My World Ended in a River: Is This Me? (Prologue)


I open the door and run. The suburb is unfamiliar; I don’t know where to go. My mind is a blur as hot misery whips into my eyes, like sleet in a storm. My bare foot lands on a concrete footpath, a tear splats beside it; which way?

He races out the door after me, no time to hesitate … left … heart and arms pumping as my feet barely touch the ground, tears landing well behind me leaving a trail of my misery. I sprint for my life, down this unknown street and he gives chase at full speed. Hatred and pain fuel my lungs and everything seems to spin as I turn and scream … at him. “Stop chasing me!”

The shock of my vocal power momentarily stuns him, but he quickly recovers and the chase resumes. I must get away. The grief is so intense that confusion takes hold, I slow, gasping for breath, attempting to understand where I am and what is happening. He sees my weakness and speeds up, reaching forward to grab me. Heartache screams from the depths of my soul and out through my vocal cords. “Don’t touch me!”

I keep running … down toward the river. The water is filthy and there is certain to be debris beneath the murky surface, my feet may be sliced open, but that seems so insignificant that it is almost irrelevant – my heart is already ripped apart.

The river pulls me in, the liquid filth splashes at my ankles; it’s on my side, offering me protection. I turn, dear God, he’s coming in after me. The water is up to my knees, it is now covering his feet. It is up to my hips, now his knees are wet. My waist is underwater and my clothes are waterlogged as I struggle to lift my knees high enough to clear the surface. He is also floundering, yet determined as he closes the gap between us. I scream for the whole neighbourhood to hear, but even the houses seem frightened as they sit perfectly still, their square windows unblinking, strangers’ eyes, pretending not to see. But their silence bears witness to their discomfort at the frenzied scene unfolding before them.

Deeper; the water claws at my chest as it growls at his waist. It’s too deep; do I try to run or start to swim? My clothes are so heavy—my heart is even heavier. He is just a few metres from me now, I swing and push at the water with my arms flailing about in my attempt to run forward; he forces himself toward me, reaching out as I try one last time to escape. Dirty water splashes everywhere as the depths call me in; may the darkness below steal me from the blackness above. I do not resist the water which is now up to my armpits, I release my body from the surface and give myself over to it; in that very moment, right before my head goes under, he launches forward and grabs my arm. I scream with all my might, “LET GO OF ME!” But he won’t. His grip is strong—my skin burns. Just the feel of his touch revolts me. “Don’t touch me!” I howl as I yank my arm with all my strength. New pain rips deep as I almost break my wrist.

His powerful grip tightens.

Would you like to read more? Details on part one of my memoir, Is This Me? available here.

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