I came across a book ‘Captivated – J.M. Barri, the Du Mauriers and the Dark Side of Neverland’ by Piers Dudgeon. There is a quote in the book “in 1928 Jim (Barrie) completed the rehabilitation of his conscience by donating the copyright in Peter Pan to Great Ormond Street Hospital. He made the gift ‘for the very best reasons’, according to Nico, ‘but also for the ‘not-quite-so-good- reason’ that he hoped everyone would say what a splendid thing he had done.”
I found the reference to GOSH interesting because, of course, I had been a patient there and a regular admirer of the Peter Pan statue, but the possibility of Barrie’s abuse on his 5 lost boys fascinated me more. For some reason I was finding myself working more and more with women who had been abused, because of this, I was booking myself onto professional development courses to support this work (on top of the regular supervision one has to have as a counsellor).
Re The Lost Boys, I first began listing my boyfriends after watching ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’. The list grew and grew, then for a while I stopped counting and began forgetting, but since writing this blog I am reminded of some I had forgotten, and some who have been popping up in my dreams and thoughts. For example, I was driving through Croydon and past the Fairfield Halls and suddenly remembered the 4th violinist I went out with (I think he played for the Royal Scottish Philharmonic Orchestra) we met in Tenerife and he would invite me to concerts, but only to make his 1st violinist girlfriend jealous and when I recently attended a “How to get Published” day at Regence College, I remembered the Chinese psychologist I’d met twenty years previously (on one of the sexual abuse study days) but we never had sex because his bed was covered in cuddly toys, and if you have been reading my blogs you’ll know how much I hated cuddly toys.
There is, however, a significant lost boyfriend I left out, for a reason.
I had one month to go before Shane left for Australia and 2 months therapy left with Ian (who had come clean and told me he was actually retiring, it wasn’t just that he’d had enough of me!) Whilst listening to the ‘Time Out’ messages from Ewart (whose messages nearly used up all my answer phone space, he’s No. 98 the next one to write about after this) there was a message from, let’s call him BBB, Basildon Boyfriend Barry who I had been in love with in between No’s. 25/29.
Whilst in Rayleigh at Christmas I’d met one of BBB’s friends in a pub. He’d told me that Barry was back living with his parents and would be pleased to hear from me. I gave him my number and I was delighted to hear Barry’s message in between Ewart’s monologues. I rang him back and we reminisced. BBB sometimes worked in London and he suggested we go for a beer one day after work. This happened the following week. He was working at Canary Wharf so we met at Rotherhithe and sat outside the Mayflower pub. Even though it was freezing, it was nice to watch the ripples of the Thames that took me back to my Essex routes that I was becoming fonder of since my Christmas visit. Apart from Rayleigh, work and the Rubber Nipple Club I hadn’t been out much. With the impending loss of Ian and Shane I was concerned about being lonely and depressed again, my fantasy was that Barry and I would fall back in love, I’d move back to Essex, with him, and everything would be alright, one of the things I’d loved about Barry was his family, they liked me, it was before I had MS. We would have babies together.
“What happened when you went to Germany?” I asked, his friend had told me he’d been away for some years.
“Can’t tell you. I’ve done some pretty awful shit, you wouldn’t want to know”
“That makes me more curious. You won’t shock me, ” I said “I’ve heard everything at the Samaritans, I was a Samaritan in Brixton prison too, and my ex was in prison for armed robbery and I know a murderer, but he’s done his time, so does that mean he’s still a murderer?! How much worse can it be?”
“I can’t tell you.” He said. Paused then smiled. I looked into his eyes and he reminded me of Fraser, his eyes were pinned, he was a junky. I’d so hoped not. “I loved you. You broke my heart.”
“I loved you. It was a long time ago.”
I was driving and had stopped drinking after my first pint but Barry had carried on, 3 then 4… I was worried he’d miss his last train, as handsome as he was, and looking good despite the obvious, I wasn’t in the mood for taking him home so I suggested I give him a lift to the tube, even though it was round the corner, he was drunk and I was concerned he would get lost. I parked outside the tube.
“You fucked me up.”
“I was fucked up.”
“You fucked up my life? You fucked it all up. I’ve never been able to do relationships. It’s all been a fuck up.”
I felt trapped in my Fiat Panda, Rotherhithe station was deserted, it was late, the roads quiet. I was scared. Barry took his seatbelt off and leaned over me.
“You fucking broke my heart. You fucked me up. It’s your fault. And you call yourself a counsellor, who the fuck do you think you are?”
Silence, seconds lasting hours, he stared into me and lifted his arm.
Many years ago, in Pelekas (during No’s 55/74), Marni and I had been hitchhiking and got a dodgy lift, not quite in the same vein as No. 85, but it was a man who had a knife and was set to attack us. Marni was sat in the front next to him, and I was in the back, with no door to escape out of the car. The man pulled over into olive groves off the beat and track somewhere in Corfu and he’d gone to reach for something, a knife it turned out to be, but Marni knew and she grabbed his arm, looked into his eyes and said “If you touch us I’ll fucking kill you. Get out Liz” and she lunged her front seat forward with her right hand whilst digging her long black painted nails of her other hand into his arm. I got out of the car and she let go of him and we legged it and hid in the groves with snakes until it got light and we hitched back to Pelekas beach.
Stretching my seat belt I reached for Barry’s arm and held it.
“You need to get out of the car. You’ll miss your train.” He pulled away and sat back on the seat. “You need to go home.” He remained. “I’m sorry,” I said. “I didn’t mean to hurt you. I didn’t know how you felt back then. I was fucked up.”
“You’re a fucking little minx.” He got out of the car and slammed the door. I was scared to look in the mirror to check he’d gone into the tube. I pulled away quickly and drove back to my flat.
There is a small step in the foyer of the flats before you got to my door. I’d always been so conscious of it, even when my walking was worse. I forgot it was there, I wasn’t using a stick, I stumbled and fell back onto my head.
“You fucking little minx.” The words haunted me, I’d cut my head and as I put my hand up to it I could feel the fresh blood, then a memory came back, not another boyfriend, it was my father. I was age 16, the same age I was when I was with Barry. I’d been late home, very late home and my father had been looking for me with the dog and when he’d got home I was already in bed, he came in my room, pulled me out of bed by my hair and shouted:
“You fucking little minx” I don’t know what happened next, but I remember my head hurt.
My head hurt.