An attack on my life

Even as a small child, I knew the second-hand piano moved into our semi-detached house spelt bad news. It was a gift from him, the friend of my father. I drew yellow crosses on every one of the white keys with felt tip pen when I was left alone.

“Your father is going to be angry,” my mum said. The pen wouldn’t rub off, whatever she used.

I did not want anything from that friend of my father at home. Before I could even understand the words, I hated he and my father laughing about girls’ fingers and their puns talking about virginals. Arranging the things they would do. I wished I could scream.

As a teenager, it was in the school music rooms where the piano keyboard was kept, that I opened the door to a small room and saw a man with a girl. Kissing. The man doing things to the girl that I knew were wrong.

I knew they were wrong even though I was already being sexually abused myself. A victim of my father and of others. Those men who arranged the things they would do. I didn’t have any kind of voice that they could hear. I wished I could scream.

The piano keyboard. The sexual abuse. My father and his friends. The paedophile ring. The yellow felt tip pen crossing out was what I held onto in my mind. Stains now, just stains. Faded away like my inner me. A shadow of who I could have been had I not been a victim.

Many years later, I was in a room at a social event with a piano keyboard. I felt my breath catch, my heart freeze, my psyche scream. Everything else in the room slowed to the pace of the slowest motion. The smiles of the other adults and the pauses as they waited for my reply to some polite question seemed like the terrible prelude to an attack on my life. I wished I could scream.

Flashbacks. Where the terror that struck me as a child reverberated.

The gifted piano was never about the music. They took any hope of music from me. I had to relearn every note of life because of the things they arranged to do, to me and others.