bridge

Now that I finally let myself remember, it started when I was 3 or 4. The Abuse. I can remember my Dad picking me up and throwing me from one end of the living room to the other because I was speaking during a TV Show. He was a bully. Verbally and Physically. But also a coward. He never hit me back when I was finally big enough to fight back. 16 I think. A lot of bruises until that day. No more after.

But back to Wales, and 1980. Back to Hell. The first place we lived was a cold, unheated council house on the roughest estate dumped on the side of a mountain somewhere even more remote. A 3 mile walk to school became the norm. We couldn’t afford coal let alone busses. We froze and I ended up in Hospital that first winter with Bronchial Pneumonia. I had to be taught to breathe again, and speak.

At that horrible, racist establishment I was teased and bullied daily for being English A Cockney. I didn’t fit in at all well with these Welsh Lads. I quickly became their break-time amusement and all round whipping boy, sending me to buy their Glue for after school by the banks of the Taff. I wasn’t asked to partake. Not at first. I didn’t even know why they wanted Glue. Why Glue? It wasn’t long before I had the crisp bag full of Evostick held over my mouth and nose whilst I lie pinned to the floor. By 4 of them.  I’m not sure exactly what happened after that. It all went in slow motion from then. The Glue offered me a release at least from the reality of my situation. Maybe that was the day I became the addict that sits here now typing to himself all day and night wondering what just happened.

I missed everything about London. My friends, my jobs, my sports teams, my school. I didn’t play Rugby, I played Football! I missed my life. The £15 earned every week was a like having £100 now. I bought my LPs, my comics, takeaway for myself and I saved for a new Amstrad Stack System and a Commodore 64. My parents got me the jobs. Saves looking at me and took care of the pocket money issue. He got me my first 2 paper rounds when I was 6. Bless him.

It didn’t matter how much I asked them to send me back to London, I couldn’t seem to register. I was not important enough I know now. I didn’t matter. I was an inconvenience. I even got picked up by the Police on the M4 one day after being spotted trying to walk home. How much more of a clue did they need?  They didn’t hear me above the sound of their own selfishness.  Anything I learned from them has only done me harm in this life. I thank them for nothing and I give them even less credit for the few things I did manage to overcome. The things I did achieve. They drove me on in those days when I was at my most energised to be better than they were.

Even posthumously I despise them both for the damage they did to me. Then and even more so now as I find myself of incapable of maintaining a normal, loving relationship as I enter middle age. Why can’t I just accept the love of a good, uncomplicated woman like normal people? I only seem able to be capable of giving out the same painful love they showed me. I end up pushing away that love and care that I crave so much. That I was starved of when it mattered most. I was not like most children. There was nothing unconditional about their attention, their time, their ‘care’. I would have been better off aborted. Really.

If it was Summer Dad would lock me on the balcony of our 12th Floor Tower Block In West London. I watched the planes pass me by every 2 minutes on their final approach to Heathrow, almost low enough for me to see in the windows. All those rich, lucky people. I remember thinking I would never have enough money to ever fly. That sticks with me. They were ground breaking then those high-rises, removed from the face of humanity now. Like me.

If I was already out of the house playing maybe, he would lock me out in the landing instead whilst I sat listening to them rotate between fucking and arguing for hours. Sometimes til 3 am in the morning. The neighbours would sometimes bring me some squash to drink or let me sit with them until they went to bed. As much as it pleases that piss-stinking refugee camp is no more, it only adds to my lifelong displacement if I’m honest. Not even the street name remains. My childhood erased.

I remember sitting in the services on the Seventh Bridge as a 9 year old listening to my father tell his mate that “if she didn’t come back tomorrow (from an earlier escape attempt) to London with him then I was going back to Wales the next day. Did he think I couldn’t understand English? Or more likely he just didn’t fucking care. I did.

Obviously too fucking stupid to ever see it, they never once said ‘You had a difficult childhood son. I’m sorry’.  These 2 most useless role models God ever created maintained it was all my 13 year old fault.

I do remember being asked by Mum if I wanted to go on a longer holiday with her. But it didn’t really matter what I said did it?

My whole life has been shaped by their disastrous marriage. But when she took me away, and then failed to care for me. And stood by and allowed my  struggles. Broke that bond that should never be tested.

From that day I’ve not really had much of a chance.

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