It was raining and the time was between 10:30 and 11:00 pm. I’d just left the paradise balti house and was pretty much in a world of my own. I’d stuck my cap on and had my pony tail through the back, my ear phones were in and I wasn’t paying attention. I walked into the subway completely oblivious to the small kid that was stood leant against the far wall. When I got closer he approached me and mumbled something. I took my earphones out so I could hear what he was saying but he was talking nonsense. He kept asking me what I was doing and telling me that I shouldn’t be in the town, that it was his town and I shouldn’t be there. I tried to walk past him but he moved to get in my way.
In truth I panicked and ended up shoving past him so I could get out onto the street again. He pulled me around and ripped my hat off. Startled, he choked on the words ‘you’re a girl’. I said nothing, just turned around and was greeted by a punch in the nose. I went down like a sack of potatoes, my face just exploded in blood. When I finally got my bearings again I found myself scrunched up on the floor being kicked repeatedly.
I must have passed out because eventually they stopped, I don’t know why, maybe they were afraid they’d killed me or something. I got up and tried to wipe my face, I knew something was wrong because I couldn’t seem to breathe through my nose. One of them laughed and joked about the state of my face.
Rather absurdly I bent down and picked up my keys and wallet from the ground, I couldn’t find my hat. Even more absurdly I turned to the little guy who I’d met in the subway and asked from my hat back. There was a second of calm before I realised what I was doing and took off running towards the blockbuster store across the street. The security lock was on the door. I remember hammering my fists on the doors, frantically trying to get them to let me in. When they realised what was happening they opened the door. The woman behind the desk tried to phone the police and an ambulance but I wouldn’t let her. I asked if I could phone my dad instead.
He picked me up in the car, he didn’t bring my mom and he wouldn’t look at me. He took me to the hospital and left me there when my sister arrived. He drove straight back to the police station and reported it.
I sat in the A&E department with my sister in silence. I never loved her as much I loved her then.
A woman sat next to me and cried, she said it was a shame and she kissed my face. She was drunk.
I went to the toilet and washed my hands, when I saw my reflection in the mirror over the basin my life changed. I wasn’t an immortal kid any more, I wasn’t one of these people who always walked around thinking that it was never going to happen to them. I became a statistic. I became damaged and scarred. I became afraid.
My left eye was shut completely, nothing was visible, not even the tips of eyelashes. It was just a huge ball of hideously discoloured purple flesh, swollen to massive proportions. My right eye was swollen slightly less and I could still see through a triangle of blood filled eyeball. My nose was swollen and I had a clear, obvious foot print on my jaw and cheek. Even my ears were purple from bruising.
I had to wait two weeks for the swelling to go down and discover if I could still see or not. In the end I had a fractured skull, a fractured eye socked and a broken nose. I went home and hugged my mom. She cried. I put ice on my eye and slept on the floor of my parents bedroom.
I was twenty years old and had to sleep at the foot of my parents bed because of my fear. I’m more ashamed of that than any other part of that entire night.