Euphoric Recall, by Aidan Martin: Part 3 - At 15, Aidan finds himself alone with the man who has been grooming him

In this third extract from Aidan Martin’s no-holds-barred memoir of a life of addiction and abuse in West Lothian, the author, now a mental health advocate, faces the dangers of his situation.

Thursday, 15th October 2020, 7:00 am
Aidan Martin and cover designer Mark Deans

The room was on the same floor we were on. Leading the way, Derek swung the keys around in his thick hands and was even whistling. Acting so normal yet with such incongruity felt like such a paradox. Hearing the key fob open the door sent shock-waves right through me. Fear gripped me.

With each step, I walked closer to the end of my childhood. Trembling, I timorously followed Derek into the room. He closed the door behind him and repeated those awful words, forever etched in my brain: “What’s the matter Aidan? You look like a scared rabbit in the headlights. I’m not gonna hurt you.”

I was already hurting. I was scared. I wanted to go home and get a hot cup of tea and watch movies in my bed, in the safety of my home, my parents in their room and my wee brother across the hall in his room.

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Euphoric Recall

Telling me to sit down, Derek began to remove his outer clothing, hi-vis vest, boots, belt and so on. I sat down on the edge of the double bed, noticing a single bed made up near the window. I was, of course, there as his nephew, so that single bed was supposed to be mine. Yet again I became aware of silly things. The small kettle and cups with little biscuits on offer beside the tea and coffee. A small remote control on the bedside table for the television. I could see glimpses of the car park through the curtains that Derek went over to close.He turned to look at me. He stared for a long time. It felt like a lifetime to me. He was sweating and breathing heavily. From the look on his face and the prolonged silence it seemed like he was disappointed at how shy I was. He set up a laptop as he spoke to me, repeating how scared I looked.

As he stood up I noticed something I hadn’t previously. He was short. Shorter than me. It feels funny to say but he reminded me of a gnome without the beard. This really hit me hard in that moment. I really didn’t know anything about this man at all, did I?Online you build up an image of someone, the image they give you and your mind fills in the blanks with qualities you would like them to have. I had been searching for something in those chat-rooms, or someone, and I did discuss sexual fantasies, but I was the child and I was vulnerable.

To put me at ease, Derek suggested I relax as he went for a shower. But not before he presented me with two gifts. One was in a box and I opened it to see a brand-new waterproof, digital sports watch. It was black and red. Derek seemed so chuffed to give it to me whilst I felt confused over exactly how to feel, but I made sure to thank him.

Tomorrow: The Assault

Euphoric Recall, By Aidan Martin, is available from Amazon and Guts Publishing, £9.95

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