We decided that the only way we were able to get away from my father for good, or at least a decent proportion of time, was to move interstate. For us, the decision between interstate vs. anywhere rural was not difficult. We are city folk.
I recall one day when everything and nothing changed. I was at school that day and my mum and sister had gone to Bankstown Square to buy suitcases. On their way back to the refuge where we had been hiding, two family friends, a mother and daughter saw them crossing the lights. Unluckily, they followed. That afternoon they knocked on the refuge door. I was fourteen at that time and so infuriated that I had to run downstairs to tell this woman to back the hell off. Little did I know that mum’s friend (another Vietnamese lady staying at the refuge with her two year old son) had already told her that we had been transferred (for safety reasons) elsewhere. If only I had kept my mouth shut!
Refuges are safe houses and when a random person comes knocking on the door (woman or man), not only does it put one woman and her family at risk, but it affects the other women and children that live there as well. After all, they were all fleeing from their partners. Two days later we had packed up our belongings and were back to where it had all started, home.
At that point in time and even now, I would appreciate the opportunity to tell these ‘friends' to go stick it somewhere. To tell them that their actions weren't as noble as they may have thought. To tell them that they only helped in prolonging inevitable agony and to tell them to mind their own bloody business! I'm not sure if that is a fair call but I suppose they were only trying to help. At the end of the day, no one ever truly knows what goes on inside the four walls of a home.
But I do know my father.
I would dare say that after we left he somehow ended up on their doorstep zombiefied, sobbing profusely about how we’d taken off and left him and he couldn't find us. Of course his feelings were valid, but it wasn’t as though we were stepping into new territory. This was routine and had happened at least twenty times before and at least another five after. The saddest part is that it took almost thirty years and the expense of four uprooted lives, for him to finally realise that he needed to change a few things (and I don’t say that lightly). Better late than never right? The next time we left, we headed straight to the Sunshine state and managed to stay there for a year before receiving a letter from the solicitor.
This experience taught me the value of keeping the right company. For me, 2016 is a particularly important year as I embark on a journey to lay the groundwork for my future. I will be Jessica Alba in the movie “Honey”, attempting to build a life ‘when a career and passion come together’, (though maybe without Honey’s low-rise white tracksuit pants).
I’m crazy enough to think that I’ll succeed however long it takes to get there. In doing so, it is important that people who support my vision and know my heart surround me. People who I can count on to have my back. I guess, sometimes this will mean that I have to be selective about who I choose to invest in and spend time with.
And on a final note I’m practicing the art of more listening and less talking. Goodness me
who am I kidding?
who am I kidding?