14. Billingsgate

‘I’m going to buy some snacks. Do you want anything?’

It’s been three weeks since the night I met daddy and I’ve been unable to work ever since. Seeing him again after all these years really shook me. Naomi and Ruth have been surprisingly understanding. I know we agreed not to pry or ask random questions but after everything they’ve gone through for my sake, I want them to know. Even if it’s just a little explanation about why things are the way they are.

‘I don’t deserve you guys.’

Naomi who was about to go out stops and just stares at me.

‘Don’t say that. We are like sisters.’

‘But you and Naomi are sisters.’

‘Yeah but we are with you. There’s nothing like I don’t deserve this and I don’t deserve that. We all have to work hard to get what we think we deserve.’

Ruth is right. Wasn’t that the reason I ran away in the first place? To escape the life I was born into and work hard to get what I believe I deserve. How ironic that this was what it came down to.

‘I know we have a rule here.’ I begin looking at Ruth. ‘Just one rule but I have rules. Rules which I have held dear to me because they were the only thing keeping me alive.’

‘You don’t have to tell us all this.’

Naomi who was by the door has joined us on the floor. I chuckle to myself.

‘Ah! Naomi, I can see you’re ready for gist as usual.’

‘Before nko! Who food epp? Your gist go belle full me. There’s no way I’m getting second hand gist from Ruth! She’s literally the worst story teller ever!!!’

We all laugh. I know what she’s trying to do and I’m grateful for it. Even though years have passed since those seemingly endless nights with daddy, the memory of them still haunts me.

Is that why the dreams started coming back? It had been months since I last had dreams about daddy and mommy. Were they some sort of premonition, foreboding of something sinister afoot?

I shake my head in an attempt to chase the fears away. I’m no longer that helpless and scared little girl who depended on her mummy and daddy for everything. I’m a grown woman now, capable of making men beg on their knees just to have me. I have power now and I refuse to go back to who I used to be. No matter what, I will continue to push forward.

I catch Naomi and Ruth staring at me. I try to relax myself, knowing that they’re waiting for me to begin.

‘It all started with a simple game of hide and seek.’

‘Oh! I love that game! I had a gift for finding people so I was rarely it.’

‘Shhh! Naomi don’t interrupt.’

‘Don’t worry. It’s fine. It’s difficult to hate hide and seek. I loved it too you know, until I found out that we weren’t really playing a game. We were really trying to hide from daddy hoping that he would never find us.’

I can already guess at the images Ruth and Naomi have formed in their mind. Why else would a mother and daughter hide from their father if not for abusive reasons? Do they really understand how deep it went? Are they able to picture the beatings, the hatred, the pain? It’s one thing to paint a picture, it’s another to feel the pain. Will they look at me differently if I tell them a little bit about my past? About daddy and all he put me through? Yeah. I think they should know. I want them to understand my actions a bit more.

‘He didn’t just beat me you know.’ My laugh comes out awkwardly. I don’t even know why, it seems to just pour out of me, maybe my minds’ attempt to numb the pain I know I still feel in my heart. ‘He has thrown me against the wall, starved me of food, even raped…’

Whoever said, ‘Time heals all wounds’ definitely hasn’t felt or gone through what I have. How much time can even be considered as enough? My tears betray the strength I was trying desperately to summon through my laughter and within seconds, both Naomi and Ruth are holding me.

‘Nothing! I did nothing to deserve all that hate and pain from him! For years! Years I suffered!’

No! This wasn’t the plan. I wasn’t supposed to break down. The plan was to give them a glimpse of what my life was like. Just a glimpse so they’ll understand to an extent why I sometimes wake up at night screaming in a cold sweat.

‘We can’t imagine what you went through.’

‘Yes! None of you can! It’s impossible!’

‘And I don’t doubt that for a second but you can’t continue like this.’

‘He is my father but he never once acted like it! He’s a monster!’

‘Yeah. Only a monster can do such a horrible things to people he calls family, to anyone really!!!’ I hear Naomi say just as her arms encircle mine, I do the same and then Ruth joins in. Holding on to them like they’re my life line and in a way, they are.

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