I glanced across at my son who was happily chatting about motorbikes and the riding he did on the weekend when he went with his dad’s house. I could barely stop the yawns from escaping my mouth as he bored me with the subject while I excitedly nodded my head in a faked anticipation for the next riveting description of a track he went on. I adore him so I let him bore me. It was the late afternoon and the sun made his blue eyes sparkle, almost glow, the lighting was perfect, the smells were perfect. He smiled at me as he saw me watching him. I breathed deeply in the warm evening air, it was slightly salted with the air flowing over to us from the beach. The evening sun was slowly setting and it cast a warm orange glimmer over our faces.
We rounded the corner on to the sandy warm beachfront path and walked for a while with the warm sun on our backs. My son was still chattering away, I looked up the beach, the water was invitingly flat. This was when I saw him. He stood waist deep in the water, silhouetted by the sun, his big curly hair surrounding his head, he was shirtless and younger than I remembered but it was definitely him.
I realise I was panicked, my heart racing, my chest tight and my mouth dry. The knot in my throat brewed to the verge of tears.
The sun was getting closer and closer to setting and I knew he could see me. Now I had to leave, we were already past him when suddenly he was out of the water and standing up with a gaggle of fellow middle aged men on a raised veranda on the beachfront. My back to him. My son had stopped talking at my expense as he had sensed my urgency to leave.
It was fight or flight now.
“Nika!” he shouted at me, the sound was familiar, he waited for me to come to him.
I turned to see his smug face beaming at me. I walked over to him, barefoot and furious.
“You have no right to call me to you like that, you have not a single fucking right”
He watched me talk, cocky and confident in front of his friends.
I glared up at him with my hand shielding my eyes from the setting sun as I thought about how the evening was much too beautiful for this.
His friends fell silent watching us both to see what would happen next. My son stood his ground next to me, but I could see in his face that he had no idea what to do, so I eased his hand down by his side. He relaxed a little.
“So child molester, hey?” he said, almost as if he was trying to imply he was proud of the title.
“You sexually abused me for 6 years of my life, you did this, you changed the entire course of my life, you wrote my path before I even had time to make my own, so don’t you dare think you can summon me, let alone talk to me”. I realised I was shouting this at him from the bottom of the stairs as he and his friends stared at me in bewilderment.
People began to gather around as I was practically screaming “FUCK YOU, FUCK YOU, FUCK YOU” . The intent to harm him flowed from my mouth.
He started to babble incoherently at me, somehow implying that it’s me that had the problem, that it was my infatuation with him and that I was harassing him, but I had already turned to leave, fuming and proud that I had stood my ground.
The sun had set and the warmth of the late sunset had faded as the night set in. I folded my arms against my chest to keep me warm as my son and I walked back to our home in silence.
I had barely walked in the front door to tell Batman about my encounter when my son exclaimed “There’s a policewoman here mum!”
I looked out of the curtains and I could hear the woman out the front walking down the path past our car, she looked around all police lady like as I prayed she wouldn’t judge us for the mess that is our yard. She wore a standard police uniform and appeared annoyed. It was night now and she probably was sick of being called out.
I knew why she was there, I caused a scene, people were concerned. Fair enough.
I opened the door and walk onto the front stoop, I smiled at her and she smiled back, she was friendly enough and had a nice vibe.
“You were down at the beachfront earlier and caused a few people to be concerned, the man you verbally attacked called us after you left and wants to press charges for your ‘attack’.”
I was upset, I couldn’t believe it, he was getting me in trouble now? “well this is typical” I blurted out. The policewoman softened as she leaned up against the banister and asked “Could you please tell me your version of events.”
I leant beside her wiping the tears that had formed in my eyes as she watched me with looks of what might be concern on her face. I looked up at the windows to see my husband and children watching us through the lace curtains.
I swallowed bravely and turned around leaning my forearms on the banister. My back facing my family. No longer cold I felt my story bubbling up inside of me, begging to come out, to be heard, to have justice.
It sailed out of my mouth with an ease I had never felt. She listened and watched me intently and quietly before I studied her face to see it change. She was upset and almost squirmed where she stood. She asked me dates, times, places, whose, what, where and whens.
It was then that I realised I was not the one in trouble anymore, she was no longer there for me. With tears brimming her eyes she said “We have to do something”.
My heart felt almost like it would break open, my story, the contents of my being, the pain and struggle almost felt like they would spill out over her, dripping down her in a warm colourful glow. Sweet relief filled my chest instead.
The sweet relief of justice, of strength and power.
I opened my eyes to the morning darkness, my eyes found a 3 year old child with blonde billowing curls standing next to my bed asking me for breakfast. I rolled over to my husband “it’s your turn” and then “I had the weirdest, most amazing dream”.