Just Girls

I can’t say that my early life was full of abuse, but then I can’t say it was anything else either. The only thing I can say is it was not my life. I was never hit, but I was never allowed to make any decisions about anything. My parents chose all my clothes, jewellery, even my perfume when I was older. My hairstyle, soap, moisturiser, you name it it was all decided for me, and to make certain I complied I was never given any money and my mother bought everything. Even my menstrual products. I’d wanted to try a cup but my mother didn’t even listen to me, but then neither of my parents ever did. All my options at school were chosen for me, and my father gave me a short list of one concerning potential boyfriends. He was two years older than I and the eldest son of the senior partner in the most prominent solicitors in the city. He went ballistic and accused me of not trying when the boy of his choice started going out with another girl. I’m clever and to be honest the subject options were of no significance to me because I wanted to read physics at university, not law like my father told me to do, just assuming I'd do what he said.

It must have been a shock to them when I left home without saying anything about it after I left school at sixteen. The law then gave me the right to so do and I exercised my right. I had no legal obligation to tell anyone I was doing so. I had a wide acquaintance of going on for four dozen family whom I regularly wrote to, though my parents read all my letters both ingoing and out. My father monitored all my emails, but wasn’t even aware of the encryption package my aunt Sophia recommended. My parent’s refused to even talk about my mother's sister Sophia because she was a lesbian and had lived with Zara for years. Edwina one of my cousins put me in touch with them and posted my letters and gave me the replies sent to her for a couple of years. For three years after that we communicated via the messaging facility on an LGBT+ site. I knew a lot more about computers and the internet than both my parents. When I left home I went to live with Aunts Sophia and Zara in Bath which is a long way from Aberdeen where my parents live. I refuse to call my parents’ house home.

I studied advanced level sciences and Mathematics at college in Bath and that was where I met Margaret, Meg to her friends. Yes you’ve probably sussed it I’m a lesbian too, and I’d known that for years. My father was right I hadn’t tried with that boy whose name I can no longer remember. It would have been somewhere towards the end of February in my first year at college when my parents found out where I’d gone. They arrived having driven, according to my father, non stop five hundred and twenty miles in nine hours. Sophia saw my father through the window and before letting my parents in rang the police explaining the situation. Both my parents were incandescent with anger, but Zara had got it all on her phone including when my father came straight through the front door, which saved Sophia the trouble of opening it. He was screaming abuse at Sophia and Zara, but it’s best not repeated after all hate speech is just hate speech and is not worthy of repetition. He grabbed me by the arm and was shouting I was going back with him even if I had turned sixteen and the law said I didn’t have to. I was going with him whether I wanted to or not. That was when the police put the handcuffs on him and arrested both my parents

Cutting a long story short they were charged with breaking the door down, hate speech and attempted kidnapping. As a result of their hate speech, me being a lesbian and their controlling of every aspect of my young life, they were bound over by an injunction to stay more than a kilometre away from me and told if they did not promise so to do right then and there they would serve time. The fine was sufficient to hurt them financially. They were also told should they break the injunction they would go to gaol. They promised. I’ve never been in contact with them since. Eventually I went to Cambridge to study physics. My relationship with Meg did not survive our separation, but eventually I met Veronica.

I’m now twenty-eight and have a doctorate in astrophysics and spend a lot of time at Jodrell Bank(1) and the rest lecturing at Manchester. Veronica and I live in Cheshire near the observatory. Veronica is a biologist and works for DEFRA(2) in Cheshire. I’m pregnant and we’re both thrilled by that. I know my parents are aware I have married Veronica, and despite my early life I consider it only right to let my parents know they are about to become grandparents, even if they never see their grandchild. Veronica was concerned that letting them know would upset me. I told her me being a lesbian and marrying her had freaked them out enough, and I had no intention of telling them she was my baby’s biological father.

1 Jodrell Bank, a site hosting amongst other things various radio telescopes.
2 DEFRA, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. It used to be the Ministry of Agriculture.

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