I don’t remember what day it was. Facebook tells me it was a weekend. At least that is when my sister uploaded her photos from her trip to Auckland.
I had not seen her in 10 months. Auckland is busy. I was trying to finish my degree. My parents can vouch for me. I barely skype them because I am so busy. So it was a special occasion.
Now I took one phycology paper in my undergraduate studies (which I failed) though there are things I remember. Like the more you tell a story the more diluted it becomes. Hence the idea that you should write down traumatic incidences down ASAP. So this story has been told many times. This is what I remember currently.
You should know that I still have nightmares about this night. That locks on doors make me feel safe. That I hardly ever sleep in the nude (though I totally would) because I am scared of what might be in my door way. It is slowly going away.
So my sister was up from Nelson for the first time in 10 months. She had arrived and stayed one night. She was asleep in our bed and Jamie and I were on the couch enjoying an evening in front of the TV. A and B were in their room and Emma was down the hall asleep. Full house one might say.
I was almost falling asleep when Emma walked into the lounge and asked if I could talk to someone on the phone for her. I got up followed her to her room where she sat down on her bed and put the phone to my ear.
“Hello Seren, this is Stacy from the crisis team are you happy to talk to me?”
I have never pulled a poker face in my life till this moment. Looking at Emma I smiled very gently. Mother Duck was here.
Stacy explained that Emma had been prescribed sleeping pills because her anxiety had been keeping her awake at night. She went on to say that due to the current environment of the house Emma was feeling on edge, scared and unable to rest.
She had since taken a whole weeks worth of sleeping pills.
Stacy followed quickly with “it isn’t a suicide attempt, she just really wanted to sleep and rest, Emma told me that and I believe her.”
The current environment of the house was horrible. Dirty, tension and no one would sit down to clear the air. Because it wasn’t like we were all adults or anything.
Stacy said she can not asses the situation since she is not there in person. So I asked should I take Emma to the hospital. The response was a yes and that she would call ahead for us because Emma was become very agitated.
I walked out to Jamie, grabbed a jumper from our room and paused to watch my sister blissfully sleep for a moment. Kissed Jamie on the head, he was very sleepy and walked Emma to the car. We got in and I turned the radio down low as she smoked a cigarette. She was quiet but every time she looked at me I smiled. She pulled her knees to her chest as I drove to the hospital.
It was about 10pm when we walked through A&E. Emma had her vitals taken and multiple private conversations with the doctors. She was hooked up to a couple of machines and had an IV popped into her arm.
I explained to the doctor in private that Emma would try make a run for it. She had at the end of the day escaped the psych unit multiple times. She needed a security guard. The doctor looked at me kinda like I was stupid. But Emma had taken herself to the ‘toilet’ which was really outside to have a cigarette. When she was found by security she was all smiles and jokes. Cunning bitch to say the least.
After a couple of hours the Doctor explained she would need to stay overnight for observations and that she would need to be seen by the hospital’s psychiatric unit in the morning. So we said our goodnights and I made sure she had everything and that the doctor would call me if needed. I walked out of those hospital doors for the 3rd time that month to get back into the car.
I drove home thinking “what the fuck am I doing with my life? My boyfriend is at home, my sister is at my house and I am mothering someone else’s child.”
I pulled into the car port, walked into the house, moved my sister to the couch and moved Jamie from the couch to the bed. Put my PJs on and passed out.
Then there was a bang. A silhouette of a figure stood in the doorway and then there was the screaming. High pitched, angry and aiming directly at me in bed.
I sat up, wide eyed and stared at this person. It was A. She was holding onto the door frame screaming at me.
“move the fucking car, I told Jamie you aren’t allowed to park there. Wake up and move that pile of shit”
I leaped out of bed and immediately started to apologize. I grabbed the keys and headed for the door making sure to move quick. But she didn’t stop.
“I fucking told him, who do you think you are? This is my house, my carport, not yours. Now hurry up.”
I was grasping the door handle when she stared at me through the window and I could see that something was not adding up.
I drove down the road and to find a park in Ponsonby is near impossible as no one has off street parking. It took a 3-4 minute walk in barefeet to get back to the house. The front door was wide open and I could see the kitchen/ lounge lights on. I closed the door, saw B in his room on their bed and I walked to our bedroom. I thought I would check on my sister. She would surely be awake. I was saying to my sister that she shouldn’t worry as everything was sorted now. That she should grab some sleep her flight was at 8am. Thats when A started at me again.
“How dare you think that you can park in the car port when I told Jamie before we went out that the car was to be moved. You think you own this house don’t you?”
