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Prose Netball & Heroin


Nov 5, 2020
I am at a water slide park with my parents and my oldest brother. I am excited. It feels like this is the first time I’ve been excited in years. Like I’m a little kid again. I take them on a ride that is kind of like a video game. There aren’t enough of us, so we are paired up with randoms. There is a big fat old British guy sitting next to me. He is immediately intimidating, like someone out of a Guy Ritchie film. Seems like the sort of guy that goes out of his way to find an excuse to get physical with people.

We all choose our guns as the ride takes off. There is a big screen in front of us. I am eager to explain the rules of the ride to my family, but the fat man next to me beats me to it. He starts loudly dictating how we should play. I sink into my shell and let him take center stage. I try not to let it bother me.

We start blasting enemies on the screen. The guy next to me is yelling out commands. I am distracted by his presence. He is clearly drunk. When the game ends, he is irate. He isn’t happy about being paired up with amateurs. Our individual stats pop up on the screen. Everyone can see I have one of the lowest scores. He mocks my performance.

I am embarrassed and angry. I don’t say anything to him. Nobody says anything to him. But he wants to get a reaction out of me, so he keeps going. Leaning right up into my ear, he whispers something. I can’t make out the words, but what he says deflates my soul. He whispers something else, then he opens up his disgusting stubbly mouth and wraps it around my ear. I freeze.

As the ride slows to a stop, I can feel his dry old tongue lapping at me and the heat of his breath in my ear canal. Half of my ear is in his mouth... I want to scream, but I say nothing until he finally releases me and leans back on his seat chuckling under his breath like he owns me.

Some tiny part of me is aroused, but that just adds to the shame. I have been pushed beyond my breaking point. I can’t contain it. I jump out of my seat and explode at him, screaming at the top of my voice that he’s a disgusting piece of shit. I am shaking, my eyes wild.

My family doesn’t ask me what’s wrong. They are embarrassed and I am embarrassed for them. Another episode they have to deal with. I’m riddled with shame. But I can’t help myself. I hate them for making me feel this way. I hate them more than I hate the guy that just molested me in a theme park. Half of me hates myself for being a burden and the other half hates them because (in their eyes) I’m nothing more than that. A burden.

There are hundreds of people around us, waiting to go on the ride. Happy families, looking on horrified at the spectacle. I’m ruining everybody’s day once again with my tantrums. As we evacuate this public nightmare, my dad finally asks me what happened. I look around at the faces surrounding us. Hundreds of eyes fixed on me, judging me. Everybody feeling sorry for my family.

I tell my dad I don’t want to talk about it here, but he doesn’t listen. He wants an answer. He doesn’t care that I’m upset. He just wants an explanation. So, I snap at him. The f-word and the c-word fly out of my mouth, along with some of their other friends from the alphabet. I am overflowing with shame. I make sure he understands that I’m not going to explain it to him with everyone listening.

As we walk through the gate, I glare over at the fat man one last time. He grins at me, clearly proud of himself. Then he purses his lips and kisses the air, dragging a thick tongue over his dry flaky lips. I see it in slow motion.

My brother says nothing, but he makes sure to let me know how much of a fuck up I am.

We walk in silence away from the crowd. My mother, clearly utterly disinterested, asks me what happened. They all stopped caring years ago. I know it doesn’t matter what I say. They just want to get back to their fucking holiday. But, I have to tell her. I can’t keep it to myself.

She fakes pity badly. As always her performance is carefully balanced on the fence between genuine care and utter disinterest. I can’t prove that she doesn’t care. She makes sure she can maintain deniability. Once again, it’s all in my head.

I tell her half of my ear was in his mouth. Not just my earlobe. He was up so high I could hear the sandpaper skin of his tongue dragging across me like I was listening to a shell at the beach. But, she doesn’t care. She clearly just wants to play her part and move on.

We are standing outside a restaurant. The sliding doors open and a little girl walks past holding hands with her parents. She is wearing a party hat that ties around the chin. I hate her. I hate her mother and I hate her father. Tears are streaming down my face. The little girl stares at me as they walk past, not sure what she’s looking at. I wait until they’re out of earshot before continuing.

I ask my mother how she’d feel if this happened to her. What if some creepy old guy sucked on her ear and dad treated it like nothing? But she gives me a look like I’m being ridiculous.

I am not angry about the fat man. That’s not what this is about anymore. I am alone. I am a burden. My family are cardboard cutouts. They are actors hired by society to play people who care. I want to rip my hair out and spit in their faces. I want to cut myself and bleed out in front of them.

