I've just been searching through the piles of old childhood memorabilia on top of one of the cupboards. I found the item I was after (a book of my poetry from Year Six), but one or two other pieces sparked my curiosity.
I found a bag full of baby memories. Included in the paraphenalia from maternity wards, was a diary of mom's from 1984. Supposedly, I imagine, it was given to her by some well-meaning relative to describe the ongoing progress of her first pregnancy, with my brother. But, my mother being my mother, it is not particularly detailed nor filled in that often, but the one or two notes that she had included just jumped out of the page at me.
"Can feel definite kicks now. And other people can feel them too when they put their hand on my lump!"
"Doctor says I'm getting too fat!"
"Baby due today!! Hooray!"
At the time, my mom was 22 years old. That's just three years older than I am now. And the "kicks" and the "lumnp" belonged to that of my brother, who is 20 in a couple of weeks time.
And then, I found a card addressed to "Stephan and Eleanor" on the date of Rachael's birth in 1989. It was from my nan, informing us to "look after your new little sister" and naming us "The Three Little Terrors".
It made me cry.
I don't remember growing up.
I recall, very clearly, my childhood. I can smell my Beauty and the Beast pyjamas, the dingy, 'play dough' smell of the lego box, the dark inside of the wardrobe that I curled up into a ball in whilst playing Hide and Seek... I can taste the familarity of my left thumb being sucked in my mouth, the disgusting cod liver oil capsules we were forced to take, the delicious soggy bread floating in a bowl of tomato soup... I can hear my mom's Simply Red LP playing downstairs, the clanging of plates followed by a shrill "Dinner's ready!", the sound of broken plastic crashing about as the toy box is tipped over... And, when I close my eyes and wish hard, I can see my mom's dropped jaw when she see the mess we made playing 'tents', the cheap wrapping paper glistening like fake gold on Christmas Day morning, the downstairs light kept on throughout the night like a beacon guiding to the bathroom...
And then, one day, I woke up and I thought "This house is such a mess ... I need to clean the toilet ... I don't have the money to go out tonight ... I will cook dinner for my boyfriend ... I need to get a job ... My future is here".
There is now a world beyond the front gate. But how easy it would be to stay within the safety of these walls! These walls that have kept me warm, content, innocent, naive, a fool.
I would be a fool to remain here.
Ms. Violet, 2:51 PM