Un-suppressed, volatile, typical-teenage anger bubbled deep within Elle’s chest as she watched her mother get ready for her date. How her mother could bear to be in the same room as the philanderer baffled her (recently, due to peer pressure, Elle often referred to him as the dick-head-led man, or D-H-L man, rarely as her father). Her mother applied some more blush to her cheeks and then applied some lip gloss to her lips and puckered them together. Next she ran a hand through her auburn hair and scrutinised her appearance in the mirror.
Clarissa saw the scowl on her daughter’s face and took a deep breath, smiled then turned to her. “Elle May Williams, why are you frowning like that, you’re going to get wrinkles before you turn fourteen at this rate.”
Perplexed and unable to comprehend why her mother was doing what she was doing, she jumped up and bumbled, “Why? Tell me . . . I don’t understand Mum . . . why?”
“Why what, sweetheart?” Clarissa calmly asked, eyebrows arched.
“Why are you going to dinner with him? He cheated on you so many times, he left you-”
“Correction sweetheart, I asked him to leave.”
“You went through weeks of depression when you found out what he’d done. Please don’t let him take you there again. The last time you went to dinner with him you came back and you were so hurt and upset.”
“That was a while ago, I’m stronger now.”
“Yes, but he hasn’t changed Mum, he’s still the same.”
“He’s your father, Elle, I’m just trying to keep the line of communication open between you and your dad and your sister. She’s younger than you and sometimes I think she doesn’t understand why he doesn’t live with us anymore.”
“Mum, Maddy is the wisest 8 year old that I know and she knows that dad is the biggest dick-head-led man this side of Battersea Bridge and-”
“Whoa, where did that language come from Elle May Williams? I didn’t raise you to be disrespectful, especially towards your father!”
“No, you never disrespect your parents young lady, full stop! And you know better than to use that kind of language. Listen, your father made his choices and he put me, you and your sister through hell because of his selfishness but you know what? I’m alive, I’m beautiful and I have two beautiful daughters who I intend to teach how to respect themselves and not put up with crap and selfish men.”
Apologetic, Elle smiled at her mother.
“There she is, ladies and gentlemen, there’s my beautiful daughter. Come here and give your mama a hug.”
Still smiling, Elle walked into her mother’s open arms and hugged her tightly.
Headphones on, music pumping into her ears, Elle walked past Battersea Park with determined steps towards her friend, Jessica Carmichael’s house. She ignored the joggers in the park, ignored the mothers pushing buggies and the people strolling around – she couldn’t understand why anyone would want to be out in the park in this freezing weather. She increased her pace as a cold wind blew against her, biting into her skin. A podgy, blond, thirty-something year old man jogged towards her; he was wearing a pair of tight shorts and a vest which struggled to contain his hairy chest. Moments away from her, he blew her a seductive kiss, winked at her and slowed his pace to an almost jogging-on-the-spot pace, a lazy smile etched itself onto his flushed perspiring flabby face.
Elle’s blood went cold, she pulled her headphones off, “I’m only thirteen years old you pervert!” She shouted at him as they passed each other.
The man stumbled to a stop; her words unbalanced him. His eyes darted this way and that in search of anyone who had heard the words that now hung accusingly in the air.
“You pervert!” Elle shouted again.
He turned blindly, tripped over his feet and fell forward hitting the pavement hard. Within seconds he had picked himself up and started running down the road.
“That’s right, run you PERVERT! RUN!” Elle shouted at his retreating back.
Shame-possessed, he ran faster and faster disappearing into the Surrey Lane Estates.
Elle pulled her coat tightly around her and continued on her way slightly warmed by the thought that the jogger would think twice before he did that again to some other innocent girl. She pulled her headphones back over her ears, pressed the fast-forward button on her iPod and smiled as one of her favourite songs played. She contemplated turning around and going home but decided against it knowing that she would only be bombarded by more text messages if she didn’t show up. She was going to Jessica’s house because Jessica had sent her several text messages begging her to come over and help her pick out an outfit for a party she was going to tomorrow. They’d been friends for ten of Elle’s thirteen years and on-again-off-again best friends for nine of those ten years. Elle needed to vent about her dad and the negative effect she thought he had on her mother – Jessica was her occasional sounding board; she listened to her, calmed her down and voiced the negative things Elle thought about her dad. Hearing the negative things she thought, spoken by someone else, gave her affirmation that she was right to think them. Jessica was the one who had coined the phrase ‘Dick-Head-Led’ in reference not only to Elle’s father but to all philandering men and insisted that Elle use it. The first time Jessica had said it a few weeks ago, Elle hadn’t quite understood what she meant and had watched with confusion etched on her face as Jessica had laughed at her own joke. When her laughter subsided, Jessica had gone on to explain using some new words she had discovered in her Dictionary/Thesaurus that a dick-head-led man or a D-H-L man was a womanizer, a Lothario, a man who allowed his genitals to lead him and make major life-changing, reprehensible decisions for him. Decisions which ultimately, disastrously ruined his life!
