Ten Pence to Save a Life

Coal to Cat

It’s an odd story really, how she came about. One I feel maybe I should tell. She was tangled within the world I lived in. Yet, she was a survivor.

I lived in a place that wasn’t so special. It was above an adult shop, to be honest, and a little bit of a dive but, I didn’t care. It was close to my friends, close to my work, but more importantly, it was close to my dealer.

I spent my nights tending the bar in one of the local night spots. I had a cat whose name was Sooty and as his name might suggest, he was all black. He was my pal. He didn’t care who I was or what I did. I’d get home at 4am and he’d greet me each time; this pure black thing pouncing on me in the darkened alleyway as I let myself in. I’d have a coffee and a smoke, and maybe watch some television while he sat on my lap sharing whatever I’d brought home. Pizza or kebab; he wasn’t so fussy.

I felt bad leaving Sooty alone each evening as I went to work or saw my friends and decided to get him a companion. Three weeks old; as black as Sooty, and bright blue eyes, Coal came into our life.

The owner of the store I got her from told me he didn’t think she would live. She was the runt of the litter and when she died I could just return the body and get a refund or a replacement.

She wasn’t going to die. I wasn’t going to let her. I took her home and fed her. I kept her with me while Sooty investigated this strange thing that was in his home. She grew, she thrived, and she lived.

One night when I was off work, my dealer came around.  Of course, I had a little bit of a debt and he was asking when I would pay him. We got in a slight argument about it, but I promised I was working the next night and could pay him after work. He seemed happy with that. The acquaintance that was with him, of course, did not seem happy.

I watched as Sooty climbed across the top of my cabinets and got himself stuck as always. I wasn’t sure what he was going to do. Maybe he was going to jump on my dealer’s friend, or maybe he was just going to sit there, I don’t know. But the acquaintance got hold of Sooty and before I knew what happened, slammed him down on the floor. Sooty ran off and my dealer and his thug left.

I found Sooty struggling to breathe. He tried to cry. He lay in my arms and I ran outside desperate to call someone to help me. I had no money. I ran along the street with Sooty in my arms asking anyone if I could borrow a coin so I could call a vet. People ignored me like I was crazy. It was just ten pence. I didn’t have it.

I ran back home wondering if I could find it lying about, but I knew deep down there wasn’t a penny in my home. There wasn’t even food. All my money went in drugs and cigarettes.

I slid down to the kitchen floor and hugged Sooty to me. I cradled him in my arms and felt as his little life slipped away. Sooty died because I couldn’t afford ten pence.

I buried him the next day.

By then, Coal was a few months old. I didn’t want to lose her too. Not like that. Not another victim of my sorry excuse for a life. I did the best thing I could for her. I gave her to the one person who would care the most.

My father.

For fifteen years she lived with him. He refused to give her back. Maybe it was the best thing. She stayed with him until two days ago, when she passed away too.

 

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Turmoil.

Some days, I wish I could confront my father.

Not with the past; even as much as I want to beat him with the question of why until he is down on the floor, and because I want him to be sorry for what he’s done.

What I wish is that I could take hold of him and not say look what you did to me as a child, but rather, look what you’ve done to me in my life now. Today; when everyday is a constant battle. I wish I could give him a day of it.

Most days, I think I have gone somewhere in my mind. Apart from writing, my voice is still missing. I still cannot bear to look in a mirror any more than I have to. I hate the face that stares back at me. It is not mine. I wish I could cut it away.

My father was very nice to me this weekend. He had to have his cat put down. She was actually mine and he came to my house to drop her things off. He was concerned I was okay with her passing.

She had not been my cat for years, but this side of my father is the hard one to deal with. He’s nice and caring and I’m walking over a pit on a broken plank waiting for it to give way.

I have to remind myself of the reason he had my cat. I had to leave everything behind to enable myself to recover from drug abuse, and the reason I was doing that was the because of the life he had given me.

He has thrown me into turmoil once more.

Telling Teddy Is Out

Telling Teddy is out

My new book Telling Teddy, the sequel to the #1 ranked book, Dear Teddy, has now been released on Kindle. Please check it out.