There is no outlet for my pain. All of these feelings just get squashed together and I push them down deep inside me. It is like swallowing a brick.

This holiday is over. I’m not going to pretend to be happy anymore. I just want to get high.

I wake up alone in my bed. I lie there for some time, angry and depressed, dissecting what just happened. I lost count of my family nightmares a long time ago, but this one was different. This time, when I wake up, I'm not ashamed or confused about what happened.

When she was in her late sixties, my mother told me about how her parents never attended her netball games. They supported her brothers, but not her. When she told me this, Grandad was already dead. She never let it go. She was still bitter about it when Nanna passed away.

When I was going through hell withdrawing from heroin on Christmas day, they said I could come stay with them at the beach house. Then, they kicked me out because I was unstable. My dad said he would take me home. I cried and I apologized but they’d had enough. There was nothing I could say or do to change the situation. So eventually I got in the car.

I tried to talk to him as we drove, but he wasn’t really listening to me. I told him about the sexual abuse I experienced during puberty, but he didn’t believe me. This was the first time I’d ever told a family member about it. He pretended to be supportive, but there was no genuine emotional reaction. If he believed me, surely I would be able to see it in his eyes. My family had long since learnt to treat everything I say as suspect. I was the boy who cried wolf, now a man still crying.

A short distance into the 100 km drive home, I told him to pull over and let me out. At first he refused, but I persisted. I told him, if he didn’t stop I would open the door and jump. I don’t think he believed this, but it was good enough for him to justify letting me out of the car. He didn’t really care about my pain. I was no longer his son. Just a burden. But he still had to play the part of a supportive father to appease his conscience. There was social obligation to think about. This was more than his father would have done for him and, therefore, it was more than sufficient.

My mother wouldn’t understand him letting me out of the car, so he drove beside me for a while but I told him to fuck off. I told him I would jump over the nearest fence and walk through a horse paddock. That way he couldn’t follow me any more. This proved sufficient and he drove away.

I kept thinking about my mother’s netball games.

Nanna was at the beach house that Christmas and she witnessed me losing my shit for the first time. What a terrible job my parents did raising her grandson. She was a witness to my mother’s failures. She never said anything, but that was Nanna’s style. She didn’t judge you to your face, but she didn’t need to. Her silence said everything.

If she wasn’t there that day, maybe I wouldn’t have walked 100km home on Christmas Eve. If Nanna was someone else – if she went to those netball games – maybe my mother would love me unconditionally.

Everyone is haunted by the idea of repeating their parents mistakes. My mother was determined to do a better job than her mother. And she did. She was there, in the crowd, when I played hockey. She ticked all the right boxes. But, I never got the emotional support from her that I needed.

I am determined to do whatever I have to do for my daughter.

No matter how painful, there is always something to learn.

There is always a silver lining.
Last edited:


Apr 2, 2009
Where the light trips fantastic
That description of that lecherous pig molesting you really grossed me out; I could see it so clearly. It sounds like some kind of emotional neglect was going on and your parents sound like they are the "appearances-must-be-maintained-at-all-costs-types." You deserved to be heard and it sounds like empathy was sorely lacking on their part.

"My family are cardboard cutouts. They are actors hired by society to play people who care" is probably the line that hit me hardest though. I know exactly what you're talking about (thankfully my parents aren't like that). There is some of that "appearances must be maintained" that I grew up with though, because my mother grew up with that and it was somehow hardwired into her.

My parents weren't in a loving relationship (Dad is gay and it was a stay together for the kids scenario - they should have gotten divorced way earlier. I'm still not sure I know what a healthy relationship looks like).

Anyhow, I enjoyed the honest writing (I am assuming this is non-fiction).

Either way, thanks for the contribution.

December Flower

Oct 22, 2020
I understand your pain, but it really sounds like your parents are doing their best to support you however they can. They just can't understand what you're going through. I haven't been on a family holiday since I was 12.

I was kicked out of home when I was 18, because I had a very strong meltdown caused by a sensory overload(triggered by a fight)
My parents called them "tantrums", never believed the whole Aspergers diagnosis, just thought my doctors wanted more money. They don't really believe in mental illness altogether, they just can't understand it.

I really think your parents are trying, and they seem to be taking care of you, in what way they are capable, not truly giving up on you. I think you should forgive them for their failures, they just can't imagine what it's like to be in your shoes, and they never will be. They're just human, too, and just like you, they make mistakes.

The fat guy sounds very disgusting, though. I'd have had a meltdown, too, hands down. I can't stand strangers touch me, let alone my ear. Stay the fuck away from my ears.