I have been thinking a fair bit about my parents recently. I have not spoken to either of them in years now, how long? I really dont know, four maybe five maybe more.
I come from a somewhat dysfunctional family. My parents split when I was still too young to remember it all. Oh I heard the stories. My dear father was only small, but had a temper that would snap whenever he saw fit. I was told he threw my mother downstairs when she was pregnant with my sister. He was prone to a friday night drink and he could never hold it. Then he got home, no money left from a good drinking session and gambling. He never could pick a winner. So he had little influence really on my infant years. I saw him every saturday afternoon for a few hours, if he was in the country. We could go months without seeing him when he worked abroad.
When the split happened, for obvious reasons, my mother took up with a man 3 doors away. We knew his kids, we played with them for gods sake. He was married, obviously, but that didn’t stop her, or them. The joke is/was, he was/is also a violent bastard. I have lost count of the times we sat on the stairs listening at night to the arguments which always ended with him smacking my mother. She had a mouth on her and never knew when to quit. I am not condoning anything here, just explaining. Its no wonder I swear like I do, I was well trained!
One particular night, when this new relationship was still in its young days, my father turned up, drunk, or close as, and him and my soon to be step father set about each other with knives, fuckin pussies, whats wrong with fists? are they reserved for women and children only? They both got locked up and fined. Served em right, great example huh.
When they finally got married, my step father had a win on the football pools. £11,000 was a lot back then. The first thing they did was move house. Very middle class [inverted snobs, the pair of em] and that when life turned bad for me.
I hated the man with a vengence. I never missed a chance to taunt him. I could run fast in thos days, lol. He worked shofts down the coal mines. Strong bastard, but not too quick. I would come in from school and turn my music up full tilt when he was sleeping off the night shift. Yes, I was a little shit half the time. I often got grounded. With a few bruises to show for my troubles. But I would still climb out my bedroom window and piss off and stay out all night.
Anyway, theres some background. I dont want sympathy or pity, that was life and thats how it was. I just accepted it.
One night, after a bad beating, I decided it was time to leave. I always did a paper round so was always out early. I knicked some cash and some smokes and a few bits of food and did a runner. Me and a mate of mine were avid egg collectors, so I knew my teritory well. A few miles away, along the embankment of the canal, was a good place to hide. I got there, made a fire and settled in for the long haul. Problem was, that night it pissed it down [rained hard] and I was soaking wet and cold. I was 11 and a long way from home. I knew there was a house close by and used the outhouses there for shelter. The old fella who lived there found me asleep the following morning and called the coppers [police]. I did another runner, lol. Good runner in those days. The coppers found me eventually and took me home. I told my mother and step father to fuck off and said there was no way I was going back there.
So my dear father said he would take me in. So off I went. New home, new village, new trouble. I never could stay out of trouble. I got in with the bad boys [smoking always lead you to the bad crowd, they always had smokes]. I was expelled from 2 schools. Always in fights, not just with kids either. I was used to y step father and teachers held no fears. One even went for me with a metre ruler that he used on the blackboard. Mug!
Anyway, after yet another fight with my old man, I legged it again. I loved the headlock, I was good at it. My old man, he bit me and scratched me, lol. How can you respect someone like that?
At the time I was in bother with the law. I had a social worker, my own!! and she found me foster parents. Rcih people who got that way fostering kids. They had three kids of their own, then two long term kids in care, twins and me, a screwed up teenager. I got taken back there one night by the local police and thought that was me, on my way. But they stuck with me [for the money]? I left school at 15, they just could not cope with me. I found a small job, crap pay, but some money was better than none. Then got arrested [again] and sent to a secure unit for two weeks and that changed me. I hated it, completely hated it. I was like a caged animal. I could not get out quick enough. I was in court and got a hefty fine to pay, 100 hours detention, 100 hours attendance and bound over the keep the peace, or it was lock up time again.
Around this time I found glue sniffing. Man that shit was good. Took me away to a place I didn’t care what happened and knew nothing of it either. I was addicted to it. Being in care, you had regular medicals. The local doc asked me if I had tried sniffing petrol [no, not when the cars moving] and that gave me something else to sniff, lol. No glue? go siphon some petrol [was all leaded in those days]. So a full time glue sniffer and part time petrol sniffer and then found dope and other drugs like speed and poppers. Oh and I found I liked to drink as well, lol. I could drink most people under the table. Thats no boast, no brag, it was just how it was. So drink and drugs did not mix that well, but I got by. I also found I had inherited my dear fathers temper. I spent a long long time hating myself. I took a vow, never to hit a woman and I have stuck to that vow to this day. Fuck, I have been close, I have wanted to, but somehow I stopped myself. I have not stuck to much in my life, but that is one thing I have and I am proud of it.
