Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Childhood Memory

It came down to a book. Or rather a pile of them. Everything I'd ever dreamed of hung in the balance of a simple question 'where should she put her books?'

My knees shook and I felt sure that at any moment they might buckle sending me tumbling down the stairs. I stood at the top, a book in one hand, clutching a small wooden box covered with shells in the other. It was my secrets box. Those beady polished little shells almost winked at me, concealing my delightful booty within: coins from Spain, a prized sticker, a baby tooth not yet given over to the generous tooth fairy and some badges I had collected from comics. Treasure indeed.

My Father stood at the bottom of the stairs, staring up at me, a look of fear etched across his handsome face. Next to me my Mother repeated the question. This time her voice was slower, measured, anger dancing right through every vowel. Her nails dug into my arm and she tore my book from my hand, waving it furiously. It's pages flapped creating the slimmest of breezes. Moments passed. I held my breath for what felt like forever.

I had shared a bedroom with my Mother since I was born, in my Grandmother's house. Having divorced when I was 3, Dad lived about a mile away, in a big creaky old Victorian house with my Grandfather. But after a torturous reconciliation, a couple of family vacations and four years of dating my folks were finally ready to take the plunge again. I had packed my beaten up vanity case and accompanied my Mother for a weekend at Dad's house. She told me Grandpa was away fishing and that after the weekend was over, we would be staying there for good. The thing I was most excited about was finally having my own room - my own private space, for sleepovers and everything!

Carefully I had selected which toys would be coming with me on my new adventure. Pride of place was my favourite sticker - a padded cartoon, that I wanted to stick on my new bedroom wall. Once stuck it would be impossible to prize off, or re-stick, so the place it came to rest upon had to be a permanent home. I'd stored my sticker for so long, waiting for the perfect place to attach it.

Finally it had come.

I could smell the bitter sweet alcohol on her breath. I didn't understand why she was crying. Hot salty tears dripped onto my arm and still she didn't let go. My Father hung his head, he remained mute. Why didn't he just tell her I could put them out in his old room - my new room?

I waited. She waited. There was no answer. Suddenly I was flying, hurtling down the stairs, the book tumbling down, coming to rest at the foot of the stairs, as my feet were pulled on, through the hall, past my Father and out the door. I glanced back, but he didn't meet my eye.

My Mother's grip stopped the blood from flowing into my limp arm. Before I could protest I was bundled into her car and we were driving away. She didn't speak. I was too scared to try. The journey to my Granny's only took a few minutes. We were home again, back to our poky shared room.

I went upstairs and opened my bottom drawer. I had a small cherised set of drawers at the end of my bed - a kindly neighbour had given them to me the year before. The held everything I owned. Carefully I placed my box inside. I opened it and let my finger run over the shiny plastic sticker, feeling it's smooth curves and contours.

It had yet to find it's home.

PS If you liked this post please vote for this blog entry at a competition run by http://www.thegirlwho.net/ called 'The great experiment.' Thank you


Hair Bows & Guitar Picks said...

Great memory...

Wyndi Cage said...

Sad memory, but very nicely written.

Daycare Lady said...

I love your Blog - waiting for your first book to come out! Started reading your older posts a few weeks ago but shortly after, fell off the face of the earth. Just recently got one foot back on - first thing on the list is to read more Crummy Mummy, I can relate and it makes me feel so much better! I especially like the article on juggling.
Thanks for voting for me last time.

Monica said...

You already know how I feel about your writing.

So sad. Makes me want to go back and love up Little Crummy Mummy.

Digital Bath said...

Very nicely written.