I remember a time when he would come home.
And i remember that, you must stand at the door and welcome him home like you are happy, don't forget to be happy.
Tea was always ready and the house would be clean and tidy because it should be, you wanted it to be, and woe betide you if it wasn't.
And then, when tea was finished, he wanted his beer and the tv on
and now you mustn't talk because you shouldn't.
So the kitchen was tidied and everything was just so..
you mustn't forget to make it just so.
But you know the time is coming where the beer is all gone and the match would be lost and the anger would flare.
That's when you want to become invisible but you can't
because he needs to punch something and well..
you're as good as any door.
So after the room was cleaned up and the broken glasses and lip was put away, it was time for bed..
And you can't pretend to be asleep because that doesn't count
as a no.
Thankfully there was a little glow in the dark star on the ceiling you could look up at and wish upon it that you weren't in this room, in this bed right now. I think the people who lived there before left it behind. I knew that if i moved i would take it with me.
And the need to run was immense. But there was no where to go and nobody knew and, after all, it was the way of things, don't complain.. it could be worse.. remember that.. it could be worse.. he said.
I often dreamed of a tiny little bed all of my own with fairy lights and my own place to put my books, but that would have to wait as now is not the time to think of such a silly notion. Stupid ***** that you are.
And so each and every night, i painted the roses red.. so i didn't loose my head.
And running wasn't really an option because, contrary to popular opinion, that is harder than you think.. after all... this was normal and... this is just what happens and... this is just one of those things and... **** it up buttercup, now clean the house again you stupid ****.
And in the gaslighting, which burned very bright, you would have enough of a glow to paint the roses red.
Perfectly red, everyday they would have to be red.
And life carried on for years like this and my friend, the little glow in the dark star and i were the only ones who knew what 'behind closed doors' really meant.
Inevitably children were born into this world of mine, and you can't say no to no contraception, because the need to see his fertility bloom was the most important thing in the world.
But i was indeed blessed with more than an armful of joy.
And so we all painted the roses red and in time, we all wondered, which one of us would loose our head.
We moved house and the years passed as they normally do with various reasons to run and threats that made us stay.
But you never run.. because now he might **** you all,
and not just you.
If it was just you, you wouldn't have minded so much...
So we moved house and the little glow in the dark star came along too. It was placed near the light fitting over the bed and i put my finger to my lips and said 'shhh' as i stuck it to the ceiling.
But we knew.
And so, for a few more years you carry the weight of the world, the little secret, and a heart full of love, and begin painting the roses red with your children.
And now you definitely can't leave and you can't run because they might loose their heads and now, now you might have to watch.. while you get to keep yours.
And then a tide turned, well, four tides turned, and damage was being done that my love could not repair.
And that is when i had to be brave and i had to do what i should have done many years before.
I was conditioned to suffer along side and this was normal.
Not that any of that is an excuse.
And although i knew it wasn't right, i knew it was normal.. for me.
A contradiction if ever there was.
But my love for my children will always be far greater, greater than my love for any one else could ever be. Even if it was their flesh and blood.
And him saying we couldn't leave now did not count as a no.
But we didn't leave.
We made him pack his things and go. We had found safety in numbers, we all stood and were counted, we exposed only what secrets needed to be told.
The rest we keep for ourselves.
He never said sorry and he left. And never came back.
So we kept some of the red paint and we added orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. And we painted all of our roses any **** colour we wanted to. Including ourselves.
And I took down the little glow in the dark star, it had seen far too much and probably needed therapy :o)
And we will live happily forever after.
Oh so very simplified. All i know is, you do what you have to to get by, and when the tide turns.. do what you must.