Christy looked out, watching the curl of the smoke, from over the paddocks, from the chimneys, of the neighbour's house. She knew they had their fires burning, and it was a fine, almost windless evening.
Looking at the streak of the smoke, breaking into sudden curls, some distance up, from the chimneys, she could feel the chill of the still night air descending. There would surely be a frost later this evening.
She could still hear the screams, echoing inside her head, of her neighbour's daughter, her age, after all, who was being attacked by her bullying brother, on their way over to the cowshed, to help their father with the nightly milking.
She could still see Irene Mc Lintock, running accross the paddock, her long blond hair streaming out, as she ran. Her bully-brother Lenny, catching her, tackling her slender body, crashing her to the ground.
He yelled in victory, as he jumped up and down, upon her poor, slim, body. The bloodcurdling screams and cries for help, unanswered by her family, who should have been her greatest shield, her fiercest protectors.
Christy's Grandmother, looking from the dining room windows, drew a deep breath in horror.
"That girl will never have children" she declared. "What is her father thinking, passing by, ignoring what his son is doing to her?"
Old Len just strode past, ignoring all the screaming, the brutalising of his eldest daughter, by his eldest son.
The younger siblings came barrelling out, onto the paddock. Laughing, jeering, as Irene regained her footing. Limped, slowly over to the cowsheds. Wounded. Hurt.
Her brother, brutally triumphant. What had he achieved?
Christy observed all this, and wondered where the brutal, primeval, urges came from. To be displayed unexpectedly in males. Why did they suddenly become some alien being? What call did they respond to, to be so base? So brutal,? so inhumane? So ...so ...animal?
Christy thought again of Ross.
Remembered the wonderful nights they had had together.
Her mother had lent him her car, and they had travelled to a seaside destination, to join the fun of a carnival.
They had walked the streets, arm in arm, enjoying the lovely salty, warm night air.
How magical it all felt, the lovely salty feeling, the warmth eveloping them, as they strolled the sandy streets. The Pohutukawa trees lining the small alley ways. The cottages, & small blocks of flats, lighted sofly, all, somehow conveying the joy & peace of the evening.
Then, the hideous shock, of the man, kicking a woman, who was lying in the gutter crying.
Christy had leapt upon the kicker, berating him furiously, smacking him away, with slaps & mild punches.
"How dare you"!! "What the hell are you doing? Stop it, Stop it now!!"
Cradling the woman in the gutter, soothing her.
Ross, springing to her side, amazed at her bravery. A little shocked at how fierce she was, to the attacker.
He quickly backed her up, pushed the attacker away.
The 'victim' who had lain in the gutter, invited them back to her place. The 'attacker' turned out to be her husband. She was sure he was having an affair. He denied all knowledge of her accusations.
Christy and Ross never did decipher who was telling the truth. They consoled each other, that at least they had stopped domestic abuse.
They had resisted invites to partake of alcoholic drinks to celebrate the night. They took their leave, and Ross drove them safely home. A pleasant and safe evening for them both.
Another evening, another event. Christy & Ross, invited to a party.
A lot of Christy's aquaintances, a lot of 'strangers' to Ross.
"He drinks too much." A suprise to Christy, who had never seen Ross drinking alcohol, in any great amount.
He became odd. He decided he was 'jealous' of Christy's movements.
Who was admiring her? Who was making a move on her?
Ross began to be paranoid, seeing threats to his 'claim' at every turn.
She made the mistake of laughing, when he suggested such things. She laughed, told him he was "silly."
She did not see the anger, the 'almost mad' light in his eyes when he mentioned it.
Of course, she would later regret missing those warning signs. Those small signals that all was not well. That he did not register things the same way that she did. Indeed the way most other people registered things, as 'normal'.
When he struck with mean vengeance, perhaps. wanting to kill her, for his percieved transgression, Christy was unaware.
She had no idea what or why, he was attacking her. She did note, that had his father not come to her rescue, she would very likely have died.
She still shuddered at the memory. She still mourned the breakdown of the person she had seen as sensitive, loving, & wonderful.
She also knew, she would never trust him again.
Why did she feel he had been close? Why did she see his smile in the mocking curl of the smoke from the neighbour's chimneys?.
6 months ago