The adopted dad (AD) had disappeared. Gone. AM went to the council but they wouldn’t give her any help as she owned a house. Even if there was no one to pay the mortgage.
She got a job in a greengrocers and we were farmed out after school to neighbours. One of them would make me eat Pork Pies and the thought of it makes me want to barf to this day. Well she thought she was making me. I’d sit in the garden and crumble them up into the dirt. Then take the empty plate in. Smart.
Pretty sure we were very poor because I’d be sent to school with soggy tomato sandwiches. Piece of fruit, no extras. AM said her boss took pity on her and let her bring home anything squashed/used/past it sell by.
The husband who’d been left behind by the wife who ran off with my AD, started visiting our house. A lot. And reader, he was horrible. A mean looking man with a long pointy chin. He’d been left with 2 young daughters to look after who just happened to be in my class at school. And reader I kid you not, even before my AD legged it with their mother, these were the two kids in the whole school who I’d rather not be friends with. Babyish and whiny. I felt like an adult at age 5. More on that in chapters to come.
I need to interject here and tell you what I was like as a child. Miserable. Absolutely fucking miserable. And I was quiet. Head always in a book. My survival mechanism from a very young age. Float away in the magic and mystery of a book, another life.
I did as I was told. Children should be seen and not heard. Woe betide me if I interrupted AM talking to neighbours on the street. That was a thick ear. A whack around the head. But falling over was the worst. I was and still am clumsy. I found out a few years ago I have hypermobility syndrome (had no idea) which would account for the clumsiness. I fell over a lot. And if I cried she’d lift my skirt and whack the back of my bare legs to stop me crying.
Back to John. The bloke who now appeared to be in our house a lot. He was mean, spoke to us like shit and scared me. Every Saturday he’d pack us all in the car to supermarket then as soon as we got home he’d force me to eat fishcakes or fishfingers. Every single Saturday. I hated fishcakes as much as I hated him. Still won’t touch either of them.
Now as a young child with food on your plate that you despise, there was always ketchup. My saviour. And I made the most of it. Except one day I forgot to screw the lid back on. And John shook it. Hard. Mate, honestly, I’m laughing as I type this, it will never not be funny in my head! He’d covered the entire ceiling and his head with ketchup and it was dripping off the ceiling onto his head and his face went as red as the ketchup, he was so bloody angry and I could NOT stop laughing! Hilarious! Took my laughs where I could get them!