The day I left home started badly. With a punch in the face and almost broken nose to be exact.
One of the many lies I was told throughout my childhood was that my half brother and sister’s father was mine as well. Growing up I just felt there was something amiss, that he didn’t love me quite as much. When I was about 12 I confronted my parents about it and was told a pack of fibs. They said he wasn’t on my birth certificate because he was in prison when I was born. Of course he loved me just as much as the others, what a silly girl I was.
They had an on again off again relationship, he would flit in and out of our lives often going AWOL for big chunks of time. He was an alcoholic and emotional bully but he never (usually) raised his fists. He had an horrendous childhood, was the victim of so much abuse himself it really isn’t any wonder he is who he is. Maybe some day I’ll write a post about the terrible things he went through.
To paint you a picture of that time I was 15, and not enjoying myself. We had recently returned to the UK from living abroad for over a year where they start school later than us Brits. This meant I was repeating things I had already done when we were there and ended up really behind when we got home. It was my eighth school (four primary, four senior) and although I was a fairly bright kid all the moving had taken its toll on my education. I was also being bullied but more on that another time.
He had recently lost his job and was feeling the strain of not working, this meant he was drinking even more in the evenings and was in a vile mood in the mornings. The morning I left home started like any other school day, everyone getting ready and rushing around. We had been arguing about something or other and I called him a fat slob. Admittedly I shouldn’t have done, but before I had time to apologise and realise what was happening he leapt out of his chair and punched me in the face. I had so much blood on my white shirt it looked as if I’d been shot.
After a very emotional day I told my mother she had two options: drive me to London to stay with relatives and still have a daughter or try and make me stay and I’d leave anyway. It wasn’t much of a choice, we left for London that evening.
He said I’d be pregnant and living in a council flat by the time I was 18, I got great satisfaction out of proving him wrong. I can’t imagine she thought it was possible to end up losing me later down the track, and have no-one to blame but herself.
Shortly after this incident they split for good, and she told me the truth. He wasn’t my father after all. She put me in touch with my biological dad, who is currently the only family member I have in my life. It’s a shame his wife doesn’t know I exist but more about that another time.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how important it is to be open and honest with your nearest and dearest. Everything I’ve been through goes to show that secrets and lies cause nothing but heartache and drive families apart.