Strong woman
A woman of substance with a strong spirit

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves!

Matthew 7:15, the Bible

… that expensively dressed lady – uses a stolen phone and moonlights as a call girl:

… that business-like man – drives a car financed by drug money:

… that respected surgeon in a major hospital – beats the crap out of her husband:

… that outspoken governor in your child’s school – is the neighbourhood’s peeping tom:

… that nice butcher’s wife who’s always friendly – is a people’s smuggler:

… that beautiful little girl who attends every Chelsea game with her dad – is a secret Arsenal supporter:

… that motherly woman who is always immaculate and poised – smokes weed in her garden when no one is home:

… that friendly delivery man – is a rapist.

Never judge a book by its cover, or maybe judge away…

The following story is based on real-life events – names/places have been omitted to protect privacy and identities.

***

You took me to a high-end jewellery shop. As I flicked through the catalogue and looked at the prices in awe, you glanced at me with an acknowledging look and a smile. “You can have any design you want my love,” you said.

I was seventeen and had only just met you. You left mum when she was pregnant with me because you said the relationship wasn’t working. She moved away.

For years you searched for me, and any attempts to contact mum through her family were unsuccessful. When I was twelve my mum told me about you. I wasn’t interested, I was angry at you for abandoning us; and besides, I had a lovely supportive dad who loved and treated me as his own.

However, as I got older my anger subsided and just before my seventeenth birthday, I came looking for you.  It was daughter-father love at first sight.  We cried as we hugged.  No words needed to be said – there’d be time for that.  We met frequently and you bought me anything I wanted.

“Nothing can compensate for the last seventeen years, but it’s a start,” you said.  I was elated.

Since you lived far away, we decided to meet every three weeks for dinner and every two months for a sleepover. My parents agreed – you seemed genuine and regretful of the time we’d lost.  You wanted to be there for the next part of my life – the graduation, the wedding, the grandchildren etc.  I didn’t want you to miss that either. I loved you even though I didn’t grow up knowing you.  You loved me too.

Sometimes though, you appeared cold and distant, I assumed it was nerves, and hoped in time you’d warm up to me.  One afternoon I decided to come to your house unannounced. I wanted to surprise you. When you opened the door, you looked different, like someone high on something and/or drunk.
“Hi, dad.”
“What the fuck!! What you doin’ ere?” I was surprised by your reaction and coldness, but I smiled anyway.  Your wife came to the door, she looked like a drunk Russian peasant.

“You shouldn’t just turn up at people’s home!” she fumed.
“This is my dad’s home; I think I can come as I please and …”
“NO! You can’t!!” you bellowed. I was confused and devastated at the realisation that you might have been faking affection the whole time. The glassy-eyed bewildered monster before me was not the man I’d come to love and respect.  I fled.

I got home in floods of tears and narrated, between deep sobs, the incident to my mother. She hugged me tight, “people are messy baby,” she whispered. The hurt in her eyes was as stark as the stabby pain in my heart. I never wanted to see you again.

Three weeks later, you crawled back in and apologised profusely blaming it on some medication you were taking. When I asked what medication, you dodged that question and wanted to know when we could rekindle our father-daughter romance. I wasn’t desperate for a dad, I had one, but I wanted to give you another chance largely because you were my biological father. In my naivety, I wanted to understand why you behaved the way you did and find a way to help you.

You suggested a weekend away. I readily agreed. My parents were sceptical, but I assured them the incident was a one-off and resolved.  When dad asked about the incident, I explained it away – I lied for you.  Reluctantly, they let me come to meet you.

We had an amazing weekend.  On the last night after dinner, I was tired after a long day of rollercoasters and sightseeing. You wanted to watch the sunset in my room. I agreed because my room had the perfect view. The sun was due to set at 10.10 pm according to BBC weather, I didn’t think I could wait that long because I was unusually tired after dinner.  “Don’t worry honey, I’ll lock the door behind me,” you said as you kissed my forehead and wished me a good night.

As soon as my head hit the pillow, I was out cold into blackness.  At some point in my unconscious abyss, I felt a weight on me: I felt a weird sensation between my legs: I heard heavy and laboured breathing: I smelt alcohol or stale fish.  I was in a nightmare I couldn’t wake myself from.

The next day, I woke up feeling groggy and my eyelids felt like lead.  I was half-naked and in pain.  My mind was as blank as a canvas.  My mind couldn’t comprehend what had happened, but my body felt broken.  There were blood stains on the bedsheet: nothing made sense.

I joined you at the breakfast room and found you munching away a full English breakfast. You avoided my gaze as we ate in deafening silence; it was then I realised what had happened. 

After breakfast, you went to pack your stuff, I ordered an uber and left, leaving you and my belongings behind.  I was sure mum would understand.

Her hands flew to her mouth the minute I stepped into our house.  I was a sight.  I’d cried all the way home.  I told my parents everything …… well… as much as I could remember and how I felt.  We went to the police and reported you.  Dad was on a murderous rage for days, he wanted to kill you with his bare hands, “his life is not worth yours,” mum told him.

You violated my body and shattered my trust. The physical wounds will heal but the psychological wounds will take longer, maybe even years, but I will heal because my real parents are on my side.

You may have shattered my trust; you may have broken my body, but you can never kill my spirit.

***

If the issues raised in this article causes you distress, help is available

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Photo credit: Kool Shooters – pexels.com

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