There’s only so much time that can be spent curled up like a ball beneath a sink, even if the carpet is soft and the radiator’s on. I didn’t cry. I just tried to collect my breathing, slow breath in – hold for seven seconds. Seven seconds? I managed to increase from 1 to 4 seconds, but that was it… Slow breath out. I was dreadfully cold and the shivering turned to convulsive shaking. This was not good. Carefully, I stood up. No dizziness. OK, time to go to the kitchen and make a cup of tea, preferably without spilling boiling water all over myself. The kettle was full. Hurrah, one less thing to worry about. I began talking to myself so that I could focus on one thing only. Every small thing that took me away from the discovery upstairs had become incredibly important.
“Choose your favourite mug. Slice of lemon. CAREFUL! Teabag. Teaspoon. Pour with both hands. Take the teabag out. Go to the table. Sit. Drink. Now you can think.”
There was nothing to think about, really. Voldemort, my husband, former headmaster, fancied, fantasised about and, for all I knew, really enjoyed actually ‘getting down and dirty’ with pre-pubescent boys. A man whose professional life had revolved around being ‘in loco parentis’ to children had a completely un-parental interest in 50% of them. There was only one thing to do, only one thing that I could do. I had been a teacher. In any situation, professional or personal, I had always put children and their welfare first. I had to call the police.
I have since found out that some women find this course of action difficult, for whatever reason. This was, for me, the one thing that I found easy to do because it HAD to be done.
There was just one problem. I could only pick up my mug by using both hands. I was still shaking and I had filled it only half full precisely so that I wouldn’t spill anything. I could only pick up the phone using both hands and then, when I tried to hold it in my left hand and dial with my right, I kept dropping it. At that point, from somewhere, I remembered something about using the wrong hands to do something, in order to focus. So, I held the phone in my right hand and pressed 101 with my left. Then, still using my right hand to hold the phone to my ear, I waited.
It seemed hardly any time at all before a deep Yorkshire accent answered and then? All my words tumbled out: “My husband has been using his computer to look at little boys. Child porn. Please, I want someone to come and take it away.”
After asking for my name, address and telephone number, the policeman on the end of the line said, “You’re sure it’s nasty?”
“Oh, yes.” And then I began to cry. “I’m so sorry for crying. I thought I could be grown-up about this, but I can’t. Please can you send someone round?”
I was assured that there would be someone with me as soon as possible. Twenty minutes later, the PC who became my initial liaison officer arrived at the front door, apologising. “I’m sorry I’m a man, but the only woman officer we have on duty, this evening, is up the dale dealing with a nasty domestic. I’m happy to wait in the car until she arrives, if that’s what you’d like?” I asked him to come in and ushered him into the living room where he sat on my husband’s customary chair, filling it so much that it looked no more than a piece of children’s furniture. “Please be aware,” he said, sounding well-rehearsed, “that some websites, however distasteful are still legal.” I answered, “I understand that. What I have seen is definitely illegal. I’m sure of it.” We went upstairs and he asked me to switch everything on. The green shield-shaped icons pinged onto the screen, he sat down in front of it and I told him which ones I’d clicked. Then I stood to the side of the computer, looking at him, not the screen. He lasted a little longer than I had. Then he looked at his watch. “Why are you checking the time?” I asked. “Because I’m seizing your husband’s hard-drive and I have to make a note of the time.”
For the second time, that evening, my legs failed me and I ended up kneeling, in tears, on the floor. Suddenly, what I had known to be true just a few minutes before, had been confirmed by an officer of the law. There could be no mistake. I hadn’t realised that there had been a small part of me still hoping, still stuck in the Pandora’s Box of my psyche, that I had got it wrong. That box was now well and truly open and all hope, at that moment, was ripped from it. I was a complete wreck; crying, gasping for air, asking him not to take it then, but to come back the next day and take it when Voldemort was there. He explained, as gently as he could, that he had to take the hard drive with him. Although he didn’t doubt my innocence, protocol dictated that he had to remove it so that it couldn’t be tampered with. I put my hands to my face and stopped the howl that desperately wanted to burst out of me, while he reported back to base on his radio.
Thanks for reading, Lovely Ladies. It does get better, but not for quite a while.
Yours, The Tea Drinker. x