Sunday, 18 October 2015


     It’s horrible, writing this. We’d had such a nice afternoon, The Boy & I. We’d lounged about at home for a while, slobbing out, then, at his request went down to Norwich cathedral and went graffiti hunting. We ‘found’ loads of things, I chatted to him about who might have made them, the different meanings, why we find some areas with barely a square millimetre uncovered, and other areas where there’s nothing.

     I told him some of the history of the building, of stories, of my favourite inscriptions, and he giggled, and we explored, and wandered. We realised that we were about to walk through the middle of a Big Important Service, and giggled, and then both felt a bit lightheaded from the incense fumes, so went out to the cloisters, and he showed me some of the things he’d found earlier in the week. Then we went to the refectory and had lunch, and chatted, and giggled more, and did silly faces at one another.

     It wasn’t A Grand Day Out, not at all. But it was fun, and we laughed, and he rolled his eyes at me taking photos, and I was deliberately embarrassing, and we both just enjoyed being in each others company for a few hours, and he asked when we could do it again. It was… nice. Fun. But I didn’t want to overdo it with him, so we decided to head for home, still chatting.

     We were on a narrow stretch of pavement, on a quiet residential street, no one else around. And then it happened. I could see a young man, weaving his way along the pavement, coming towards us. He was quite clearly drunk. No. Shitfaced. At about four o’clock on a Sunday afternoon, walking towards us. His face was red, eyes unfocussed, limbs loose, a lolling type of walk. I ushered The Boy to walk behind me, the pavement not being wide enough for all three of us to pass.

     The Twat, for that’s what he is, drew level with us. Then stopped, his body rocking back and forth slightly. He peered at us confusedly, then smiled. I was nervous, uncertain, turning back to face The Boy, just when The Twat pulled his arm back, clenched his hand into a fist, and swung his whole body rapidly towards The Boy, stopping only when his fist was within an inch or two of The Boy’s nose, then grinned. I saw The Boy flinch, his body stiffen. I put my hand on his left shoulder, and drew him closer to me, trying to pull him out of the way.


     I didn’t respond, just pulled The Boy closer, and tried to walk away, but not before The Twat put his face in mine.


      We walked away, further shouts echoing in the distance as we tried to put distance between us and The Twat, my arm still around The Boy. In an undertone, I said ‘Don’t look back. Keep walking. Don’t look back, it’s ok, you handled that perfectly, but just keep walking.’ I could hear more shouting, but I ignored it, still talking the whole time to The Boy, until we got round a corner. ‘You ok?’ ‘I’m shaking.’ ‘I know. It’s ok. I won’t ever let anyone hurt you, not ever.’ I gripped his hand, and he let out a shuddering gasp, shaky and scared. I stopped, put both of my hands of his shoulders: ‘I promise you, anyone who ever threatens you has to get through me first. And I won’t let anyone past me.’

     That was a couple of hours ago. The Boy’s cried. I’m close to tears, but I can’t let him see I was scared too. He relies on me. He was scared of the unknown. I’m scared of what might have happened. I’ve hugged him and explained that some people are just Twats. We’ve looked at the photos we took together of the graffiti, trying to remind ourselves of those happy hours we had before The Twat entered out lives.

     This is growing up. This is realising that you will encounter Twats, just because you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. This is finding out that people will behave like utter cunts towards you, when you’ve done nothing. But this is also me, shaking, feeling sick, and knowing that if anyone, anyfuckingone, dares to scare, threaten, or upset my children, I will kick their fucking arse. Say and do what you like to me, I’m pretty fucking tough. But threaten a single strand of The Blondies, and I will fucking destroy you. Your arse is grass, and I am a motherfucking lawnmower.

     And now, I'm going to walk to the shop to buy milk, bread, various bits needed for packed lunches, and I'm going to fucking howl my fucking eyes out that I know I can't protect my children forever, and that they're growing up in such a fucked up world. 


lp_ lisa said...

God how absolutely awful for you both. Just awful.
Hate the fact I can't protect my lovely boy from twats like this... from dickheads in pubs, evil heartless girlfriends, losers at school or in the office. Life is bloody shit sometimes and it's such a shame when they find that out. Keep reminding him (& you!) that the good people outnumber the twats. Always will x

Nic M said...

Being brave and scared and feeling as tiny as an ant versus evil then towering with rage and protectiveness are all things your boy will have sensed within you. Hiding fear at the time in order to risk manage the assholes is absolutely the right thing to do. But later, when the storm of what if tears have abated, speaking from experience, it won't rock the axis of a child's life to know that his parents do sometimes feel fear. And that standing up to badness and punching through the fear is what makes true strength.

Julie Kirk said...

They're like another species, those people who feel they take up more space than the rest of us. Sounds like you did everything right.

Anonymous said...

What a horrible, awful thing to have to experience. As a dad, I dread things like this happening and also how I might react in the same situation because I suspect it might not be overly civilised or set a good example. It's horrible to know that you can't protect your children from everything - all we can do is the best we can and to equip our kids how to deal with it themselves. But I think you reacted how any of us would - how can you not feel terrible and angry?

Nelly Booth said...

Parenting can be hard. You did well and your emotions are all fine. Shit happens. Go well on your way.

Lucy Benedict said...

Thanks everyone - on the advice of others, I reported it to the Police who said there's not a lot they can do, but they came to the house, spoke to The Boy, and have logged it just in case something comes up in the future. He's proven to be incredibly resilient, not fussed by it at all, so I'm taking a lot of reassurance from that, and also a lot of comfort from the support I've had here and on twitter - you guys prove that it really is the twats that are in the minority, and most people are pretty damned decent!