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Monday, 12 January 2015

Emotive enough for it to matter?

The door slams hard in its frame and with enough force to gives the illusion that the house has been shaken on its foundations.
From the window I can see Laura storm down the street with her arms tightly wrapped around herself.
I can imagine there will be tears in her eyes.
It’s been sub zero temperatures for over a week now and the rain hasn't stopped in a couple of days.
She will already be shaking and not in anger anymore.
She seems to be such a tiny little figure.
One gust and she could take off.
It’s only minutes that have passed but I'm already unsure of why we were arguing.
For months now every little thing can be the catalyst for a full on meltdown.
My sister laughs and talks about our teenage years and how we were as bad, but I can feel the pressure of tears building up behind my own eyes.
I don’t want our life to be like this.
In so many ways I just want my little girl back.
It doesn't seem that long ago when she would sing and dance to every song, when I would carry her sleeping upstairs to her bed.
Now there are just far too many days filled with stress and anger and both of us walking on eggshells as we try and work our way through this nightmare that everyone claims is hormonal.
She’s fifteen going on forty one minute and then fifteen going on five the next.

She reaches the corner of the street and takes a sharp left and vanishes from view.
If she sticks to her own pattern then in five minutes she will be in her friend Amy’s house pouring out all that she perceives to be wrong with her life and between nine and ten she will return home and go to her room without speaking.

It’s just another day.

She didn't come home last night and I am worried, but deep down she is a sensible girl and I expect she is just looking to make more of a statement than storming out does.
That’s become too common and the ante has to be raised I suppose.
She will phone or answer a text soon enough.

Amy hadn't seen her.
No one has.
The police have just left with a description and platitudes about how they usually turn up with their tails between their legs.
I feel physically sick.
Everyone has been called and Amy has been great sharing messages online, but still nothing.

Three days and there has been no contact.
The police spoke about how I could contact victim support and I broke down and cried.
The word victim just eclipsed everything else.
How could my Laura be a victim?
We just argued and it was nothing.
I've barely eaten. Each time I try my stomach lurches and I can’t.
Every time the phone rings I jump to it, but it’s either a cold caller or someone asking for an update.

A week has gone past and the stress is leading me to feel slightly unhinged.
For two nights now I have went out and walked the streets looking for her.
Hours spent in the rain going down every road and showing the odd person I meet in the early hours of the morning a photograph of her.
No one has recognized her.
I haven’t slept in over fifty hours.  
The police have been supportive, as have friends and family.
My sister visited and slept on the couch last night.
She cried for over an hour straight as I tried to give her tea and be the strong one.

The police called today. It’s been ten days since Laura walked out.
A police woman stood in my living room and told me that there was a body that matched the description of my daughter and if I could come with them I could assist with them either confirming or ruling this out.

It was her.
She would look like she was sleeping if it wasn't for the bruising.
I sat in a room holding a cup of something warm that I couldn't remember anyone giving me.
In fact I couldn't remember walking to the room.
A police officer fidgeted a bit in front of me and then explained how they had two men in custody. He said men, but they are nineteen years old.
Just kids themselves.
They had been drinking and on the way home one had went to urinate in an alley and found Laura in a sleeping bag.
Apparently there were some words and he started to kick her and his friend joined in.
Someone passing by alerted the police and had given a statement.
Allegedly one of the men was shouting that she should go home to her own country.
Called her a filthy beggar.
It makes no sense.
She died in the ambulance because one, or both of them, had repeatedly stamped on her head.

I was offered a lift home and I sat quietly in the back seat.
As we arrived on the outskirts of town I noticed a sign outside a newsagent that said ‘Hunt beggars out of Ayr’.
Was this my Laura they were taking about?
In the space of ten days had my beautiful daughter become something that should be hunted like an animal, a vile creature that deserved to be put down?
I’m trying not to blame anyone, but it’s difficult.

I've always thought the guy who sits outside Greggs asking for change was a nuisance, but he is someone’s Laura.
There will be a mother and a father somewhere who might be looking for him.
Maybe a brother or sister who he has lost touch with and would dearly like to meet him.
If this is the case then I hope they find him. I hope they all get to spend some time together, mend bridges, start afresh, put all that has went before behind them.

I hope he isn't my Laura. 

But he could be couldn't he?
No one knows what led him to that point in his life.
He's just a filthy beggar.
Less than human

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