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Ryan's Story

Chapter 7

Year 12 rolled around soon enough and we were now back at the top of the food chain. It was awesome to be back at School and back to seeing my mates. I was doing 4 level 3’s and felt like I was doing Ok….the advice from Mrs. Mac was really helping.

The tension with my guardians was getting worse. They made it as uncomfortable as possible for me. One Friday I was at the Whitehouse waiting to get picked up to go home as usual. Hours passed and no one came which was unusual to say the least. I rang home but there was no answer. Eventually one of the brothers gave me a lift home. No one was there, the house was locked up and after I got in through a window there was no food in the house. I rang the shack and found out that they were there, my Uncle sarcastically said that he had just assumed that I wouldn’t want to go to the shack anymore after I hitched home. Maybe I should go stay with the Lawsons.

That’s exactly what I did. I was pissed off though….I was truly sick of this bullshit now.

A few months later my Uncle announced that I would be unable to go anywhere over the weekend as I would be digging up the old driveway so that they could put a new lawn in. They hired a jack hammer and I was on it all Saturday. If you haven’t used a jack hammer it’s a shit job, they are heavy, your body is vibrating viciously the whole time, your palms blistering and it is ridiculously loud. I was on it from breakfast through to dinner with drink stops and lunch…..at least I didn’t have to speak to anyone….

By dusk I was completely and utterly exhausted and my hands were stinging but surprisingly my Uncle commented on what good job I had done. That’s nice I thought. I then got told to set the table so I did so. My Uncle then bellowed at me because I had put plastic Saxa Salt and Pepper shaker on the table. I’m pretty sure I gave him a pissed off teenage look then, for fucks sake I had just busted my ass for him all day and he’s yelling at me because of a salt shaker…..was the Queen dropping around for dinner or something??

Then he just cracked me, a swinging right hand around the face.

Fuck this. I wasn’t having this shit anymore.

I stepped forward, grabbed him by his collar and drove him back over the kitchen bench. I held him there on his back and yelled at him that if he ever touched me again I would punch the shit out of him. He looked completely bewildered and was staring straight at me, on his back and at my mercy. I let him go and backed away. He got up rushed at me and punched me in the face, there were pieces of tooth in my mouth and the taste of blood. I turned to go out the back door and he grabbed me by the hair and dragged me in that direction down the stairs. When we got outside I pulled away and we grabbed each other face to face, he was absolutely enraged. He was hitting me in the side of the head as we stumbled around the side of the house, saying through gritted teeth, “So you think your fucking good enough do you boy” “you’re fucking gone mate, gone”! I stopped him and pushed back, I then cocked my fist and was lined up on his face. I didn’t hit him though….I just couldn’t……..I had been in plenty of fights and punched plenty of faces but I don’t know if it was all the years of being forced to respect him but I just couldn’t bring myself to hit him in the face. He then punched me flush in the left eye, splitting me open. I kept wrestling him on the front lawn, I could hear my brother screaming that he was going to call the cops, my Aunt screaming something and the kids crying.

Then a car pulled into our driveway and the headlights shone directly at us fighting on the front lawn. It was Alf and her Grandmother, I didn’t know she was coming around but their arrival changed the situation entirely. My Uncle and I let each other go and I ran over to the car, I could still hear my brother crying and yelling as I got in and told Alf’s Grandmother to drive. Alf was staring at the scene wide eyed and her Grandmother just sat there…..I yelled at her to get out of there and she reversed out. I’m not sure how she got us to the Lawsons but she did, she was silent and shaking like a leaf. Alf was in tears and I was bleeding.

When we got there obviously the Lawsons were shocked. They were not violent people and weren’t used to this sort of thing. Mrs Lawson started patching me up and Mr Lawson said he was going to see my Uncle to sort this out. I told him not to but he did. He came back half an hour later and didn’t say much aside from the fact that I wasn’t going back there for a while. Thank fuck I thought!

