With or Without You by U2 is playing on the radio as I lie on my thin mattress in Mum’s run down Housing Commission apartment with the time-worn carpet and paint-peeling walls that I call home, or have at least for the past few months since Mum brought me home from my Grandma’s place in New Zealand, the safe haven of a kind of love and care and kindness that I’ve never known, the sanctuary my mother deported me to after I made love to the stranger who grabbed me on the pedestrian overpass as I was walking home from cadets and held the huge knife against my throat and called me a cunt and punched and stabbed and kicked me and then told me he loved me as he came in my eyes with the tip of his blade pressed against my carotid artery.

I stand and close the eyes that the knife man filled with his shame, and I dance and sway and imagine that I’m high up on a lush green-grassed mountaintop, dressed only in a white scarf that is swirling around me, blown by a cool breeze, and there I am just 17 years old, old old old, older than the wind and the trees and the world around me, old ever since my grandfather came into my room when I was four and gave me sweets and told me that he loved me and that I was special and that he wanted to show me his love and turned me on to my stomach and said I was his favorite, and for the first time in my life someone was talking to me and caring and then the horror began and I thought it was what every kid did with their Pa.

After he was finished and part of me down there felt ripped apart and I was bleeding like the blood would never stop, and I went to Mum and she told me to harden up and let the him do whatever he wanted because he was a good man, and had bought us our house and was paying for her trip to Europe, and that I was a sinner and had to know pain to find God, well what else was I supposed to think? I tried to ask Dad too, but he had been drinking since the night before and was lying on the floor asleep with this foul-smelling swill around him and Mum said it was the Devil staining him for not obeying Grandpa’s commands, and I didn’t want to go to hell so I went back to his room instead and closed my eyes and dreamed of the mountain.

And now all these years and all these f*cks and all the blood and the guilt and the hurt and the pain here I am on the mountaintop again, dancing, swaying in the spirit, dancing for my Father, whose not my real father because he died with a bottle of scotch by his side and a cord around his neck and stockings strangling his scrotum, and they found him in the beat under the church a few days after the knife man had told me he loved me in the park, and even though I was still in the hospital waiting for the stitches to heal the holes the knife had made in my side my sister came and told me that when the police took his body away Dad was wearing his mum’s nightie and a wig and was holding weird magazines full of filth and lust, or was until he died anyway and then they fell to the urine-soaked floor and drowned as he choked, and then she told me that it was all my fault and took my keycard from my wallet and then she was gone and when I woke up again it was two days later and the nurses dresses were so white and the ward lights so bright I thought just for a moment that I must have been in heaven and then I looked down at the scars and knew in an instant that I was still in Hell where I belonged.

I close my eyes and now I’m lying on my back in the cool grass and there’s no man around pawing my body and putting his fingers and his private parts that he calls his love maker inside me, and I just listen to the wind softly swirling around me and I worship for a while. I think about last year and I just know God is good and his glory all around me because let me tell you please by all means compare the difference between then and now.

Oh yeah, before I forget, last Monday in English we had this oral.

This was the question:

In the form of an interior monologue (a character speaking their thoughts aloud with no intended audience) or a dramatic monologue (a character speaking to a non-responsive audience) present a character that is facing a major conflict or turning point in their life, or who is physically and/or psychologically isolated from others. Although your character is fictional, make the situation represented in your monologue as realistic as possible.

And this is what I wrote:


I wake up in the morning …. I open my eyes …… and I think …….what am I doing?

Why do I bother? Why?

It’s like this massive waste of time. I just ….. I want to leave.

I really do. I don’t want to be here.

I wish to go away. I wish it every day.

What more do I need? There is nothing here.

How can I explain?

I see nothing ahead, just words…..words…..words.

If words were liquid they’d be rushing in; but instead here we are more silent, more powerful than any word could ever be.

But then it’s gone and I just want to go to sleep.

I want to sleep, but still I feel that I’ve already been asleep, that I’ve been sleeping for a long time, and that while I was asleep the world changed, everything changed, everything, everyone changed and they all forgot about me.

No-one told me. No-one told me anything. Someone forgot to tell me. Everyone forgot to tell me.

And now I’ve missed out …. I’ve missed out …. I’ve missed out.

I don’t know …. I don’t know …. I don’t know.

I just …. I guess ….

I want to go to sleep again.

I want to close my eyes and feel the sun upon my skin just once while I lie safe in the arms of the earth.

It’s like I’m walking on a journey, a real long one, and now I’m tired, really really tired and I can barely keep my eyes open, but there’s nowhere to lay down and go to sleep because the grass is filled with writhing vipers and …..

I’m so tired. I don’t ….. I don’t …. I don’t want to be here.

I can’t ….. I can’t ….. I can’t cope.

My head.

It feels like it’s going to explode.

I can feel all this pressure inside.

I can’t handle it.

I try not to cry, but sometimes it becomes all too much.

I stop anyway.

I want to go to sleep and not wake up.

Can’t you see? I don’t think you understand.

It’s different for me.

You’re different.

It’s easy for you.

And besides, what do you care? No-one cares about how I feel. No-one.

You walk down the street and smile. You’re lucky, so lucky.

It’s not so easy for me.

‘It’s not easy for me at all.

You don’t have to wake up every day and have a memory that pounds inside your temple like an Aztec drum as the virgin is dragged screaming to the sacrificial altar and reminds you exactly who you are and where you’ve been and what they’ve done to you.

You don’t don’t understand. You don’t. You can’t, even when you think you do.

Nothing is that simple. If it was, don’t you think I would have found it?

I don’t care anymore anyway. I just want to go away. I want you to leave me alone.

Leave me alone.

Leave me alone.

Like you always have.

I’m going to be sick.

I want to die.


A few people in my class said my monologue was good.

I hope they noticed the change in me. I’m getting better.

The teacher said I had a vivid imagination, but needed to work on my presentation, and put more emotion into the reading of my text.

I excused myself, saying I had my period and needed to go to the toilet.

I walked out of the classroom, down the hall, through the door and out onto the street.

The leaves were falling softly upon my tears as I walked slowly away from school for the last time, telling no-one that I was never coming back, but knowing it in what was left of my once hope-filled heart.

This is me, this is all of me. What was, and now is gone.

It’s Autumn 1991. Soon the USSR will break up, and the people of its constituent states will have their old lives back, and can be themselves again.

I pass a house and can hear a radio blaring out loud, and it’s Kylie and she’s singing I Should Be So Lucky.

I remember first heard the song in the year that the knife man kissed me and told me that he loved me, just as my Grandad had as I lay silently on my stomach with his hand over my mouth so no-one could hear me moan for all those years before.

I shiver in the afternoon as I watch the slow setting sun turning light into the black of dark.

I’m tired. I’m so, so tired.

God is good. That’s what Mum says anyway as she tells me each night that I need to repent for my wickedness and my sins. The wickedness she watched through the open door as Grandad made love to me when I was four, and kept making love to me until the knife man came and drained the sin-stained blood from my veins.

I need to sleep, I’m so tired, I just need to sleep, so I’ll end now.

God is good.

Just ask Mum.