 Mr. Ted. I love you very much.

 I love my Mr. Ted. He is all mine and he is magic. He keeps me safe from the bad man. I hug him all tight. We sit on the floor by the fire. I don’t be allowed to sit on the chairs. I am too evil.

Me and Mr. Ted like to write stories. He tells me what to write. Then I draw the pictures about it and we make it all nice. I put it in my scrap book. My Nan bought me the scrap book. It is big and has lots of pages. It has a car on the front and my name.

Mr. Ted holds the hand of his six-year-old friend as they share more of his deepest secrets. Poignant and bold, the boy’s courageous words are detailed and real. He takes you farther into his abusive life and broken mind as he survives the tangled deceit and lies of his everydays. Sit alongside him. Hear his voice and listen with your heart as he opens it up once more.

His story continues…

 Buy at Amazon.com 

Buy at Amazon.co.uk 

Telling Teddy

Coming Soon

It’s been a few days since I last self-harmed.

That’s not bad for me right now. It had been an almost daily thing that I couldn’t fight and I found that I wasn’t writing. Not really.

I got myself into a schedule and set about the re-writes for Dear Teddy 2. Once I got into it, the self-harm stopped. So far.  In a way, maybe writing helps me dig out what I am trying to reach with knives.

I still don’t have a voice except when I am writing. Perhaps that is the only voice I have right now. It seems an effort to talk. Of course, I have managed to talk to people but I have had to make myself. In these last few days, it has been harder. Today, aside from one person, I have not talked at all.

I put that down partly to a bad night; partly to myself. Perhaps, finishing my book has made me silent today. I have no words. Fifty-two thousand words; two drafts. It has been through edits and proof reading and now to be beta read.

Dear Teddy 2 is done;  to be called Telling Teddy.

I feel the loss of not writing it. That is normal from any writing, I know, but the empty hole I try to fill feels bigger today.

Writing Tell Teddy has certainly been an interesting journey. I think, in ways, I am somewhat numb to it. Aside front the odd chapter the last one, on its own, took more to write than the entire book.

A friend of mine reads it as I go along. Her reactions to what she has read differ. Sometimes, I wonder why she can’t see things my way or why things she read are so black and white. It is because I forget she is looking in through the eyes of a boy. She is not the boy.

She read a chapter a few days ago; one where an official questioned me and then clearly walked away. She said that I got failed a lot and she was sorry for that. I think maybe this is a part that gets misunderstood.

I am glad that I got failed. I’m not sorry they did. To those reading, I could have been saved from a pair of monsters. To me, I would have been taken from my mum and dad; the only family I had.

And while I wished they didn’t do the things they did, they were ‘my’ mum and dad.

Goodbyes.

 

It’s been two days since my brother died. Two days of feeling something strange. I made it to Monday and he didn’t. He stopped walking.

 

I never know how to handle grief, I’ve never been taught. The only thing I know about things that hurt, is to not feel them. I was stood in the queue at Starbucks in Manchester when my father called me. He could barely get his words out as he told me. It’s been a long time since I have heard my father cry, at least I think I have heard him, I am not really sure.

 

I realised as he was talking that I really felt nothing for his grief I detached. I was listening to his words, and my mouth was saying all the right things to him, but I had stepped out of myself. Each sentence that came from his mouth, my mind took it and pointed at his behaviour. When I asked how he was doing, he told me he felt sick and couldn’t believe it. Then he went on to tell me about my other brother and sister being upset by it all. His words were, ‘we are all in a state of shock about it, and we have been just sat all morning,”

 

I got clarity. I saw it right there. I am not a part of that family. He has never allowed me to be. I keep trying and keep getting the door slammed. Maybe it is natural to him to do that now.  Perhaps he has made it natural for me too. I felt nothing for him. Not even pity, he had just lost a son, but he might as well have been a stranger telling me. Perhaps my emotions decided to take their own line of revenge on him. I remember when my daughter passed, she was still born and I understand that it is not the same, my father didn’t attend her funeral, because in his words, “what did it matter, she was never alive.” Those were the words that struck me this Saturday.

