Olga’s Diary (Continued)
What did I do wrong: The water in my bath was so hot the bathroom was thick with steam, burning my skin and I could barely see the bath taps. But I didn’t want to cool it down, I wanted it as hot as I could bear it.
Earlier Moores had said she’d meet me at the pub, but wasn’t there when I arrived. So, I got my ginger beer from the barman and sat down. The pub was busy and noisy and though I’d been there a few times before, this was the first time on my own.
From where I was sitting I could see John Edward in the other bar with a group of friends. Before the war he was a senior doctor in St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington and very well respected. Now he was working as a doctor in the army based somewhere near London. He’s very popular and everyone knows who he is. He has a reputation for being a bit of a ladies man. Moores would often tease me about him saying I had a crush on him and, it was true, I did like him a lot, but he’d never even noticed me.
I’d been sitting there for half an hour and Moores still hadn’t turned up so I decided to get one more drink. I decided I’d go back to the Nurses’ Home if she hadn’t arrived by the time I’d finished it. I felt a twinge of disappointment when I went up to buy my ginger beer because I couldn’t see John in the other bar.
I sat down and the next thing I knew he was sitting opposite me. He smiled at me but I was overcome with shyness.
“Olga, isn’t it?” he said loudly so I could hear above the noise. Goodness, I thought, he knows my name.
“Yes, it is”.
I was getting a really good look at him now. I’d never seen anyone so handsome, except, of course, film stars, but most of them were dark haired. John was slim and fair-haired and he had such a lovely smile. By now I was hoping Moores wasn’t coming because I wanted John all to myself. He told me he had three days leave before he had to report back to the army. I could see some of the other girls in the bar looking at us, a bit jealous I thought, and I felt so proud that he seemed interested in me.
My initial shyness was gone and I was surprised by how easy he was to talk to. I told him where I came from and all about my family and he talked about his life in the army. We talked like two people who had been friends for ages. He offered to buy me another ginger beer and while he was at the bar I went to the ladies toilet.
As I came out he was standing in the passage waiting for me and took hold of my hand.
“Come with me, Olga, I want to show you something.”
We went down the passage, in the opposite direction of the bar and John opened a door and we were in a small dirty yard where there were lots of beer barrels and crates of beer. He closed the door and I wondered what we were doing there.
Then he pushed me against the wall of the pub and started kissing me very roughly. With his knee he forced my legs apart and I was frightened because I knew then that something bad was going to happen to me.
I tried to push him away from me but the weight of his body had me pressed against the wall.
“Stop, please stop, you’re hurting me” I pleaded still trying to push him.
“Stop struggling and it won’t hurt” he said.
He pulled my dress up and my knickers down. He’d undone his trousers and by now I was crying
“Please, don’t” I said, my fists punching his shoulders. I looked at him and he was smiling and then he covered my mouth with one hand and forced himself inside me.
Suddenly terrible, terrible pain, as he repeatedly pushed himself into me. The pain was so bad I thought I wanted to pass out prayed to God to let me pass out so I could not feel it any more. After a few minutes I felt his body relax.
Again I said “Stop, you’re hurting me” and he laughed.
“It’s OK, Olga, I’m finished now”. He buttoned up his trousers and then went back inside.
For a few minutes I stayed in the same position I’d been in throughout my ordeal, leaning against the wall because I couldn’t stand up properly on my own without its support. I could feel fluid running down my legs but was afraid to go back inside to the toilet to clean myself up.
There was a door in the yard that opened straight onto the street. I tried to run back to the nursing home but my legs were shaking so much I couldn’t. I kept my head down all the way back not wanting anyone to see my tears or to make eye contact with me because I thought they would know what had just happened to me.
I felt so ashamed and humiliated and tried to think what I had done or said in the pub to make such a bad thing happen to me, but I couldn’t think of anything.
I stayed in the bath until it was cold, crying for Mammie.
I have physical pain and yet I feel numb too. How can that be?
I’m not the person I was before. That Olga has gone. I cannot concentrate on anything I am asked to do and am always being scolded by Sister Tutor. She asks me
“What’s wrong with you, are you sick?”
I can’t tell her. I don’t tell anyone.
If I don’t pull my socks up there will be no point in sitting the first year examination again she tells me. I don’t care any more. I have nightmares now and am too frightened to sleep, because, when I close my eyes, I see it all happening again, so I stay awake.