Survive The Jungle

Entry by: Olivia

13th May 2016
‘You don’t want to go out there,’ he said, ‘you never know what might happen’.
My whole life I’d had warnings running through my head. Warnings about things that might happen, things that might happen again and warnings about what might happen to ‘girls like me’. To be honest, I was never quite sure what a girl like me might look like, might do or might have done to her. All I do know is that by the time I finally left home I was scared of just about everyone and everything.

Answering the phone was stressful (‘You don’t know what they might want’), answering the door was full of barely concealed fear and as for going out after dark: unheard of. Every day I went to work. It was deemed ‘safe’ as there were a lot of people around, not far from where I lived, in a ‘nice’ area. Daily I lived with the deeply embedded fear, of an unknown world of ‘maybe’, while completely missing the world of ‘what actually exists’ that was right in front of me. My parents were, of course, over-protective. The death of my older sister had put fear into their heads and nothing would move it out. Nothing would shift the idea that danger lurked everywhere and they had passed that fear onto me. I live mainly inside my own head and haven’t risked letting anyone in unless its on my terms. As a result, I’m a bit shy, a bit old-fashioned and I don’t really fit in at the office. I’ve never been drunk or really had sex.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm going to be alright. Will I ever be one of those women who knows what they want in life, and just goes out to get it? But I do know what I want, I think. I want what my parents never had. I want love: someone who will protect me from all those monsters out there. There was Bob. I really liked him but my mother’s voice in my head shouted so loudly that I couldn’t even hear what he was saying to me.

My little house is lovely but I don’t really feel safe until I have locked all the doors and closed the curtains. The girls in the office used to ask me out for drinks but I never went, so they’ve stopped asking. Holidays are very stressful. I've been on a couple of touring breaks but I hate it if anyone sits near to me and I always pay the extra for my own room. I know it’s sad that Penny died but I wish I hadn’t had to die with her. I know it’s a jungle out there but I want to join in and make my world into something.

In all the magazines, it would be at this point that a new man joins the company, meets me at the water fountain, takes away all my fears and shows me what love is all about. The only thing is, this is real life and no man joins my company and I remain unswept off my feet. However, there is a danger about which my parents know little. They have failed to over-emphasise in super-dramatic form everything that could go wrong online. They vaguely fear the internet, assuming there are ‘bad people’ who want to break into my bank account, so buying anything online isn’t to be done, because really ‘you never know’. Not only will they take money, ‘they’ will steal my identity and my virginity. Clearly cybersex is very real to them. But they have no idea. I hide in my forums and they never think I am talking to people if I am on the computer when they come round on one of their multiple visits. They don’t suspect that I am talking to someone in another continent. ‘Lisa is always so busy you know, she works so hard, she's always on her computer when we come round’, they tell the one or two friends who have passed their acid test of reliability.

They know nothing of James or of Pete or of the lovely Gary. The men I snuggle up with every night. You have to be tough to survive with these guys. They want a lot from me. Gary likes sex early mornings and I’ve found a way to angle my laptop to get the cutest views. James texts as well; he pops up all day long. He wants money to get to visit me; I’ve got plenty but he’ll have to earn it. But really it’s the lovely Pete that heads up the gang. Well, it’s not a real gang because they don’t know they belong to it. But it’s my gang. My jumbly jungle of wild men. Pete wants everything all the time. Pete tells me I’m gorgeous.
Pete’s going to keep me safe; he just needs to sort out some stuff from his divorce. He’s nearly finished now. I’m careful how much I give him at a time. I need to look after him and he won’t need much more once it’s all sorted. Then he’ll come to me. He says he can’t wait. I’ll stop Gary and James then, but right now I like having them around me. I know James works hard but he usually manages to text every day; if not I just send him a little text to remind him about me! Gary says I should be in the cinema and he says he enjoys replaying the films we make together because it keeps us close.

No one knows about my world. It’s my real world. The big frightening bit is shut away by the locks and the curtains. I know I can’t survive in that jungle. Dad always said that I’d never manage. But the jumble of my men is safe. I know they all care. I’m happy to give them money from time to time, poor loves. After all, it’s not as if they can hurt me is it? It’s a jungle out there and they have to survive to keep on helping me.