By Anya Peters
A heartbreaking precise tale of 1 little girl's seek to discover a spot she might name home.
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Additional resources for Abandoned : the true story of a little girl who didn't belong
The terror of what he is doing and of Mummy leaving forcing my mind out of my body, until the sound of her head being knocked like a coconut against the living room wall jolts me back—not knowing whether to look or not look, listen or not listen, trying to reverse the flow of tears—to stop feeling. That was the hardest part of growing up: learning not to cry, not even allowed to express the pain of it. Pretending to feel nothing. Huddling around Mummy after one of the worst fights one night, the TV screen kicked in and glass all over the purple carpet, we planned how we’d get rid of him: a drop of arsenic in his vodka, a sprinkling of rat poison in his stew, a pillow over his face while he slept, or his skull smashed in with one of the girls’ heavy, brass lion money-boxes that stood empty either side of the fire surround.
One of my earliest memories is watching, out of the corner of my eye, my brother Liam sitting in stripy pyjamas in her arms as we all watch TV in the small front room of our flat. He holds up her bare arm and sleepily goes through the charms one by one, trying to choose his favourite between a miniature of the Houses of Parliament and a cat with tiny, diamond-encrusted eyes. I watch her small hand stroking the back of his blond head, her red curls falling down across his chest, and feel suddenly cold and stiff, too young to put words to the mixture of jealously and hate I feel as I look on.
They can take her back over there with them where she belongs. ’ It was the same every weekend. Usually, when Mummy managed to send me up to bed with the rest of them—even if I was yelled back down again later and forced to sit there and listen to it—we’d lie there listening to them raging at each other, and to Mummy being hit defending her sister and fighting for me to stay. When he finally stormed off to bed himself, Mummy would sometimes creep to the long back bedroom that the five youngest of us shared, to see if we were all right.