Assault (occasioning Actual Bodily Harm)

25/2/11  I couldn’t sleep.  I got up to pee.  I noticed the time on the kitchen microwave clock was 1:05, after one when the film should have ended and that it was Aliens he was watching which ended later.  I called him a selfish, inconsiderate drunken sot and switched off the tv he switched back on again.  He said he had been considerate, turning off the light and the volume down on being asked to.  There was only half an hour of the film left, he said.  It was not the film he’d asked to watch.  I accused him of breaking our agreement – we’d made yesterday – of everything off by twelve-thirty.  I was making him miserable or something such, he said.  There was something he said that made me ask, “In my own flat?” may be that I should do what he wanted; and I was accused of abusing him on the basis of its being my flat with power over him like his friends – big oil company man, David and his partner, Jeannette – had in the ménage à trois he’d preferred homelessness to.   I was back by the bed when he came over to abuse the abuser and began pummelling me very hard and continuously on the face.  I couldn’t believe it was happening.  I defended with hands and raising my legs to push him off with feet but wasn’t succeeding.  He was throttling me, a thumb being increasingly pressed into my throat.  I thought I was being killed and didn’t want to be.  I was unaware of what I was doing. In my mind’s eye I saw a prone body and a man on its right facing it I was taking to be my body and my man ie spirit though the man didn’t look like me so much as Terry.  (It could be an image of both, my man letting me see he was in Terry’s person.)  I was thinking ‘I won’t see the body afterwards because I won’t be there to see it.  What will he do then?  I don’t care what he does.  I’ll be gone.’  (I was picking up his thinking unconsciously or he mine, determining that he, thinking it his own, should not kill me but have done something he could not evade  responsibility for or could be made take responsiblity for.) 

He was biting me.  I couldn’t believe he was doing this either and somehow it seemed worse than the throttling.  He bit me on my right hand, which I think he took to bite, on the upper left arm and right thumb I thought he was trying to bite through the tip of.  I cried weakly to the ceiling for help, hoping the upstairs neighbour would hear, alerted by raised voices earlier, but without much hope.  I said I was over seventy; he shouldn’t be doing this and could feel the trickle of blood. 

He said his grandfather was over seventy but hygienic.  Sitting on the edge of the bed I felt calm but not wanting to incur more violence.  He’d irrevocably done something bad we couldn’t undo.  He said I should shower every day.  (He did.)  The kitchen cupboard was filthy.  He hadn’t mentioned that before.  I knew the one he meant.  It was an open cupboard with improvised shelving near the water heater that only a jar of honey and any opened bottle of red wine were kept in.  I agreed it was dirty and had thought to clean it but hadn’t got round to it.  The hob was dirty.  (We had agreed day before if he thought it dirty, or wanted to wash up dishes, to do it, and take down the recycling when he left in the morning.  He hadn’t.)  I wouldn’t repaint the room as he suggested.  Worse, I’d refused to do volunteer work to improve my social skills when he’d said I should.  The irony of that escaped me as I was focused on his thinking I should do whatever he said.  Worst, I questioned him.  Can’t I question you? I asked.  I’d mentioned his mother as shouldn’t, though it was he who’d initially brought her up as abuser.  (I don’t think I pursued this subject, out of fear: that he used with me the argument she used on him, that his anger was his to deal with, thus washing her hands of any responsibility for having caused.  She lives in Lincoln whose police had contacted him for making an abusive phone call to her.)  He referred to the sandwich he’d bought for his lunch as hygienic.  “It doesn’t improve the immune system,” I said, having another time told him mothers let their children eat food from the floor to help develop immunity.  From his expression, he hadn’t taken that on board.   “You’re a disgrace, an animal,” he accused.  It was he, I thought, who’d behaved like one, imputing himself to me characteristically.  “You’re pitying yourself,” he said.  “No.  I pity you.”   “Don’t pity me.”  OK, I won’t, I decided.  I was trying to avoid further attack without lying, without simply agreeing with whatever he said.  “I wouldn’t’ve hit you if you were a woman.”  “I am a woman.  Why didn’t you go to the hostel?”  “I was comfortable here,” or something such he said.  I’d made him too comfortable.  I wanted to wash my face but he wouldn’t let me in case I went for the police, so kept his body between me and the door while he collected his things to leave, thankfully.  If I went to the police, he said he’d say I’d made sexual advances on him.  He didn’t use the word, advances; I’m paraphrasing.  (He’d told me of an earlier time, when he and a friend had got drunk, the friend had tried to fuck him but he’d stopped it.  So?  He’d stopped it.  Where was the big deal?)  I asked him to leave the keys, which he tossed onto the duvet cover.  (He’d pushed the keys of the flat from David and Jeannette to them over a restaurant table, preferring homelessness.  He was repeating that repudiating gesture.)  He went through the door and I crossed to it.  I should see a doctor, I said, thinking I’d need stitches.  I was trying to see if I could live with somebody, I considered.  “You were using me.”  “You were using me too.  It’s only a rationalisation,” of what I might’ve been doing.  He said I reminded him of a family member who’d abused him.  “Your mother?  Stepfather?”  “A family member.  Do you have Aids?”  “No.  Do you?”  He wanted me to wash my face.  I looked at it in the bathroom mirror and thought it better not to.  He was going to do it, pushing my head down into the sink.  He’d be too rough.  “I’ll wash it!”  He let me, taking away the green towel I dried it with.  I didn’t understand why.  Having advised me against living with John or anybody else because I couldn’t do it.  I don’t recall the exact words but the meaning was I wasn’t fit for or up to it.  I peeked round the jamb to make sure he had gone before going out in gown and barefoot to a neighbour who did open his door.  I asked him to phone the police but he said he couldn’t find his phone, that it was maybe stolen.  I didn’t believe him.  No other neighbour came to the door on my knock.  I secured my keys and went out in the street, trying to wave cars down, going to the police station which I knew would be closed but which did have an outside phone. 

I received a letter from the police on the 4th March which said Terry’d pleaded guilty to ABH at Richmond Magistrates and would be sentenced at Kingston Crown – I need not attend.  That I needn’t was put into a separate sentence in big bold black majuscule type, a subtle hint I shouldn’t, that any attendance on my part was surplus to requirements.


About johnbrucecairns

I'm a retired history teacher who's written for most of his life with a book readied for publication.
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