“Here have a sip of this Elle.”
Elle took the glass from Jessica and sniffed its contents; it didn’t particularly smell of anything alcoholic. “What is it?”
“A vodka martini, my mum’s started drinking them in the morning now. She mixes it up in large quantities then stores it in bottles that she hides in the shed. She puts it in a glass with orange juice then sloshes it back like it’s some wonder drug. The stupid cow thinks I don’t know she drinks like a fish.”
Elle put the glass down on the kitchen counter, “I told you before, I don’t like alcohol Jess. Do you have any fruit juice?”
“Sure, we have some in the fridge, help yourself. Are you hungry?”
“No, I ate dinner with Maddy before I left home.” She walked over to the fridge, opened it and pulled out a carton of apple juice.
“So why did mother-dearest go out with the dick-head? Don’t tell me she’s thinking of taking him back? No, please, no, don’t tell me she’s going to take that piece of scum back? My mum says your dad has practically dipped his wick into every ink pot this side of London and who’s to say how many damsels he’s done it to in the States!”
Elle thought of her mother’s earlier rebuke, she suddenly felt uncomfortable and shrugged her shoulders, “Let’s talk about something else.”
“Don’t call him that anymore-”
“Why? Have I touched a sensitive Daddy-nerve? Come on, loosen up, are you sure you don’t want a sip of this? It will help to loosen you up.” Jessica slurred.
Elle, swept her hair off her face and frowned at her friend, “I said I don’t drink so let’s talk about something else Jessica or I’m going home.”
“The sweeping of her graceful hand through her hair, the frown on her pretty face, here she is ladies and gents, my Best Friend Forever, the product of a once-upon-a-time, Oscar nominated best supporting actor, Neil R. T. Williams, a man so desperate for fame he would sell his soul to anyone and a song-writing mother, Clarissa Williams (nee Stapleton), who put up with so much bullshit from him she stinks of-”
“Look, from now on watch what you say about my father and don’t you ever say anything rude about my mother!”
The silence was cold as it was harsh, it balanced precariously on a low wall, on one side of the wall stood ‘change the subject’ and on the other side ‘continue to goad’. Not wanting to be alone Jessica pushed her drunken angry irritation out of the way and made a quick choice, “Loosen up Elle, I was only joking, gosh, don’t take things so seriously, loosen up, chill out, let’s talk about something else then BFF.”
“You know sometimes I don’t know why we’re still best friends, you can be such a pain when you drink. One minute you’re a mean-drunk then you become a bitchy-drunk or a crying-drunk. You need help, I mean serious help Jess.”
“What can I say, I’m my mother’s daughter, a bad tree can only produce what it knows, its DNA,” she dramatically waved her hands up and down her body, “ta-dah, bad fruit.”
“That’s rubbish, you can change if you really want to, you have the choice, you don’t have to be like her, stop drinking and get help, I’ll go with you to your GP if you want-”
They both turned towards the back door as it suddenly opened and Jessica’s mother, Eloise Carmichael, stumbled into the kitchen, she stood by the door holding the door handle and swaying (as if to some imaginary music).
“There’s a good girl, get inside darlin’, same time next week then,” a man said, his cockney voice abrasively rough as he pushed her further inside and closed the door behind her.
The girls didn’t see his face; all they glimpsed was the dirty yellow sleeve of the road sweeper’s jacket he wore. Eloise turned to say something spontaneously sexy to the man and frowned in disappointment at the empty space and the closed door she saw. She blinked a few times, as if by doing so he would magically reappear. Her blonde hair was messy and she had dirt marks on her face. Her silk dressing gown was partially opened and it was clear that she was wearing only a skimpy, flimsy, very low cut camisole negligee beneath it.
