The police picked up Rebecca walking across the bridge at two in the morning. They thought it was strange to see a girl in a school uniform out at that time, let alone half way across the river. Her clothes were soaked by the rain and her cheeks were reddened by the tears. When they first picked her up she gave them one word answers to their questions and while they were driving her home she said nothing. She just sat back and looked out of the window.
Rebecca’s mum stood in the doorway and watched the police car leave the street before she yelled at her daughter. “What were you thinking? Where were you gonna go, to your dad?”
“No.” Rebecca mumbled. She ran upstairs and changed out of her wet clothes. She heard a couple of doors slam downstairs. As she was wrapping her dressing gown around herself her phone buzzed. It was from Sophie.
“Am rly sry lv. I dint no they wer ther. U alrite? tb XxX”
Rebecca dropped down on her bed as she felt the tears pooling in the edges of her eyes again. Her head dropped into her hands and she wiped the tears with her palms. She could still see the jeering freckled face of Jake Leeman as he laughed at the photo on his phone and reached out for her. The image was burned into her memory and she knew she’d see it for the rest of her life. She squirmed as she remembered feeling his hand on her chest, his mates laughing along with the fun.
“I didn’t know you were a lezzer.” He’d said it loud enough to make sure everyone in the classroom heard it. Rebecca didn’t know how he did it, but he’d managed to put the picture on his phone onto the projector and beam it onto the wall. The whole class stared at the grainy picture of her and Sophie in the park. The boys laughed and jeered oi-oi’s while the girls wrinkled their brows and looked at her like she was some kind of deformed stillborn calf. She ran out of the room stayed out until first lesson. Whispers and prodding followed her around all day until dinner time when Jake and his mates cornered her and asked her to show them more.
“More of your dirty photos.”
“You took that picture, divvy.” She shoved past them then he grabbed her and thrust the photo close to her face. That was when he touched her. She pulled herself away and spat at his face. Off through the field she ran while they laughed and shouted jibes at her. She was off to see her girlfriend, off for more action with her, going to bring her back so they could all watch, so they said.
Rebecca text back saying “I love you but I dont know what to do. Im sorry xxxxx” after which, she pocketed the phone and trudged downstairs. Her mum had made a cup of hot chocolate, her way of apologising for yelling. She told Rebecca she was just worried. Rebecca sighed. The lump in her throat prevented her saying thanks.
“Come on, you can tell me. What’s gone on?” Her mum knelt in front of her. Rebecca took her mum’s hands in her own and after a deep breath, began at the beginning.
For my work at the University of Central Lancashire I had to write a handful of shorts about discrimination towards the disabled, religious beliefs and one about homophobia.
The following is the piece on homophobia.