Mr. Lawson didn’t talk about his meeting for a long time but it turns out it had been pretty unpleasant. He had been told that I was never ever to return and they were welcome to me. I was allowed back the next morning to collect the stuff out of my room but aside from that I was never again to go to the house. Alf and I went back in the morning and collected as much of my stuff as we could fit in her Mum’s Ford Laser and left.

I never stayed there again.

This was one of the most important and ultimately life changing days of my life. “You’re fucking gone mate” was dead right, I was gone and I was never coming back. This felt like the beginning of the rest of my life and it felt great. The Lawson’s kept saying that they were sure we could sort things out and I kept thinking why the hell would I ever want to sort anything out. The constant anxiety, conflict, confusion and hatred of living with my guardians was gone……I was free!

Often in my life it has often been the moments that appeared the most tumultuous, the most cataclysmic that, in hindsight, have given me the most opportunity. That night as I sat there bloodied and bruised I felt like the sun had finally come up and like tons and tons of weight had come off me. I had no idea of what the future held but at least it felt like I actually had one!

I walked away from that part of my life without any thoughts aside from that things were going to get better.

The Lawsons bought a little caravan and parked it out in the back yard. That was cool for a while but I eventually moved into a downstairs room that they had fitted out for me. During this time of living with the Lawsons I learned heaps…… not easily but I learned. I learned more about discussing issues without a fight. I learned that violence wasn’t the first go to option when there was conflict. I learned about being loved and accepting that without the suspicion that it was fake and would be short lived. I was learning how a good person lived day to day.

That was not to say that I wasn’t still a fair shit much of the time…I was and continue to be a stirrer, sometimes going beyond what was reasonable. I treated the place (and the pantry) like I owned it and Mr. Lawson struggled with having this big idiot eating all his food. What Mr. Lawson did do though was show me how to be a good man, in actions and in words. In addition he taught me how to drive.

The school was informed about the new living arrangements and life rolled on with boarding during the week and Lawson’s on the weekends. This was the happiest I had ever been in my life. Ever. I was trying my very best with my lessons and was going really well with 3 of my 4 level 3 classes. I had a weird Irish hippie teacher for Social Psychology and I barely understood a word he said. With exams coming up I was studying and finishing assignments when I went down lack a sack of shit whilst playing basketball and broke my wrist. My right wrist. My writing wrist.

Reports were made, options were discussed but in the end I didn’t have to sit my exams as I couldn’t write. I was going to be assessed via my years work and my school year was basically done! Excellent!!!!! Turns out I passed everything except Social Psych in which I got a lower pass. Oh well.

I pestered all my friends as much as possible during exams as I had no exams and finally the last day was upon us!! Time to party! We had a huge water/flour fight and then jumped in our cars to go and attack some other schools! First up was Sacred Heart, an all girls school with a stack of cuties in it! We arrive on mass to the disappointing news that they had the same idea and were out raiding as well. Anyway, onwards and upwards, back to the cars for the next target.

As I ran towards my car, a fine Mitsubishi Sigma, a mate of mine threw a water balloon at me. Being the athlete that I am I deftly avoided the moist missile by jumping directly into the path of Marcus DiMartino’s absolutely gorgeous XW Falcon sedan with was travelling at about 30kmh. No crumble zones in those old girls! The car took my legs out, I rolled over the bonnet and was deposited in an untidy heap on the side of the road. My ankle was ruined and I had plenty of cuts and bruises so that was the end of my days raiding. A trip to the emergency ward showed no breaks but plenty of ligament damage and an order to go home and stay off it. Go home on the last day of School?? Not attend the last school party ever?? I don’t think so!!

So, I loaded myself up on Panadeine Forte, grabbed a stack of booze and headed off to the paddock party to give it my all! Unfortunately after about 5 drinks my all appeared to have given and I was taken home, a dribbling mess by some kindly friends. Don’t mix booze and pain killers kids!

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