“No I don’t. Jamie hadn’t told me and when I got home as he was asleep.”
“Dont give me that bull shit. You knew, you wanted me to react this way.”
“Honestly, no. My sister is trying to sleep. If you want to talk about it we can do it in the morning since its now 1am.”
“No no, we are going to talk about it now because you bitch need to learn a lesson.”
My sister being my sister butted in as she often does and said:
“please don’t talk to my sister like that.”
I then saw a snap change in her. Like a switch was flicked on and that girl just went from 0-100. She turned from me to her. Walked slowly and said:
“who the fuck you think you are? this is my house, my roof, you are sleeping on my couch and you have no fucking place here, your slumming off us because you are cheap like the whole Powell-Jones family. I’m sure of that now.”
My eyebrows raised and knew if this didn’t calm down in the next 0.002 seconds all hell was going to break lose.
You know when you watch something happen in front of you and you imagine 4000 different ways it could play out in a few seconds. So I acted.
“A, go to bed. Clearly you are intoxicated and not thinking straight. Think what you want but we will talk about this in the morning as there are things you do not know or understand.”
The she turned to me and said:
“fuck that I want your shitty sister out now.”
Then this all happened in slow motion to me.
She launched herself at my sister.
All 5 foot 3, size 6 white girl wasted self.
I could see her claws.
I jumped like a mother fucking cat. In my head all I had running was “swiper no swiping”.
She got her hands on my sister but I was right there. Pushed that girl off. She was small and I was wound up. I watched her stumble and then pick up a bottle of wine.
#real talk – I thought she was going to bottle and stab me and my sister. Instead she swung the bottle around yelling at house angry she was and that she was calling the police. She ran down the hall to her boyfriend and slammed the door behind her.
I looked at my sister and said “go to sleep, you can’t deal with this.”
She said: “na fuck that little bitch she needs a punch in the head.”
My sister cares a lot. She loves me a lot. Punches to the head weren’t going to help.
So I took a deep breath, walked down the hall and knocked on their door. A was screaming at B to call the police and he was just like “come to bed, lets deal with this in the morning.”
She went quiet and opened the door, looked me up and down and said “I hope this is your notice”.
I smiled and said “no.”
I then took another breath and replied with:
“the reason Jamie didn’t tell me that I was to NOT park in the car port was because I was in hospital with Emma.”
Then I let that lil bitch sit on that burn for a second. I followed with:
“she overdosed on her sleeping pills and has to stay over night. she did this because she is scared of this house, the environment that we have all created. the poor girl just wanted to sleep and I for one completely understand her situation. so please let us talk about this in the morning and I will explain everything. I am sorry for parking in the car port. I did not know.”
Then I witnessed something that still makes my skin crawl. She switched.
“oh my god, is she okay, what happened? can we go see her? we need to be with her!”
She starts yelling at B to get out of bed and get ready to go to the hospital.
I said that can’t go tonight as they won’t let them in, she can take visitors in the morning and we need to create a home for her to come back to.
A looked at me up and down again:
“what sort of person leaves a helpless 19 year old in the hospital? oh thats right you are Seren Powell-Jones, clearly some scum.”
Then closed the door in my face. I stood there for about 3 minutes listening to her debate with him over if they should go or not. They decided not to go.
I dragged myself back to bed.
Jamie was sitting in bed and that when I broke.
I begun to cry. I felt like someone watch jumping up and down on my chest and thats when the anxiety crawled into my throat. I couldn’t talk. My sister sat on our bed and said how she was so sorry.
But now I couldn’t breathe. I was having a panic attack.
Then I experienced the worst cycle to date.
I would be calmed down by Jamie. I would almost have my breath and then I would have flashbacks. Oh her in the doorway. Oh her launching herself at my sister, then they begun to change. The wine bottle was broken, my arms would bleed from her cutting into me. She was so aggressive and there was nothing I could do to stop her.
Then I got out of control. I became Emma, erratic and unpredictable. I looked at Jamie, said we have to leave, go to a hotel, move the duchess in front of the door. Lock ourselves in. I needed my sister. I thought I would hear her being murdered through the door.
I became paralyzed with flashbacks and fear. This went on till 5 am.
My sister woke me to tell me that she was leaving. Her best friend was here to take her to the airport. She left safely.
That morning Jamie and I snuck out of our own home and drove Al’s Deli where I was a complete zombie.
We ate breakfast in silence because if he brought up what had just happened. I would cry and begin to shake.
The worst part was that we had to go back. To that house, to those people.