Monday, 11 November 2013

I'm So Scared

Photo by Stoonn
'Mum,' I cried coming down the stairs. I felt my whole body shake as the memory of the nightmare remained in my mind.

'What is it?' My mum huffed as I came into the living room. She was sitting watching television.

'I had a scary dream,' I cried, the tears soaking my face.

'Come here,' she huffed again.

I walked over to her. She put her arms around me and patted my back.

'Now go back to bed,' she said.

I pulled away and wiped my face. When I went to resist, she pushed me gently and pointed upwards. She was distracted as she watched television. I went back upstairs and lay in bed shaking. This had been a regular thing and my mum was obviously getting fed up with me. I'd have nightmares every night. I'd wake up crying or really very scared. At first, mum had been supportive and comforting, but as time went on, she got distant. I dreaded going to bed and started to play up, trying to get my mum to let me stay up late. I'd sometimes sleep in her bed with her. Since my dad left, my brother and I often fell asleep in my mums bed before she came up and moved us to our own rooms.

One night my mum came upstairs to put us to bed. As I settled down, she crouched beside me and took my hands.

'Did you know that God has angels that look after us?' She asked me. I shook my head, my fear of the night and the dark already starting to overtake me.

'All we have to do is ask them to come to us and they will. If you ask them to come and protect you, they will sit in the corner of your room and watch over you.' My mum's voice was soft and comforting.

'Close your eyes, my love, and I'll teach you how to pray,' she said.

I did as she said and that night I learnt how to ask the angels for help and protection. A calmness fell over me as my mum left and for the first time in years, I didn't feel scared as I lay and waited for sleep to come to me. The dark energy that usually hovered around my room was gone and all I could feel was a light presence from the corner of my room. I didn't think too much about it because even the thought of an angel sitting in my room got my heart beating. I was relieved though and I slept so much better after that. I was extremely grateful that my mum had given me the gift of peace.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013


Photo by  David Castillo Dominici
'We're going to go to go to a meeting today,' Mum said, getting a dress out for me. The chest of drawers had mainly second hand clothes in them. My dads mum sometimes brought us new clothes. We would go up there most weekends and stay with her. She was a good cook and we always loved to eat her homemade food. She was religious, but she never tried to make anyone follow her beliefs.

'What meeting?' I said, pulling my white tights on. They had pretty bows on them.

'A religious meeting,' Mum said, not explaining anything to me. I got dressed and followed her downstairs. Dad laughed and looked at my mum. My brother was waiting for us. He was also dressed well.

'Are you seriously taking them?' My dad said. An angry look crossed his face when my mum nodded. He huffed and stormed out of the house.

My mum's step-dad came and took us to the meeting. I didn't speak to him much. He was a quiet man and he never spoke to me. His wife, my mums mum, talked a little more, but was still not a very open woman. My mum had explained that she'd had an awful upbringing. There had been rape and incestery in her family and so my nan didn't know how to open her heart. When we got to the big building, lots of people came and spoke to us. I didn't take in what they were saying, it was too busy. The people all seemed friendly and I didn't mind being there at that point. We then had to sit and listen to people speak. My brother and I got very bored, very quick. They were speaking about God and the bible. I didn't listen much, but I took in some of their teachings.

On another night of the week, we would go to a local home where we would have a bible study. I used to like going because they gave us biscuits, which we didn't often have at home because we couldn't afford them. They would go around reading parts of the bible and I even had to do it when it got to my turn, even though I was only nine.

I liked the story book that they gave to the children. It had great pictures in and I was an avid reader so I enjoyed the tales that were in the book. I don't remember ever believing that it was anything other than a tale, but my mum was serious. This religion became her life. She would read the bible everyday, even when my dad belittled her. She would talk to us about it all the time. It was the only thing she really thought about.

It's strange as a child to watch your mother transforming in front of you. My mum all of a sudden had an obsession that came before almost everything. I often wondered what made her want to please God so much. My parents were unhappy and I wondered why God didn't do anything to help them. Who was this God and why was my mum someone different now because of him?

