control – wow, sexism isn’t dead! John replied GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!
John helped me into the house and I called the police. I had a hard job trying to talk, I was thinking I don’t want to sleep tonight because I’ll dream of being punched in the face. I’ll dream about the horrific beating an ex boyfriend did to me from nineteen years ago. A beating in which I could have easily died from head trauma – let’s just say I coloured the apartment floors and walls, and those in the lobby of the building.
It’s 10:40 pm now and I still don’t want to sleep.
John is keeping me company. My mum has been kind – I wasn’t sure if she would blame me.
My thumb, the one I use for a walking stick is too sore to use. I cannot grasp a glass either nor grip a packet or bottle to open. I’ve also lost the use of the thigh muscle on my already injured leg to propel me out of a chair – I can no longer use my back. My face isn’t hurting that much.
I must say the two young policemen were very good. I haven’t always had positive interactions with the police but they were kind and professional. I had trouble speaking and it was all muddled up and I couldn’t breath properly and needed the asthma inhaler. I had to sit down and tried sipping water my mouth was so dry. As I write this I am still in shock.
I haven’t pressed charges, to go to court, but I think I will. I wanted to write this all out now before I sleep so I don’t forget the facts.
The police, with my consent, will phone him to tell him to keep away from me and the house, and I have an incident number for when I want to reach them.
Crazy thing is I genuinely feel sorry for him! Then I think from the way he behaved today it wouldn’t surprise me if he beat up his girlfriend.
I don’t think you can tell the pain from the bruises. Still, it could have been worse. It is the act of physical aggression against me that is messing with my head.
Tomorrow is another day. I hope it’s a better one. xo
Copyright Faith McCord 2020
Story and artwork belongs to Faith McCord who is the author and artist holding the copyright. This is not a public domain work. Worldwide rights.