NIGHTMARES

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One thing I strongly connect with my Primary School years is the nightmares I used to have. It was only a couple of years ago that I linked those dreams with what happened in that little room at my Aunt and Uncles’ home. The dreams stopped when I went to High School.

I have always been able to dream that I could fly. It always seems so natural in the moment…and disappointing when I woke up; but the flying dreams that haunted me in that time were paralysing.

In Primary School, I was bullied for my bucked teeth, giraffe legs and I’m sure, my inability to relate to other girls my age. The dream always started with me flying over the oval at Mont Albert Primary School, looking down over the swap card games, elastics, gang chasey and knuckles. I was never very good at any of the girl games. With three brothers, there was no-one to swap cards or play elastics with, and there weren’t enough of us to play gang chasey. I was always included in my brothers’ antics but it was either brandy, cowboys and indians, soccer, hide and seek or cricket. My brothers were my best friends.

I was at peace in the sky, on my own. It was the master of myself, and the sky. I could hover, somersault, float and shoot straight up into a cloud and catch a handful of “fairy floss”.

Always though, my dream would change. The clouds and sky would become black and when I looked down I could see the dark shadow of thunder clouds on the grass. Where, before the sun was shining, a cold wind would suddenly be chilling me to the core. Expecting to  see my friends playing below, I would now find the playground empty. I hadn’t heard the bell go, and  I was left on my own. The chill had taken away my power and now I could barely even fly more than a few feet off the ground.

It was then I would sense that I was being chased. At first, I felt safe because I could fly and he could not, but my confidence soon turned to fear as I realised that I couldn’t get far enough off the ground to completely escape. As the dream progressed, I would always end up flying over a small mound of grass at the side of the oval. The dark shadow of a man would run easily up the mound but I was never able to gain any more height.

Just as he was about to grab my foot, I would wake up. Each time I had that dream, it was the same. For a very long time.

 

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THE FALL OUT

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flikrIf I had known that I wasn’t the only cousin he had preyed on, I may have been able to say something. I don’t know. Who knows what he may have said to keep me quiet (and the others). I don’t remember. All I can say is that all of us were changed irreversibly by that trusted member of our family.
The first my parents knew of any of this was 30 years later. I was pregnant with my third son and a younger cousin was taking that bastard to court. It was a shock to me, when my father spoke quietly to me in the peace of his back garden about what was coming to light within the family. It was difficult for him to verbalise, I know this much, but he gently told me the allegations of my cousin. I was horrified, dismayed, appalled and sickened. However, his next question just completely surprised me. After he had told me some details, he said to me, “Your Aunt has said that she doesn’t believe any of these allegations but if she found that it had happened to you she could perhaps consider the possibility that this happened to your cousin”. I answered the question truthfully and respectfully as I could see the pain in my father’s posture (I didn’t dare look into his eyes). But my entire being was screaming in anger at the doubt surrounding my cousin’s accusation. Of course I knew it to be true. But even so, why would a woman at the age of 28 and no recent contact with this man suddenly decide to do this without good reason. Not for fun that’s for sure. Not for money, he had none. I’ll tell you why. The things he did to her were unspeakable and as a little girl, she wasn’t able to get away from it. He picked her up from school every day.

( Just feel I need to clarify that the “Uncle” concerned was NOT blood related)

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