Sally has a teenager (Kelly) who wants to stay out late, just like her friends. When her mum says no, she doesn’t understand and storms out of the house. At her Aunty Jackie’s house, Kelly talks about leaving home, and accuses her mum (Sally) of keeping her prisoner. This is not the first time that Kelly has ended up at her aunties house, and it is not the first time that she has talked about leaving home. Jackie thinks that it is time that Kelly heard the truth, about why her mum is so protective. She gives Kelly a manila envelope. It contains yellowing, 20 year old documents (newspaper headlines, a medical card, sympathy cards, a child’s purse etc.) from an incident involving Kelly’s mum (Sally), some twenty years before.
As Kelly goes through the dated documents, we go backwards in time and watch the story unfold:
14 year old Sally is having tea with her friend Jackie. When it comes time to go home, Jackie’s mum insists that Jackie walk Sally ‘at least half way home.’ Jackie doesn’t - she is too tired.
Fifteen minutes later, Sally is raped at knife point in a field close to her home. The attack devastates her.
Afterwards everyone wants someone to blame; it’s Jackie’s fault for not walking her home, it is the police’s fault for not manning the streets better, the police surgeon who examines Sally after the attack even hints that it is Sally’s fault, for being young, for being female, for walking through a field alone at night.
Sally blames no one; she just wants to get back on with her life.
Determined that her attacker will not win, she decides to brave the world again, only two weeks after the attack. But when she visits the local café with Jackie, she is in for a second shock when she sees a familiar face sat opposite her.
When we come back to present day, Kelly is crying as she looks at the documents and realises exactly why her mum is so terrified of letting her stay out late. She can’t wait to get back home and hug her mum and tell her that she understands. When she gets home her mum is washing up. Kelly realises that there are no words, there can be no words. So she just hugs her mum and holds her and holds her.