And not a tear was shed.

On Christmas Day 2016 a woman died, and that news made me very happy.

That is, I learnt about her death six months later after I came across her death notice on, and it stated she died after a short illness in hospital. I’m not related to her, and I hadn’t seen her for well over thirty years. But she was a person of influence in my life, and I don’t believe her death has changed that.

She was in charge of all of us, when we were six, seven and eight years old, and she hated each and every one of us. She thumped us, abused us, insulted us, hated us, told us God saw our sins, and did her very best to show that hatred each and every day.

As you may gather, she was our teacher. But she taught us the lesson that a lot of people on this island are taught; that they are disgusting, hideous failures, despised by all right-thinking people and that they will only be good when they are gone. She hated the kids who were poor, who were quiet, who were shy, who were unable to use their words back. I saw, years later, the face of a child who had been hit so much that they had become brutalised; something inside had been broken, and that was the aim; may the ‘violence of me’ become the ‘violence of you’ and thus we may be hideous together; a viral infection of mental illness.

A brief memory; she would refuse kids the bathroom. Seven years old, hitting them over and over, for needing to go to the loo. Imagine your brutal nature if you think this is right and proper. You hit seven years old who need to go to the loo, and then take your tea in the staff room.

I met someone from my home town on the stairs at work last week, and she and I shared stories about this woman. She quoted the thing she would say over and over again to me, and the thumps came right back to me-


The thumps would be at the back of the head, at the point where your skull met your back, where the bone would bounce the most on impact. That’s what I felt when my friend said those words. And I had been singled out; no friends could reach me afterwards, I believed what I had been told, and life was always divided into the BEFORE and the AFTER of her. I had looked to friends and family to tell me that it was not true, and they told me it must be my fault (not a strange response at the time). And so I still hear her voice in my head over and over.

She gave me her disease, the disease of self hate, that can only see the worst even when it is just smoke. She is the absolute nadir of progress, growth or happiness; she is the worst because she brings out the worst in others. She is the antithesis of the divine, if the divine can ever be found to exist, because she will corrupt the divine when she finds it. And so the most dreadful part about her, I find, is the legacy she has left me with;

On Christmas Day 2016 a woman died, and that news made me very happy.

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