I have put off writing this section for some time now, I even considered writing about a later point in my life and coming back to this later but I promised myself I would keep the chronology in order so as not to confuse things. This has been, without doubt, the most painful part of my life to write about. Not because of the horror of the event itself though, no, the pain comes from the knowledge that this is the point where I let so many people down. Of all the things that have gone wrong over the years this is the moment I would most like to return to in a time machine so that I could put things right and prevent other people being hurt.
I know I was young (I was 9 years of age) but I had a fair idea of what was right and wrong, I knew P was not a good person but I chose to ignore it; my need for a friend was so great that I overlooked the things he did that I wasn’t comfortable with. I was also afraid of his darker side which I had seen on a few occasions and I didn’t want that unleashed on me so I went along with his requests as it seemed the easier thing to do. This went on for quite some time until one day it all became too much and I foolishly decided to fight back.
On this particular day I had gone round to P’s house after school, Q and K were in the house with another man I hadn’t seen before, they were all smoking in the living room and I remember that I could hardly see anyone as the whole room seemed to be full of fog from the smoke which had a sickly smell to it. P asked me to “play” with him as usual and the others sat around laughing at us and egging P on. When P was done the other man asked for his turn. It was at this point that I snapped, I felt sick to the pit of my stomach and I didn’t want to “play” anymore. When the man came over to me I tried to push him off, he laughed and carried on going so I bit him as hard as I could. I have no idea where I got the idea from but it worked – he screamed in agony and started calling me an f’ing b*tch. The next thing I knew someone kicked me in the face followed by a blow to the side of the head. I went down on the floor like a lead weight. They continued kicking me and screaming at me then P said he would teach me a lesson – he would pull my teeth out. I have no idea what he was using but I could feel something metal scraping against my teeth as I struggled to get out of his grip, in the background I could still hear the other man screaming. I kept trying to break free and I had almost made it to the front door when P grabbed at my hair, the pain was intense and I fell to the floor again hitting my head against a radiator as I went down. I lay on the floor exhausted, I had no fight left in me at this point and when I felt someone kick me again I just stayed down. I heard K ask someone if I was still alive and then felt someone prod me and shout at me to get up but I stayed down, I figured if they thought I was dead they would leave me alone at last. After I had remained really still for what seemed like an eternity they began to think they had killed me or at the very least I was out cold. I heard them arguing amongst each other about what to do next, how to deal with this mess. Eventually I heard them go through to the back of the house so I picked myself up, crept out of the door ran as fast as I could.
I was running in a blind panic, not paying any attention to where I was going and so I didn’t see one of the neighbour’s reversing their car out of their driveway, I ran straight into the side of the car and bounced off it. I landed on some broken glass and cut my legs pretty badly, I tried to get up again and make a run for it but I was totally out of breath and I just sat there and cried. My neighbour got out of their car and screamed when they saw me, I was quite literally a bloody mess by this point. My neighbour then started crying and apologizing, saying they hadn’t seen me and asked if I was ok. Another neighbour then came out and started screaming about calling an ambulance and before long it seemed like half the street was out. I guess I was in a state of shock as I couldn’t say a word, I tried to speak but nothing came out. A lady came out of a house and said that she was a nurse; she asked what had happened and then asked someone to go and find my parents while she checked me out. I remember her asking me for my name and I just stared at her, still unable to speak. She started to look over my injuries and kept telling me to calm down, that it was ok, but I couldn’t stop crying. I don’t remember much about what happened next, I remember there being a lot of people talking at me but I couldn’t say anything. At some point I was transported home and the lady who said she was a nurse took me to the bathroom to get cleaned up, she said that I’d had a nasty knock but would be ok. My Mum kept asking me what I’d been thinking, why hadn’t I looked where I was going and did I know how bad our neighbour felt that they had hit me, that they could have killed me. I know I should have spoken up and explained what had really happened but I couldn’t say a word, no matter how I tried I couldn’t seem to catch my breath to speak. As an adult I know how bad that neighbour must have felt and I am so sorry I allowed them to think they had hit me and that they thought they had caused all my injuries.
The next day I was taken to the dentist for an emergency appointment as some of my teeth had been knocked loose.