This week has been both storm-tossed and stormless. The storms have all been emotional in the pressure-cooker humid air, while the weather forecasters continually pushed back the arrival of expected thunderstorms.
My partner and I threw hurt at each other in an argument that had been brewing for weeks and finally exploded in a cyclone of resentful words. We both carry far too much baggage and this sometimes becomes a jostled, destructive pile like suitcases carelessly thrown into the hold of an airport shuttle coach. My partner finds these periodic explosions easy to recover from. It’s almost like he has purged himself and can then get back to normal. I take the pronouncements that we shouldn’t stay together to heart. I brooded on this, trying to imagine what my next step might possibly be, and then he beckons me over to start discussing designs for the refurbishment of our half-built kitchen. My heart can’t do these quick turnarounds anymore. It takes me a while to adjust. I get a little sick on rollercoasters these days.
Out in the yard I thought I’d made a breakthrough. While Rita has always carried out the strange stooping motion if we approach from a certain angle, the others have started doing it too. Their bodies dip to the ground and their wings are tucked in but raised to form a ‘u’ shape with their backs. When they’re in this position I can stroke them for a while. Their wings drop and their eyes half close as if they are relaxing. Last night I was told they take this position because they think I’m a cockerel. This has greatly disturbed me. While I haven’t seen chicken sex, I lived on a boat for years and saw plenty of ugly and violent mallard duck gang rapes. I’m hoping that my new chicken friends are not seeing me as a potential rapist.
A couple of weeks ago I looked up the man who raped me on Facebook. Periodically I want to know where he is. It was good to see that he remains thousands of miles away but horrifying to see he is now married. I feel terrible. I know she has experienced the same at his hands as I did. I know this because just before we split up he went to anger management counselling to try and keep us together. I left him while he was still going for these sessions. The counsellor was so disturbed and concerned for me by what he told her that she broke client confidentiality to contact me. She told me he had admitted doing the same things to his previous partners before me.
His new wife is large. Just a little more over-weight than I was by the time I left. I know she is in the cycle of being bought endless sweets and cakes, deterred from refusing his ‘gifts’ by the weight of what might happen if she steps on the eggshells of his fragile moods and ego. He will also be telling her that ‘fat girls smell different’ and she’s ‘alright as long as her belly doesn’t get bigger than her boobs’. Should I have gone to the police? Should I have reported him? Would it have made any difference? Would that large passive-looking woman with a possessive arm wrapped round her shoulder have been spared my fate?
The chickens seem to be happy. Yesterday we had our first 3-egg day. This made me feel happy too. I spent hours sitting in the garden in my new hammock chair with them pottering around about me while I read a book. It was extremely relaxing. I think my chickens are a form of anti-venom. Tranquiliser tablets in feathered form. I carry out my care duties for them with a sense of ease and comfort. They are wormed, get fruit, vegetables and herbs, and are given activities to keep them from being bored when shut in their run. They have a garden to explore when we’re home. They have rewarded us with delicious eggs that have cured my egg-phobia. They’re so fresh that they don’t smell eggy and I can eat them without wanting to vomit, thus banishing an annoying hang-over from my childhood. Another thing for which I am grateful. And though they cannot prevent the squalls from blowing in, Rita, Sylvia and Dr Sattler are becoming soothing and amusing life jackets in stormy seas.