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Firework Night

Photo by Teerapun
'Can we go and watch the fireworks somewhere, Mum?' My brother asked. We were sitting on the floor playing a game. My mum was busy, tidying, like she always seemed to be doing.

'I'm sorry, but I don't have the money. I've got an idea though,' she said, smiling down at us. We saw the excitement in hers eyes. It was the first time we'd seen her not upset or crying for a while.

'If you help me finish the tidying up, we can plan our firework night.'

We rushed around, putting things away and cleaning what we could. When mum got excited, we always joined in with her. She loved to play games with us sometimes or read to us before bed.

'Okay, let's go to the shop,' she said, pulling her slippers on. We lived a few minutes from the shop. We had to walk up a dingy alley to get there, but we didn't mind, we were used to it. Our back garden was connected to the alley and we often went through a hole in the fence. We got embarrassed when mum wore her slippers up the shop, but she was in such a good mood we didn't say anything. She made us wait outside as she went in. We had no idea what she was plotting, but we didn't care.

'Okay, lets have some dinner before the firework display,' Mum chattered, putting our food on the table. Our food was always quite basic, mainly packet food, but it was food.

'How can we see the fireworks, we're not going anywhere?' I sulked as I ate. My brother was too excited to join in my sulk. He trusted that mum had it sorted.

'You'll see,' she said with a twinkle in her eye. I felt the happiness return. Mum must have a wicked plan if she was this happy.

After dinner, she led us upstairs. It was very dark by now. We went into her bedroom, which was at the front of the house. Our home was a three bedroomed semi detached council home that sat at the top of the sloping cul de sac. My mum gestured for us to climb on her bed, which was situated in front of the double window.

'I'll be right back,' she said, turning off the light before she left the room. My brother and I looked at each other. What was she doing?

We didn't have to wait long. Mum walked in a few minutes later with a tray in her hand. On the tray was three wine shaped glasses filled with a fizzy liquid and some packets of sweets. She got us to kneel on the bed and look out the window. As we did this, the first fireworks in the distance started to go off and we could see them all. We sipped our sparkling apple juice and ate our sweets as we watched the whole villages fireworks. We had the best view that we could possibly have. We were also warm and cosy. So there we sat, my brother, mother and I, all happily watching many fireworks on bonfire night and for the first time in a long time, I felt happy and safe.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

No Time To Say Goodbye

'Mum, why is Daddy not home from work?' I asked, looking at the clock. It was half past six. My dad always came home at six o clock. He worked driving lorries locally. He always came in hungry and grumpy, but we still liked to greet him when he came home.

'Daddy's moved out, he's not coming back.'

My mum took our empty plates from the table and stood at the sink, washing them up. My eight year old brother looked at me. I was a year older than him, so that made me wiser in our eyes.

'Why?' I whispered. My mum wouldn't turn away from the bubbles and liquid in front of her. I knew that she was crying.

'Because we've split up,' she breathed, 'now go and play.'

We jumped down from the table and went into the living room. The television was on. We sat watching our cartoon video. Our dad was gone. I'd asked for the fighting to stop, but this hadn't been what I'd meant. Where had he gone? Why couldn't they love each other?

My mum busied herself tidying up and getting us ready for bed. There were no questions, there didn't need to be. We understood that they couldn't live with each other anymore. The fighting had gotten worse and my dads cheating had been every weekend.

That night I lay in my bed. I don't remember crying. I just remember a slight feeling of relief that the fighting would stop. I was glad that my mum wouldn't be scared to say anything to my dad incase he got cross anymore. I would miss him though. He was my dad after all.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Being Taught About The World

Photo by stockimages
'What's that?' I asked my auntie. I was five years old and she was a teenager. She looked at me over the smoke as she blew it out of her mouth. She was babysitting for my brother and I. In her hand she held a long piece of rolled paper.

