Uptown girl in thrall to a thug

30th June 2006 at 01:00
Ronny is a highly intelligent but troubled girl. The collapse of her parents' marriage and their bitter recriminations, during which details of their relationship which no child should ever confront were laid bare, hurt her deeply. Her happy world was turned inside out.

In seeking affection, and perhaps to hurt her parents, she has been drawn into the spider's web of a dangerous boy. Will she be able to get out of this before it is too late? A casual comment, a laddish grin, that such a notorious boy should be interested in her... It is a new world, with new experiences replacing homework and ambition. And soon she is trapped.

She is confused by unfamiliar and unexpected choices. We all know that Carl is dangerous. But he does things that are new to her. It must be a thrill to be daring, to have an opportunity to be part of an edgy and unexpected world. Especially now that everything you previously valued has been shown to be hollow.

But the police were once merely figures on a TV screen. Now they talk to her. There was the shop-lifting that went wrong. The scuffle with the newsagent. And Ronny inside with him, not outside. And then there were the bruises on her face where, she said, she had walked into a cupboard. But of course Carl can be volatile.

Suddenly she is on the wrong side of the tracks. And now there is blood on them. Because there was the car. Ronny must have known that it was stolen.

But she did not know it would crash.

Now she is living out a popular song. She is the uptown girl. Carl is the downtown man. She has an adult role to play in an unfamiliar drama, a gangster's moll at a bedside - her own hopes and future thus sacrificed to support the needs of a thug.

Sometimes it's hard to be a woman. But she will stand by her man, even though he has done her wrong. You may believe, if you wish, that love can conquer all, and perhaps it can.

But probably not Carl. His emotions do not engage with Ronny. For him she is a trophy. She walks behind him, there to catch him when he falls, a rich man's daughter sucked into his swamp.

It is really hard to watch all this unfold and not be able to stop it.

Anything you do or say must be carefully judged, because only Ronny can find a way out of this. So we watch her learning a tough lesson, all on her own. We just hope that she gets out before she gets pregnant.

Ian Roe is a teacher in north Wales

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