“Mum, what the hell are you doing? Who was that? Why are you dressed like that?” Jessica screamed in disgust.
Shocked, Eloise turned swiftly to her daughter, saw her daughter’s friend and hiccupped; her guilt was quickly smothered in an elaborate smile, “Jess-si-ca! Hello Jess-si-ca! Hello, El-le-May! How are you, El-le-May? How’s your mother, El-le-May? How’s your sister, El-le-May? How’s your-”
“Stop it Mother! What were you doing in the garden? Who was that man? I thought you were out. Shit, shit shit! This is not happening right now, this cannot be bloody happening right now!”
“Jessica Carmichael what have I said about swearing in this house? No swearing allowed, swearing is banned from within these four walls,” she giggled as she pointed at the walls. Unaware that her dressing gown had fallen open and the belt dangled in front of her she took a step forward, tripped on the belt, fell onto her hands and knees then collapsed onto the floor. The girls stared at her as she lay motionless on the floor.
“Is she okay?” Elle whispered.
“Who gives a bloody shit,” Jessica replied.
Eloise Carmichael vomited, grunted, then turned onto her side, “Jess-si-ca, no swearing in this house. There are rules that you have to-”
“To hell with you and your rules you drunk! I hate you! You make me wish I was dead!” Jessica screamed at her mother.
“Stop it Jessica,” Elle scolded. She intermittently held her breath not wanting to breathe in the smell of the vomit as she helped Jessica’s mother to sit up then propped her against a kitchen counter and gave her a glass of water.
Almost, but not quite demented, Jessica grabbed Elle’s arm, pulled her out of the kitchen and up the stairs. “I need you to help me decide on my outfit, after all that’s why you came over BFF, ignore the drunk.” A cold calmness seemed to have engulfed her as she stomped up the stairs with Elle in tow.
“We should call your dad Jessica we can’t just leave her in the kitchen like that, she might-”
“If she can drink like a fish and act like a bitch in heat all the time then she can deal with the consequences like a dog and sit in her own vomit, my dad feels the same.” Jessica said as she playfully pushed Elle into her bedroom, slammed the door and turned her radio on – loud.
Later, when Elle had gone home, Jessica sat at the desk in her room and logged onto her computer. Her heart thudded with excitement as she typed some words that opened up doors and penetrated firewalls which gave her access to a secret chat room; her hands shook as she read the words already written.
Shy boy 1: Had a hell day today, feel like shit. Got bullied at school, can’t tell anyone.
I’m Unhappy: No one understands, no one cares, I hate pretending that everything’s okay when everything isn’t okay.
Unhappy 2: I hate that too. My dad is having another affair and my mum is in denial again. She keeps shouting at everyone 🙁 We pretend we don’t know what’s going on and I hate it.
G-N: I hate that, why can’t your mum deal with him and give everyone else a break?
Unhappy 2: I wish she would but she won’t 🙁
Li-sa 5: I hate everything and everyone, my school is full of bitchy girls and I want out of everything. The cutting isn’t working anymore. I don’t feel the release I used to feel. I need to escape the pain cos it’s driving me mad.
Shy boy 1: I hear you Li-sa 5, I need to end things soon, can’t take much more.
Unhappy 2: How are you going to do it?
Shy boy 1: Fly off a bridge, go out in style.
Li-sa 5: Someone’s knocking on my door; I bet it’s my mum’s boyfriend trying to cop a feel again. I wish I could kill him then myself.
Shy boy 1: Why don’t you? Kill him then you can leave this world feeling good about something!
Jessica joined the conversation, she typed –
Jessy James 6: My mum’s sloshed again, she really embarrassed me in front of my best friend. She is crap. I hate her. I wish I was dead. I want to die!!!
Unhappy 2: Don’t worry JJ6, we’ll get there soon. We’re all going to get out of this world, on our terms and to hell with everyone else 🙂 UREDRUMU!!!
Thirty minutes later, Jessica went to bed happy that she wouldn’t have to put up with things for much longer. She and her friends in the suicide chat room had a pact – they would soon escape their pain and find the freedom they craved.
A few minutes later, she heard her mother tapping on her door asking her to unlock the door so they could talk. She ignored her, turned over and went to sleep.
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Read Chapter 1 of Blood Borne Connections – https://gladyslawson.wordpress.com/