Finally, before going for his shower he pulled from a plastic carrier bag a bottle of Buckfast. I found this to be truly astonishing. If that moment hadn’t felt so serious, I would have found the idea completely hilarious that this older English man would have walked into a corner shop and purchased a bottle of Buckfast.
To me, only young Scottish lads and girls drank this to get smashed out in the streets on a Friday night having all lied to our parents about our whereabouts. It reminded me of some of the lads in school I had difficulties with. It reminded me of the violent streets I grew up and hung out in.It reminded me my biological father never wanted me.
Buckfast epitomised my working-class upbringing at a time in my life of painful suicidal thoughts and rebellious teenage behaviour. Yet here I was, in my apparent fantasy world, sitting on the edge of a double bed with a bottle of it in my hand as Derek went for a shower.Twisting the top of the bottle, I swiftly removed the lid and knocked my head back to gulp down that cough syrup-like sweetness of this tonic wine. That familiar rush followed as it raced around my body. I genuinely loved that feeling every time I guzzled down Buckfast. It felt like leaving my consciousness behind and becoming someone else.This time was different though. I clung to the edge of that bed as though I was hanging from a dangerous cliff. Making my way through the bottle, I listened to the water ebbing away then the sound of a shower curtain swishing back.
Anxiously I waited, rooted to the spot on that double bed. Derek walked into the room and stood before me... It’s curious the things you remember about an abuser. That bald patch on his head, the wry smile and swollen belly. His horrible overgrown toenails with a mole on one of his big toes. The fading arm tattoos. Which of all his characteristics, broke my heart the most.
They reminded me of my grandad, who also had fading arm tattoos. My grandad made me feel so loved and having his tattooed arms aroundme were always a feeling of protection, love, safety and acceptance. To see this man in front of me with tattoos much the same, damaged me in ways that would take years to understand.Drunk as I was becoming, and grateful for the gift of the watch, I felt like I owed it to my friend to not let him down... what Derek did to me next was the most unfamiliar, horrific experience for a teenage boy who liked girls and was still a virgin. I just lay there and hoped it would be over quick. I was mentally gone from this moment onwards. I just wasn’t there anymore. I just waited for it to be over. Numb. Detached. Anesthetized from alcohol and shock.
Eventually it was over and he rolled off me. Like a shapeshifter he got himself dressed, as I did too, and approached me with a big, warm hug. It felt like overcoming some kind of massive experience, as if I had survived a serious operation at hospital or something.
Before he dropped me back to that McDonalds and back to my life, forever changed, he sat next to me on the bed and just spoke. He told me his son had died some years before and how much it broke his heart. He spoke about his wife and his other children. He even, for some reason, told me he had a side job performing pop-up discos at weddings... Like I mentioned before, it is a curious thing, the particulars you remember.How do you go back to your so-called normal life after this? Feeling worthless inside is what had already sent me down this path of self-destruction. After meeting Derek, my sense of relationships and intimacy was corrupted and my identity over my sexuality confused. Little could I have known, there was still worse to come in my life. I still had many horrendous battles ahead.
What I could never have imagined at that point in life, was that there would also be experiences beyond my wildest dreams in my future. Most importantly, I would go on a journey in which a Higher Power would guide my life in ways beyond human understanding, including the discovery of Derek’s true identity.
To continue reading Euphoric Recall, By Aidan Martin, the memoir is now available from Amazon and Guts Publishing, £9.95