New heights, new dimensions. That's what they told me and that's what I got.
I wasn't the kind of person that believed in fantasy characters like princesses, elves, witches and vampires. However, today the winds of change swept in, gallant like an armoured knight, and I was swept off my feet.
Men pretending to be 'daring daredevils,' men who were not what they seemed, was all I had known before. Now, things were secure. Now things were different. Now the flurry, the flurry of laughter, lifted my butterfly heart to...new heights, new dimensions.
I eyed all the classic pictures scattered throughout my house: Pre-Raphaelite copies. In particular I had my eye on one of a lady with a pomegranate clutched to her breast. I was as dignified as the women in these portraits, though perhaps with more independence. Things were going well. I had found someone that I could trust and more importantly, someone I could rely upon.
This man looked after me. If I needed something, he got it. If I wanted to go out for dinner, he arranged it. If I was in tears about a personal problem, he sat down with me and talked it through. He always landed his dart right in the centre of my board, right on target. I could rely on him, whenever and wherever.
The summer of 2012 was the most memorable. Long river boat rides under the shimmer of the setting sun, restaurant dinner dates where we talked till the restaurant closed. Sometimes we went to visit friends together for drink parties, cocktails with Peach Schnapps or Amaretto, and when it got late scotch whisky was 'the typical order.' My boyfriend had been open and showed his sense of humour, cracking jokes, at ease with himself and me. At that time I held the artist's palette and also moulded my own elaborate sculpture. I was able to create a life that I had craved for so long, and now appreciated a lot. Enjoying all that the summer's orange-red colours had to offer, I would remember these days and hold on to the boyfriend I had grown so close to.
A Few months later...
It was one November afternoon I got a phone call, just after I had sat down to relax with a newspaper. It must be my friend Nicola. She said she'd call to catch-up.
'Lisa, are you there?' a woman spoke.
I said, 'Yes...oh it's you mum?'
'Yes. It's your sister. Something happened. Umm...she's in hospital.'
'What...?' Silence hit me like a heavy stone.
'...Right, O.K. I'll be right over to see her mum' was my reply after a few seconds.
My boyfriend had already left. I would have been happier if he was here with me, but I understood he had work commitments. He had left a few hours earlier as he said he had things to look into.
I drove to the hospital, arriving fifteen minutes later in a state of shock. My nerves trembled and I felt small pinpricks on my skin. It was disorientating but I managed to get to my sister Jade's bedside, holding myself together.
My sister displayed a proportion of guilt for my anxieties, as she dropped her head.
'Honestly, I'm not too bad, Lisa,' my sister whispered, 'It`s great to see you.'
'I love you sis, but how did you get marks on your arms? What happened?'
'I had been busy in the kitchen putting together the beginnings of dinner. A man opened the door and came into my house. I couldn't see his face, but he started shouting and pushing at my arms and legs 'til I toppled over. Muffled sounds came from his mouth. He wanted to hurt me. The last thing I heard him say was 'How could you?' as if I had done something...When I awoke he was gone and a lady from the ambulance rushed me to hospital.'
'Oh! I can't believe it. This is so terrible. Why would someone want to hurt you? I'm so sorry.'
'I have a feeling it could have been a neighbour. One or two look at me in a funny way, now and then. I wouldn't say I'm popular on my street...Don't worry, on a positive note I'll be out of here pretty soon, and then we'll be back to our night outs every week parading the town like drunkards. Anyway, what about you and how's your boyfriend Chris? How was his birthday?'
'He's doing well. He went out a few hours ago. He said there were a few things he had to get done. Oh, I gave him a gold ring and a silver chain for his birthday. It was a great day. We chatted long into the night.'
'I'm glad. Ok well, see you soon sis. If you don't mind I really need to get some rest now...'
'That's no problem. I'll be out of here in a flash. See you soon sis.'
Exiting the hospital room I headed to my car to go home. I got in. I took a deep breath letting out my anxiety. Now my face appeared more relaxed. To my surprise when I got home I noticed the front door was unlocked.
Oh Chris must be home. Great, I need to see him.
I turned into the living room and found Chris sipping some whisky. He looked slightly on edge.
'What is it, Chris?' I asked, 'I just saw my sister in the hospital. Something happened.'
'Oh right. Everything's sorted with the little business I had to take care of.'
'Good, good. What did you have to get done?'
