It was a cold day on the common so we huddled into the cafe by the bandstand for a cuppa to warm our cockles. As I sat down I had no idea what to expect. I had never done anything like this before. When I decided to write this album about other people’s story’s I hadn’t really considered what I would be like to actually meet with those people and have them tell me their deepest darkest secrets… And boy did I unknowingly dive in head first!

She was my first subject and she is without a doubt one of the most inspiring, positive, strong, caring and forgiving women I have ever had the pleasure of meeting…

I could tell she was nervous but she stayed very calm and kept smiling. She began by telling me all about her farther and his gambling addiction that eventually led him to leave her mother, her and her elder brother and sister when she was only very young. There were many tales of heartache and poverty that had already left me feeling like my problems paled in comparison.

As she sat in front of me a strong, 34 year old mother of a loving 15 year old son I never could’ve imagined what she was about to tell me next…

For the sake of her I will revert from telling too much detail but it was a terrible story of child abuse. Unknown to her mother her new partner was not a very nice man at all. Terrible things happened to her and her siblings and as she told me the details it was all I could do not to cry. As I said, I had never done anything like this before and I felt that I should remain strong and allow my subjects to be the one to poor their hearts out. I didn’t want her to feel like she had to hold back. The abuse went on for years until one day her mother walked into the bathroom and saw her lay there in the bath, shoulder to toe in bruises (he was always very clever not to leave marks on their faces). He was immediately kicked out and they thought they would never have to see him again.. but one day when she was 18; She had ordered a taxi home from her mothers house (she had moved out at a young age to live with her boyfriend as they were deeply in love) and when she got into the cab and said hello to the driver she realised he had a very familiar voice. She was only 4yrs old at the time of the abuse so she took a little while to recognise him but when she did her heart began to race. He never said a word about who he was so she played along as if she didn’t recognise him. She made pleasantries for the entire journey out of fear. Then as he stopped the car to drop her off she got out and just before she slammed the door and ran off she said: “I know who you are”. She got home and called her sister, they decided to call the police and try to get him arrested but she was too late. He had vanished, left his job his home, everything. They were desperate to bring justice to their lives and felt they had been given a chance but they searched and searched and they never managed to find him. It was only a few years before that that her and her siblings had openly talked about the abuse. She was so young that her brother and sister had not spoken with her about it at all as they had hoped she didn’t remember any of it. In turn she never brought it up as she was young and although the memories were vivid in her mind some details were hazy and she couldn’t remember how involved her siblings were. They were trying to protect her from the truth.

I couldn’t believe all that she had been through… but to my dismay the story continued. As I mentioned earlier she had moved in with her boyfriend at the age of 17 and at 19 she fell pregnant. It was then that her boyfriend began to show signs of physical abuse. As the pregnancy developed it got worse and worse. By some miracle she gave birth to a healthy and happy baby boy and in her hospital bed she vowed to herself that she would leave if it continued, one more heavy hand when she returned with her baby and she would leave him forever… And she did just that. She took her baby boy and a few clothes and headed for a women’s refuge. She had to live there for 2yrs, shut off from the world. She had to change her sons name and the only contact she had with her family was from a red phone box once a week. It was a hard time for her and she said that there was so much pain there, a lot of it to do with drugs. But it was still a sanctuary for her, a place where she and her son could be safe. They moved out of there after 2 years and moved on with their lives. A few minor set backs over the years but 15 years on and she is happy, healthy and free from any abuse with a loving son who has never had to suffer as she did. She ended her talk with me by telling me that she hoped I didn’t pity her now. She is a proud women and she has forgiven those men for what they did. She told me she didn’t want me to think that she had carried the pain her whole life… there was in fact a long history of abuse in her family and she was always determined to break the chain…

Those words stuck with me for a long time.

Please click the link below to listen to her song.

Advertisements