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  • Jana

Early Life... Part 2

I was re-united with my family after one year of intensive care. He quickly returned to his old habits of drinking and gambling.

One night, my mother told me, "one day, you will need to pack your bags and run out of this house as fast as you can" She would repeat it over and over.

Mother worked for a paper factory behind our bungalow at 72 Charles Street, Fitzroy, Victoria. She would walk down the bluestone laneway and leave us with a neighbour that bred pigs. Ruzica and Milan carried cut up pigs bodies in the kitchen and chop them into pieces in front of me. I sat gagging at the smell of pig skin and blood. It's no wonder I do'nt eat pork to this day.

My mother hid $20 underneath the front door mat from her wages. When my father questioned the missing $20 she told him that it was either she accept a pay reduction or the sack. It was the first time she had lied to my father.

That day arrived.

My father returned home from the pub around the corner and sank in his chair and fell into a deep sleep.

My mother quickly ran to our bedrooms and told us to pack our bags and run to the taxi. We boarded an airplane called TAA and arrived in Perth. Our uncle, Stanco took us to his home in Hamilton. I held onto my mothers skirt and twisted the ends onto my finger tip. I was very nervous of him and I did not trust his eyes and lips. He kept licking his lips and stared at me like a vulture would stare at a rabbit. Stanco arranged for my mother to work at a potato field immediatly which meant that I stayed with Stanco alone all day.

During the four days, Stanco asked me to sit on his lap while he was talking to my mother face-to-face. I refused instantly by shaking my head...and then I looked at my mother with worried eyes... but he grabbed my arm and pulled me towards him and then he gripped his hands on my waste and plonked me on his lap. His right hand slid under my thighs and he was touching me in places that made me feel very uncomfortable. I kept wriggling and moving away from him but his grip was hard around my waste.

I told my mother, he is touching me down there. My mother ignored me. I told her again, 'mum he is touching me here", and I pointed to the area of my personal region. My mother replied very angrily, "do you think it is better to live with your father". She frightened me with that stare and her tone of voice. My father might be angry at times but he never touched me there.

Four agonising days had passed.

There was a bagging sound coming from the front door. Stanco thought it was the police. Sound shook the windows and we all jumped up.

Stanco was flung to the floor when he opened the door. My father had a rifle in his hand and threatened to kill him. My sister and I were standing naked in the living room. I had told my father that I had to keep Stanco's feet warm without clothing. My father beat Stanco to the floor. There was blood everywhere.

Stanco is my mother's third cousins father and he was quiet aged. He lived alone and was in good health. He died a couple of years later when I was ten years of age.

We attended his funeral. Everyone wore black and there was wailing and screaming. One of the relatives threw themselves on his coffin. I thought it was disgusting.

When it was time to leave. I uttered in a loud voice. "I'm so glad he is dead'. My mother slapped my face and said, "He was a good man and he helped us". I uttered to myself, "he was a dirty man'.

It was eleven years later that I truly forgave Stanco.... more about this later when I bend my knee before Christ.

My father takes us into his car and drives off like a mad man. 6KY radio is blaring and he is swearing non stop. He says to us, 'your mother is making me do this, it's her fault. She left me". I see the rifle sitting at the front seat. He has been smoking and drinking. We drive what seems like forever across the Nullarbor - 90 mile stretch of unmade road, there was no trees in sight and red dirt that stretched for miles. He stops the car in the middle of the desert. He gives us liquor, it looks like water but tastes like petrol. It touches my lips I feel dizzy and vomit. My father tells us to get out of the car. We stagger to the red dirt. He asks me to hold onto the rifle. He says, "You're mother is making me do this".

I'm frightened, my sister starts screaming but soon starts to doze with drunkenness. I stand tall and strong. My father comes to me and says, "you are strong, you are like me'. He continues to yell and pace, he points the gun at me and says, "Your mother left me, no woman leaves a muslim man". I lose my voice I cannot scream. I feel fear in my body but I try not to cry or show emotion. My father tells me to dig a hole. We stand in it. He is very emotional and swears f.... f.... f.... out loud. He fires a shot in the air. He tells us to get into the car. I had gone to the toilet in my pants.... I feel dirty. My father gives me liquor again and I fall asleep.

We arrive a 72 Charles Street, Fitzroy. Police are on walkie talkies and neighbours are out on the street wearing their bath robes. My father tells me to lay low. I see bright lights and vehicles everywhere. We drove off into the city all night and eventually parked near a park.