'Oh, just something with the local car dealer. How's your sister doing?'
'She's coming out in a day I think. She got physically knocked to the ground by some scoundrel! Wait 'til I get my hands on the fella who gave her those bruises...'
Chris began pacing about and put away a rabbit cuddly toy he had been holding as if he were a child. He looked very agitated and when I looked closer I saw his bloodshot eyes gawping at me. He tried to hide all these things.
'You don't look yourself. Have a lie down. I'll get some ice cubes...'
'O.K. thanks. Just had a rough day at work, that's all.'
I brought Chris some ice-cubes and had a look at him more closely. His eyes were deadly red and then....I saw marks on his arms as if he had been doing something physical today. He noticed that I saw the marks.
'Just had a workout today,' he said with a grin.
I knew he was lying and confronted him. I understood now.
'So, it was you? You're acting so damn strange I can tell it was you. Don't you dare lie to me!'
'I love that silver chain and gold ring you gave me. I wore them today. I was so pissed that you always give your sis so much attention. What about me, you know? So...it was easy...I jabbed at her, punched and kicked at her arms, legs, and knocked her to the ground. I think you know by now I'm the only one in your life. You don't need her anymore. Come on, give me a hug and kiss. I've missed you so much today...'
I backed away bit by bit, ran out of the room, locked myself in my bathroom upstairs and had to listen to Chris' taunts. I took some action rather than focusing on the 'black underworld' of fear and anxiety. I felt there was a good chance of him knocking down the door and I decided to call the police.
Letting them know what happened was the easy bit. I felt so weak, vulnerable and betrayed, by somebody I had loved and trusted the most. I had a feeling that I could be the next victim. I shivered at the thought.
'Come on love. I know you miss me too. I only hurt your sister a little. I won't do that to you. You're my delicate flower. I would never do that to you.'
'Come on, let me in. We've got the rest of our lives together and an eternity after death. All you need is me, that's what you've always said. You said I was so attentive to you, better than all the rest before. You need me, my precious flower. Come on, let me in.'
I didn't budge and a few seconds after a lengthy silence Chris began knocking and kicking at the door like a madman. Through the keyhole I witnessed his aggressive behaviour. He hissed and taunted all at once. I cowered behind the door and waited for the police.
They aren't coming, my mind turned to panic and despair, like a bleating sheep. What if he gets hold of me? I focused on all the fears I could possibly create from the world around me and inside my head.
Then 'Help! Help! Help!' came out of my mouth. Just then Chris managed to open the door to the bathroom. I had already started towards the shower beforehand. I carried on and shut myself in the shower.
'I'll save you, my precious flower! Don't worry darling.'
He came step by step towards me and I felt panic and the weight of irritable fear in the eerie silence. Just as he was about to press his hands on the shower door and get through to me, I heard a loud noise coming from downstairs, as the front door was opened.
The police rushed upstairs, found Chris right by my shower in a highly agitated state and handcuffed him, before he could touch me.
He let out some muffled sounds: 'I did it... to save her. I did it...for my precious flower.'
The police arrested Chris and took him away in a car to the police station. I told them the whole story of what had happened and that Chris had confessed to physically hurting my sister. After the police heard my sister's story he was put in police custody overnight, and weeks later he would be charged with assault.
I went to have a talk with my sister in hospital an hour and a half later after we had both dealt with the police.
'I can't believe it. I remember now, the silver chain and the gold ring my abuser was wearing. So sorry Lisa we both had to go through all this.'
'It's ok now. I'm glad that man is out of my life.'
'What made you think that he was a good man?'
'Oh you know the usual. Chris lifted me to new heights, new dimensions. He always landed a dart right in the centre of the board, right on target. I could rely on him, whenever and wherever...How stupid does that sound?'
'Not so much, at least he wasn't one of those 'crazy daredevil types' you were with before. But I'm guessing this one's treading into the fiery keep of hell and will meet Hades himself,' my sister joked.
'Yeah, yeah...and the next one awaits...I think it will be the devil incarnate jestering as-'
'-an angelic winged Cupid,' Jade chipped in.
'I thought that this guy was along those lines already' I said with a flurry of laughter.
My butterfly heart then soared, to new heights, new dimensions, and wanted to embrace the world to come, emotions with principles that surely even Hades' enemies would concur with in unison.