His breath expelled in short rhythmic bursts, steam pouring from his nostrils into the cold and still night air. My legs wrapped around the saddle and my bare ankles feeling the warmth of his heaving sides. His neck was stretched out, reaching towards our destination; rising and falling with the pulse of his thundering hooves. The tail of my dressing gown along with the damp clods of earth flew out behind us as if we were shooting machine gun bullets at the devil behind us.
Nearing our family bridge, I imagined the age old sentry pine trees at the farm gate and the warm and inviting light coming from the century old homestead. My family would perhaps be sitting around the table with a fire blazing, playing cards, watching television or colouring with the oddments of pencils and crayons Granny kept in her chiffoniere draw. Granny herself would more than likely be knitting in her favourite chair. The wool trailing into a muddled basket and her gnarled and arthritic fingers in the shape that the knitting of jumpers, cardigans and dressing gowns for her 21 grandchildren had set them.
It’s not how it was though. This was the escape I conjured in my head whilst my Uncle molested me at his family home not far from the farm. His rank alcohol and cigarette-laced breath exhaled unapologetically in my face, his neck stretched out seeking and reaching for my affection, his sides heaving with desire and his careless, stumpy and grown-up fingers touching my innocent seven year old flesh. I left on my horse and flew like the wind every time he came to my room.
(I’m sorry this is a bit heavy for a first entry but I have only recently started to understand the impact this has had on my life. I also am very aware of the amount of women who have suffered similar circumstances as children. I believe that, as women, brothers, parents and friends we need to share and discuss these experiences more openly so that we can understand and better protect the little girls that are our future).