Anyway, stuck in a small village, no jobs, no prospects, life was only going on way, down! We were all the same, nothing to do but drink, smoke, do whatever drugs we had, sniff whatever and get into bother. How else do you fund your lifestyle with no money? I never did house or people, but did plenty of offices [petty cash always available]. The local coppers knew who we were and who did what and when. Thats village life. You cant fart without someone knowing about it. So we had to be smart, always one step ahead. But that was life and you just got on with it.
But I got the chance to get out of it. I grasped it with both hands and moved to where I live now. That was what saved me I have come to realise. Without that, I know where I was headed, one way ticket. B ut I was lucky, I got an escape route and took it. One of my old mates is dead now. The LSD did it for him. A couple have been in and out of prison and a few I have no idea what happened to them. Its all second and third hand information, so you never know how reliable it is.
So what the hell has all this got to do with my parents really?
Well, although I didn’t know it at the time, it was my mother who instigated my move north. I have thought a lot about that. I was angry, very angry when I found out, but now, I am not so sure. In some ways, she saved me, from myself more than anything. She is not and never was a good mother. Selfish cow most of the time, but, I still have her to thank for getting me out of hell. My father, I dont know, presume he is ok. I went to see him about 8-9 yrs ago. He opened the door and looked at me. He said, and I quote,
” I know your face from somewhere, let me try and place you”
I was somewhat lost for words. I told him I was his fuckin son! I went in, had a cuppa, talked about nothing and left. Not heard from him since and dont want to really. I get second hand info from my brother now and then.
But also one thing that I have discovered is that mental health problems seem to run in the family.
My uncle saw a shrink for yrs. Rich man, beautiful wife, own business, yacht, but never enough it would seem. I lived with him for 3 months when I first moved up here. I worked on his house and office and ended up staying.
My brother recently had a nervous breakdown. He is stupid and stays with a wife who beats him up when she feels like it. She is a real psycho when she refuses to take her meds. I would have broken my vow by now if with her, for sure. But he endures her and a son who has Aspergers [recently diagnosed at 10 yrs old].
My little, big sis, had some severe mental health issues in her teens. Various suicide attempts, bad relationships, bad drugs and time in the nut house. She has found a good man now and he is so laid back he is almost horizontal. He is good for her and for once she seems happy.
I have just had a horrendous year with depression. Only now am I coming out of it. I have had a very good psychologist helping me and for now, I am doing ok. I want to stay that way if possible. But with all that history, is it any wonder I am not of completely sound mind, lol. Oh I can laugh at much of it now. I have a very tollerant partner [I will tell you about her some day] and a beautiful granddaughter who lifts me everytime I see her and a step son [I regard him as my own, we are good mates] who is doing ok. Good job, good partner, gorgeous daughter, lol, so life is not so bad really is it?
But, thinking about all this crap, lead me to write yet another poem that is biographical in some ways [the temper] but not in others [the violence] and just wanted to share that if I may.
Angry Young Man
Anger, passionate anger,
Like ripples on a pond,
Welcome my old comrade,
Of you I am so fond,
You never leave me,
High and dry like love can do,
You are my true soulmate,
We fit so well us two,
Peas in a pod,
Hand in pocket, deep,
Anger, passionate anger,
You are mine to keep,
The mist turns red,
Slowly and then descends,
Like the torrent of a waterfall,
Forever we are friends,
Words flow forth,
Upon a tide of hate it rolls,
Spewing vitriol like acid,
Losing all control,
Anger, passionate anger,
Like a lover in a tryst,
In each other we exist,
Rising, rising, rising,
Fist clenching to a ball,
Ready to strike out at you,
Sneering as you fall,
Just a woman,
Unequal in every way,
Just a woman,
No difference what you say,
Beat you down,
Keep you there,
Trapped in my snare,
Esacape? Its a dream,
So easy to scare,
This is your life,
This is what you chose,
This is your life,
This chapter draws to its close.
My mother, silly cow, is still with my step father, who recently [3 yrs ago] took to beating her up again. She is not blameless. She has been having an affair and he found out. I wont go down there or speak to her while she is with him. I think I would quite possibly kill him if I saw him, or close to. I pity her for chosing a nice house and possessions over happiness. She is miserable, not in good health and she only has herself to blame. But I am starting to feel guilty about all that when I think that she was the one who was responsible for me being here now.
So there ya go, my life in a few paragraphs, lol. Thankfully and hopefully, I can claw my life back from illness and start to live again. But sometimes, we just have to be thankful for very small mercies that come our way.