Hundreds of Butterflies. Chapter I
Here I am; I am a nineteen year old woman sat on a train. To anyone else on this train I am just a girl, a young student travelling home for Christmas. I have my books with me, and bags of presents for the people I love, My long light brown hair is tied in a ponytail and I'm wearing flared dungarees and a red rolling stones t-shirt. I doubt, if anyone asked them, that any of the other people on this train would guess that two and a half years ago, I kidnapped a 10 day old baby girl. But I did, and now I'm sat on this train, about to tell you my story.
My name is Rebekah Collins, I'm 19 and I'm in my first year studying Social Sciences at Kent University. Today is December the 15th 2010 and I'm on my way home for Christmas.
When I was Sixteen years old I gave birth to a baby girl, but this story starts before that, you see in order for you to understand what I did, you first have to know why I did it.
I grew up in Crawley, West Sussex, with my mother Esther Collins, my father John Collins and my sister Ruth Collins. My parents were always religious, they had very strict Christian values, though they may have been a bit more fanatical about it than most. When my sister and I were young we were raised in a happy household, there were a lot of rules, but it wasn't until my sister Ruth, seven years my senior, was about fifteen that they began to cause problems.
My sister started to go through normal teenage issues, she wasn't a bad kid, but she wanted to be a normal one, and for my parents, that just wasn't an option.
My sister wanted to go out with her friends and have fun, she wanted to go to parties and go shopping. She never smoked or took drugs, she skipped school occasionally, but that was mostly a reaction to my parents overprotective-ness. The biggest issue with Ruth that my parents had was her clothing, Ruth always loved fashion, and she hated the long skirts, blouses and cardigans our parents made her wear. She wanted to wear the kinds of clothes she saw in the magazines and shop windows, she also loved textiles, she would spend her textile lessons creating beautiful little skirts and gorgeous tops. She was great at it too! She would put them on under her dowdy outfits and wear them when she was out with her friends.
My parents nearly pulled out all their hair trying to deal with what they saw as radical teenage rebellion, but nothing could have prepared them for what happened one Sunday afternoon. I was ten and my sister was seventeen, she had been planning with my parents which University she would be attending. They wanted her to go to York, where we have relatives who could keep an eye on her, and study something like Medicine or Teaching.
Ruth sat our parents down one Sunday after church, and told them that she had been accepted into the University of Brighton to study Fashion and Business Studies and that she would be enrolling in September. My parents did not approve of her course choice, they thought that fashion was frivolous and vain. And when they asked her why she wanted to go to Brighton instead of York, Ruth bit the bullet and told our parents that she was a lesbian, and that she had known for a while but hadn't had the courage to tell them.
My parents just couldn't accept that this was who Ruth was, and there was nothing to be done about it, instead they arranged to send her to a church program for ministering to the sexually broken called 'Love in action.' Ruth refused and a huge argument ensued, which amongst other things, led to my sister being thrown out of the house, and not spoken to by my parents again.
My sister stayed with friends over the summer, and took a summer job as a sales assistant at Top Shop, then when September came around Ruth started her Fashion and Business Studies course at Brighton University. Ruth and I kept in touch, she sent me emails, to my school address. We both knew that if she tried to write to me at home our parents may find out and stop it.
My parents in turn seemed to forget about Ruth completely, they had no contact with her, and other than occasionally reminding me that I didn't want to turn out anything like her, they never spoke about her either. After my sister left our home, my parents seemed to become even stricter, determined I guess not to let me stray from the 'right' path. My parents stopped me seeing any of my friends, the only social events I was allowed to attend outside of school and church were church organised and chaperoned youth events. My parents got rid of our television and began to completely structure my days.
After school I was to come right home and do my homework, then read (parentally approved books obviously) until tea time, then after tea I was to help with the washing up and other chores. Saturdays were spent as a family, occasionally we'd go somewhere or do something, but it was usually just grocery shopping, baking, cleaning and gardening.
It was suffocating, I'm sure my parents believed that reining me in to that extent would help keep me in line, but it did nothing but the opposite. I hated having no control over my own life and I started acting out. I would lie to my parents about where I was going and who I was with. I asked my sister to make and send me nice clothes as I had no money to get my own. She would sent them to her old school friend Michelle, and Michelle would pass them on to me.
I would tell my parents that I was going to youth group, or bible study at a friends house, and instead my friends and I would go to the park and hang out drinking and smoking. I would change my clothes before going home and carry body spray and breath freshener so my parents wouldn't smell the smoke and larger on me. This was easier to keep up than you may realise, and I started going to parties without my parents ever realising what was going on.
When I was almost fifteen I met a boy at one of these parties, his name was Nicholas Grey, at the time he was seventeen. He was studying mechanics at College, he seemed so grown up and mysterious to me, he was tall with dark brown shaggy hair, a five o'clock shadow and he drove his own car! I was instantly smitten. After being friends for a while we started seeing eachother, we would go to the park and talk for hours. I'd lie with my head on his stomach and he'd stroke my hair, while we talked about everything. I told him all about my crazy parents and instead of being freaked out, he was really supportive.
It didn't take long for me to fall in love with him, and on my sixteenth birthday, just over a year after we first met and about nine months into our relationship, we slept together for the first time. We'd been together for a long time and I felt completely safe with him, we were in love, and I was so grateful to him for wanting to wait until I was sixteen that I was happy to give myself to him. The night we made love or the first time, my sixteenth birthday, was the happiest and most magical of my life.
It hurt, but Nicholas was so gentle and understanding it wasn't his first time, but he guided me through lovingly and gently. It made me so happy.
That was until about a month later, when I found out I was pregnant...