I can't imagine...

Ben at home on Tryfan

Ben at home on Tryfan

... what the parents of the two boys that have been charged with murder can be feeling or thinking right now. Similarly I can’t imagine what the parents of the two boys that were attacked can be feeling either - other than intense relief that the incident wasn’t any worse than it already is.

As I type this, I think, on reflection, that I can relate to how the 9 and 11 year old boys’ parents might feel. The pic of Ben above was taken when he’d recently turned 9. We were with Climbing Mark and Eva in North Wales on a delightful stroll, or big adventure, doing a circuit of Tryfan. We started from the car park and gone up the steep side, at one point a smidge of scrambling where we felt it prudent to rope Ben up, passed that outstanding phallus The Canon, and eventually topped out and had lunch with Adam and Eve. 

Though not perhaps the Garden of Eden, the view was pretty stunning and an inspiring, intoxicating if barren place to be, guarded by those two sentinels of rock; Mark did the leap from Adam to Eve, the rest of us passed...

..nothing so remarkable about all of that. However it was only two or perhaps three weeks prior to this photo being taken than I saw Ben for the first time in 3 years. Three years. Three long years when my heart was as hard and as cold as the stone that made Adam and Eve. Three years during which the very essence of my being was challenged, the core deep within started to come adrift, the roots started to let go, one by one... I could feel them giving up.

I’d given up. I couldn’t fight the system. Not anymore. I was exhausted. Defeated. What should have been commonsense had become nonsensical; nonsense had become the norm and the Queen of Diamonds in that crazy world, Joan Brown, the assigned social worker was as barking mad as the Mad Hatter himself. Decency was derided, truth drowned out by dogma, blinded by those innocent eyes of the Deceiver and her bastard boyfriend, narrow minded officials not accepting that they and their precious system could possibly be wrong; far from helping they exacerbated the situation, stoking the fire with a tide of inane, inaccurate reports, which threatened to take me down with the undertow...

Well fuck them. Fuck them all to hell and back.

The deep damage they did was incalculable, not just to me but to Ben too... he was a wreck. And it took a lot of time and patience to get him back on track, which I am delighted to say, he is. Whether I am, is another question.

However to survive I had to stop. In my mind I could feel the sharpness of the blades as they slid effortlessly through flesh, the warm water of a bath is supposed to dull the sensation... all it would have taken would have been for one or two more roots to slip... 

So I had to stop. And when I stopped I grieved. I grieved for the loss of the boys I loved. Knowing they were still alive was, strangely, little comfort... they may well have been dead, indeed effectively they were. I grieved but there was no funeral. I grieved and there were rivers of bitter tears, but no comforting service. I grieved and talked and talked and talked... and finally, finally, the tears stopped and the talk stopped and I carried on regardless, full steam ahead and damn the torpedoes.

And now I look into his pure deep brown velvety eyes and can hardly bare the love I see, it pierces me through and through, I feel such a fraud.

But how would I feel had Ben turned out differently? What if it was he that had tried to kill another child? There, I have no idea at all.