It was the range of colours that struck me, and, the centre, the centre was white. Well not white it was skin coloured and he was white so I call it white but really it was a pale insipid grey. A child, dirty, in a vest and shorts, hot, it was June 2007 and unlike this year it was a warm summer. It changed in July but this was June it was hot and there were colours. There was a bruise and there were colours.

I visualise the colours so easily, they are etched on my brain, there was a mottled purple, like the delicate fritillaria, looking so frail each year they bloom, it is always a wonder how they manage it. The was an Indian inkiness to the black-blue portion, almost like a borstal tattoo done with biro ink, or the female prisoners who hide the ink capsules in their arms to get a few days in the hospital or die trying. The red, like slates on an Italian villa in the mountains, terra cotta, with tones of weathering, of moss, of trapped dirt, of mistrals, and leaves. A colour I had never seen before imbued these former colours, this colour had the depth of lapis lazuli, with flashes of inky darkness, flecks of cream risotto rice, it reminded me of squid ink risotto I’d had one evening in Rome at Da Sergio’s, not the food but the colour of my mouth after it – black, white, blues and lumpy bits. Fluorescent yellow and green encircled the white centre.

Polymer chained crisp packets, if one were to recreate this as a piece of modern art, would have to be scrunched up and placed under the skin. It was bumpy, lumpy and looked so very sore. The child, ran away, thinking trouble was brewing, that it was his fault.

I turned to my life partner, the man who took full-time care of our family while I worked away.

“WTF is that? How did he do it? What has he been up to?”

Very quietly, very carefully, the man I had built my entire adult life with, said,

“I keyed him”

That’s enough, isn’t it, that would wreck a person. Not in my life, that isn’t quite enough. I met with my eldest child, my head whirring, keyed, keyed, keyed. We met at the bus stop, it was raining, it had started raining in my heart with the word keyed.

I was meeting my son away from the house, away from the home I shared with my family, because I needed advice and was fast discovering I was not that strong independent woman I thought I was. I shared the story to my son, expecting him to say something calming, soothing, something I could work with. He said,

“Why are you telling me this? I know this story. This is my life. He has been attacking me for five years.”

Now that is wrecked.

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