I watched tribes of strangers meander past our new flat; they couldn’t see me through the fancy net curtains. It had only been three days since I’d promised to love and cherish my Alistair Parish – the honeymoon wasn’t over but I was alone. Al had gone-a-hunting with his mates; hunting the man who’d burst into this beautiful new bliss while he was at work, and raped the bride.
He called my mother to stay with me but I sent her to the supermarket for milk; she was driving me insane. Al’s face had twisted in disgust, and when his friends had shown up with information he was gone in a flash; that’s what I call insider trading – if they had anything to do with it there would be no court case. Not once in 24 hours had he looked at me and seen me.
‘Pain,’ my mother said, ‘he’s in terrible pain, for you.’ I knew that I had grown another skin – the one that smelled of rape.
Now I’m in no-man’s land, waiting for the searchlights to find me; I am sterile and contagious and thoroughly examined. I can’t bear to see Al’s face, can’t meet his eyes. My mother won’t be long; it took ages to persuade her to leave me, that I’d be fine for ten minutes. Knickers and purse, that’s all I’ll need, knickers and bag – no time for notes. Take the phone and call them, Oh God, please don’t let them worry but I just can’t stand this anymore.
…and I’m flying for the train station, running with saliva mounting in my mouth, making me want to heave but I won’t stop, I won’t stay, I won’t cry. There’s a train roaring across the bridge.