'It's a fag,' she said, smiling at me. She was mischievous and was always getting into trouble. My mum always had something to say to her whenever she babysat for us.

'What's it like?' I asked. I idolised my auntie, she was loving and fun. She always played with us and taught us nursery rhymes. We didn't realise that they were naughty rhymes and my mother always got into trouble with the teachers at our nursery.

'Why don't you try?' She said, putting the fag in my mouth. I breathed in and choked. The taste was awful and I couldn't get my breath. She laughed and laughed. I didn't like smoking, so I left her to go and play.

Another time when she babysat, my auntie sat me down and told me all about what men and women did with each other. She explained in graphic detail. She even told me how babies were made and born. I was a little vessel of knowledge about a lot of things by the age of five years old and I would only gain more and more as I grew older.

This very young child turned into a very young adult at a very young age...

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Nightmare Nights

Graphic by Craftyjoe
I stood at the top of the stairs with my legs crossed. It was late and I could hear the shouting filter through the doors. I didn't want to creep down there, just incase I made my dad more angry, but I really needed the toilet. As I neared the bottom of the stairs, I could hear that they were in the kitchen, which was on the other side of the living room.

I crept forward through the front room. The shouting got louder and angrier. I couldn't tell what they were arguing about. I raised my hand to open the kitchen door when a loud smash had me stepping back. Something had been thrown. My mum burst into sobs and I quickly opened the door to check that she was okay. My dad was standing by the cooker in the small room. His red face looked shocked as he stared at a broken plate on the floor. My mum was hovering by the back door, near the toilet, with her head in her hands. They noticed me. My mum rushed forward and took my hand.

'I needed the toilet,' I said in a small voice.

My dad stormed past me and into the living room. My mum took me into the toilet and told me that everything was alright. She waited outside for me. When I came out we walked through the living room quietly. My dad was snoring on the sofa, his feet surrounded by lager cans.

'Why did Daddy throw the plate?' I whispered to my mum when we were safely in my bedroom. Mum tucked me in and kissed my forehead.

'Because he's had a few drinks,' she replied, laying on the bed next to me and hugging me close. I could feel her body shake as I tried to close my eyes and sleep.

'Mum, why do you always fight?' I asked, taking her bigger hand in my small one.

'Go to sleep, darling,' Mum said, a small tear falling from the corner of her eye. I watched her face as she tried to suppress the emotions that played on it. I decided to leave her alone. She didn't need me to make her any sadder than she already was. I closed my eyes and wished that my mum and dad would stop fighting. I wished that they would start to love each other, just like they were supposed too.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Early Life

Graphic by smarnad
'Here, try this,' my dad said, holding a teaspoon full of yellow stuff in front of my face. I opened my mouth and let him feed it to me. My face screwed up and my tongue burnt. It was mustard. My dad laughed hysterically as my mum scolded him. 

We were a small family of four. My dad, mum, brother and I. I was the eldest of the two children and we played pretty well together. Mum was a few years younger than dad, but they were both in their early twenties. They'd been teenagers when we were born. 

One morning there was a banging on our front door. Mum opened it and a woman stormed in, screaming and shouting. My brother and I watched as my mum carried on doing the housework, the ranting lady following behind her. Eventually, the lady got frustrated and went away. 

'What did that lady want, Mummy?' I asked.

'Your dad,' she said, tears running down her face. 

'What's wrong?' I placed my hand in hers as she sat down and looked at us. 

'Daddy has made that woman pregnant, so you'll have a little sister.' My too honest mum told us. Although we didn't fully understand, I managed to grasp what she meant. Never would she realise just how much damage was done to us kids that day. We stood and watched our mum break down. Her heart was breaking in front of us from a pain that we just didn't know about yet. Somewhere inside though, I felt my own little heart break. It wasn't supposed to be like this. This world wasn't supposed to be so unloving, so painful. Why did my dad treat my mum like this when all she did was love him? 

That day, my little five year old heart started to close itself off for the very first time...