 

He’s grieving to the world for a son he had with another woman, a son he denied was his so many times. It leaves me somewhat torn I think. A battle within me, which side of me is going to win out. The man who just lost a brother or the son that feels anger towards his father.

 

I didn’t sleep so well on Saturday night, not because I was upset with my brothers passing, though I am, but because my mind was on the fact, would my father even tell me when the funeral is. Would he allow me to go? Would this be just another event when I am not allowed to be part of the family? When his own father passed away, I did not get told. He was dead and buried and I never heard a word about it.

 

Today I see clear.

 

To my brother. I wish we’d got around to that beer. I’m glad I knew you.

Not Through My Eyes.

ImageToday I sent off a picture of the child I was to someone who is doing a collage of survivors. I didn’t think so much of it until I was staring at his face. Looking at the bruise on his forehead. Looking at the smile on his face that hid the horrors he had endured the night before.

He still smiled.

My therapist used to tell me often to take out a picture of myself when I was a child and to really look at the face and the innocence that’s there. I never really did it. I didn’t see the point. I didn’t believe what she was telling me.  She wanted me to look at him with my eyes and not my parents.

I couldn’t do it.

I hate that child. I agree with what he endured. I wish I could go back in time and push him down the stairs and tell him how much I hate him. Because I do. Some days I hate him so bad that I wish I could reach in and rip him out and throw him away.

I see him through my parent’s eyes. I see that he is unworthy. That he caused his parents to do the things they did to him. That he didn’t fit and wasn’t good enough to be part of anything, including his family. I don’t even see him as a child. I’d never hurt a real child, I’d never hate one, but him, I loathe.

He made his parents that way. They were not abusers until he came into their lives. It was his fault that they did things people would think as awful. Yet they were not awful people. They were good; they just got landed with a child that made them do bad things.

Today I looked at his face and saw him with my eyes.

It was one of the hardest things I have done.

Crazy and Abandoned

Crazy and Abandoned

I’m a sane person trapped in the mind of a crazy guy. I say it often; I feel it always. I’m banging on the bars wishing for someone to let me out, but there isn’t a door.

I’ve retreated. I know I have. I feel it. I stare at the ceiling wondering why. What’s the point? Why should I get up today? Who will notice?

It’s been like this a few weeks now. It has taken me a while to figure it out. I have fought hard to not fall into some pit. My voice has been silent. It still is. I have to make it talk. Every word is forced.

I gave a voice to a child and he has gone. He’s taken most of me with him. It has made me cold. Blank. Nasty to some extent. I know I am doing it, yet I don’t know how to stop it.

I don’t want to talk. It isn’t that I have nothing to say. It is that I don’t see the point in saying. I feel my worthlessness once more. It shrouds me like a dark blanket.

I’m forgetting what I am fighting for.

Abandonment caused this. I can reason. I can tell myself to shut up and deal with it, but my mind isn’t listening. It’s a hard issue to face and to even understand. I’m only just getting it myself.

I’ve learned that it’s a trigger. The slightest abandonment and I am triggered to no end. Anything from a cancelled meet up with friends, to the end of a relationship. It brings out not the feelings of the current situation, but years and years of abandonment. It makes me react bigger than the situation warrants.

It turns every insult back on myself. I have not looked in a mirror for weeks; no more than I have to. I lower my eyes when I pass one. It’s almost done without a thought now.

I cancelled a house party invite because my first thought was, why did they invite me? Necessity? I don’t fit in. There or anywhere, so I didn’t go. That is a chance to see the disappointment of me reflected in the eyes of others avoided.

It’s a slippery slope going backwards, and the sane part of me is digging his feet in and trying to hold on. But I feel the crazy part is going to win out. The child inside. The sad part that doesn’t want to talk anymore.

He got abandoned a few weeks ago. I hacked up my arms and almost got myself hospitalised (see above for overreactions) and now I’ve detached.

I have no tools to come back. No way to look at what happened and not feel every single bit of pain from that and every other moment it brought up and triggered off, like a chain reaction in a mine field.

It is the same lesson time and time again.

Maybe I should just learn it and graduate.

Everyone leaves.