I loved Peter Pan when I was a child. I loved that he could fly with Tinkerbell. I wanted to fly for as long as I can remember. Fly away to a new world. I would take my mam with me.
I have snippets of childhood memories. Not many of them are good and some of them are downright scary.
I remember my fourth birthday. We played hide and seek in the dark because my mam had no money to pay for electricity. She lit candles and made a game of it. I had a pink cake with a pink roses on the top. It looked pretty but the icing was hard. I heard someone say it was ‘old’.
I thought the cake was beautiful. My mam’s friend at the Baker’s shop down the road gave it to us.
My Gran gave me half a crown for my birthday. That was a lot of money. The coin was silver and shiny and she pressed it in my hand. My mam took it and told me she would keep it safe for me.
Just after that the lights came back on and I knew my nice shiny ‘half crown’ had been fed into the electric meter. It was okay though, it meant we could see to eat the sausage rolls and sandwiches my mam had baked. They were delicious and I didn’t want to waste a single crumb.
My brother’s were much older than I was and didn’t live at home anymore. One was in the Air Force and the other was married and living somewhere else. I hardly knew them.
We played ‘pass the parcel’ for a while, and musical chairs, and then my dad came home from the pub. He was drunk again and not in the partying mood. Stella, my mam’s friend, rounded up the kids and took them home. They all lived on our street. My dad put the TV on and sat in front of the fire. He didn’t watch the TV, but fell asleep. The TV was still on though, and he was wasting electricity that my bright shiny coin had paid for.
My mum looked at my dad in disgust as she ran a bath for me. Our bath was in the kitchen, we didn’t have a separate bathroom. The kitchen was a little extension in the back yard of our little two up, two down terraced house. The toilet was outside, across the yard and not a very nice place to go in the winter.
I sat in the bath while my mum cleaned the party things away, putting the left over sausage rolls and sandwiches on a plate for my dad to eat when he woke up.
My dad had forgotten it was my birthday I think.
I got dried in front of the fire and my mum hugged me tight and gave me a big kiss on the cheek. “Happy Birthday sugar” she said.
“Things will get better mam” I said “and if they don’t we will fly away like Peter Pan and Wendy”
Her eyes filled with tears and she picked me up and carried me upstairs to bed. I could have walked, I was four years old after all, but it was nice to be carried. I loved my mam.
She took me into the big front bedroom and put me in the big double bed where I slept with her. My dad slept in another room because he snored. I lay in bed with my eyes closed, listening to my mam and dad in the room below. They were shouting at each other again. There was a bang, and then silence, other than the television. I closed my eyes and hoped I would dream about Peter Pan. I left my window open a crack so Tinkerbell could get in.
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Girl on the Beach (UK) Girl on the Beach (US) Guy at the Bar Amazon Guy at the Bar Amazon UK are my first attempt at writing. They are short stories about the very strange life of a young girl raised in the North of England.
(Preview) Dead of July My upcoming novel is about the very strange life of the same girl after she was married and whilst she was living in Germany.