My new home was awful and came as a dreadful shock to me. The whole area couldn’t have been more of a contrast to the green, semi-rural location of the Childrens Home in Brighton, yet my Mother hadn’t warned me, or told me anything about it at all, in fact she’d barely even spoken to me during the entire journey into London! If I asked her something she would answer me very curtly and that was it – no ‘conversation’ whatsoever! I didn’t know what to make of it. She was still just as terse and uncommunicative when we finally arrived at the Terminal as she had been when she’d first picked me up…every bit as cold, unemotional and detached. She quite obviously had other, very serious things on her mind, but I was puzzled – I’d thought this was going to be a happy occasion, but apparently not - not for her, and as I was about to discover not for me either!
Eddie smiled at me warmly when my Mother introduced me to him, I got the impression he was a little uncomfortable with small children but at least he tried to make me feel welcome, which to be completely honest is more than anyone else did! Simon greeted me in a very off-hand manner, as if he saw me every day, and didn’t even get off the chair he was sitting on, but to my amazement my Mother rushed across the room to him with a beaming smile on her face, and swamped him with hugs and kisses! I was astonished by her total and instantaneous transformation …. she hadn’t even smiled at me ONCE during the whole trip, and there certainly hadn’t been any hugs or kisses! It was so obvious where her heart and mind had been the whole time – all the way back here, with Simon – you didn’t exactly need to be hypersensitive to see it! I was only four and a half years old, and it was supposed to be a ‘Special’ day, or so I'd thought... but apparently not. I was so hurt and disappointed by her transparent favouritism, and her contrastingly exuberant ‘over-the-top’ display of affection the instant she saw Simon that I felt utterly dismayed and lost. I was so dejected I wondered why I was even there.
I was only small, I hadn’t been expecting a palace or anything grand, but I had thought ‘home’ would be a happy, warm, welcoming place - not like this! I’d never seen anything like it apart from the Boiler Room at The Home! There was no space, I wouldn’t even have my own bed! There was nothing to do, nowhere to play, nowhere to hide, nowhere to get away from anybody! There wasn’t even anywhere to put anything, my things had just been left lying on the bed, no-one had made even a tiny space for me anywhere! I felt like an unwanted intruder, and in retrospect, I think that’s exactly what I was, because I now believe the Nuns had insisted my Mother finally remove me from The Home, possibly because I was approaching school-age by then and they had only initially agreed to keep me on a short term basis, or possibly because they had discovered she had collected Simon from the other Home in town and decided if she could house one child she could house the other - I don’t know, but it would certainly explain the complete absence of any joy or pleasure on her part, and also her failure to provide even the smallest bit of space for me, or my few paltry things. She hadn’t wanted me there… in fact it was soon made clear to me that she hadn’t actually wanted me at all! Eddie and Simon had been trailing along behind us while my Mother showed me around, and I was keenly aware of everyone watching me, so I smiled brightly and tried not to show how desperately unhappy I felt knowing this was where, and how I would be living from now on... trapped in a place with no sunlight, no space, and with people who didn’t even want me there. I fought against the overwhelming despair flooding through my heart by trying to console myself with the thought that at least I would be away from the harshest and most tyrannical of the Nuns and surely THAT would be an improvement, but I soon found out that it wasn’t, and that one type of unhappiness had merely been exchanged for another.
The next instalment of this true life story will be posted on 1st October 2019.
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