It was just after school had closed for the summer that I decided that I was going to have to move out of Nan and Granddad’s house and back into my family home. By now all the paperwork had been sorted and all the tax had been paid so the house was mine.
I had to move out because I simply didn’t feel safe living with Nan and Granddad. I was tired of being battered, both emotionally and physically, by him. The number and severity of the hits I was getting was going up and up and it was just a matter of time before something really serious happened. So I decided to leave and once the decision was made I felt much calmer in myself. Of course I didn’t give either Nan or Granddad any hint at all that I was leaving. I chose a morning when he was at the Bowls Club and she was having her hair done. I just packed everything I had into my little car, drove the short distance to my house, unpacked the car and started the rest of my life.
I left a short note on their kitchen table to say where I was but I didn’t bother explaining why I had left. They never agreed with anything I said so it wasn’t worth the effort. I knew that as soon as they read the note they would come round and sure enough at 12:30 their car arrived. I was hiding upstairs where they couldn’t see me and I stayed there until after lots of door bell ringing and banging and shouting they finally left.
It was so strange being in the house on my own. It felt as if Mum and Dad were just away for a while and that if I was patient I would eventually hear them arrive back. I knew in my head that they were dead but a part of me was still struggling to accept the truth. Strangest of all was going into their bedroom. One of Dad’s astronomy magazines was on the bedside table just as he had left it the morning of the day he was killed.
The phone was still working so I phoned my Aunt – Mum’s sister and my Uncle – Dad’s brother – to tell them what had happened. Well part of what had happened because I didn’t know whose side they were going to be on. It was a little while before I realised that they were 100% on my side – basically once they found out about the lies Granddad had told them and about all the hitting.
I didn’t know very much about running a home and the first few months were very difficult but they were a lot, lot better than feeling scared all the time. And that is how it felt when I was near Granddad. I did know enough to cancel the standing order that paid the rent that Nan and Granddad had been charging me and that was one of the very first jobs I did. I can remember feeling quite grown-up sorting that out on my own.