I hate windows. So does mam. “Keep them curtains shut,” she says “and yer trap shut,” so I do. When Uncle Derek comes round and starts, I keep out of it, make my face go empty, like I’ve shut the curtains so there’s nothing to see. Sometimes, he’ll yell “What you gawkin’ at” and I’ll get it too. I never cry.
But Uncle Derek’s not here today-just me and mam. She’s still asleep, she had a bad night last night. He came round looking for money, pulled the curtains down and wrecked the place.
There’s a knock. I peep out; streets quiet, kids in school. I don’t play with the kids on the street; they call me skank and my mum druggie, ‘cept for Liam he’s ok. The mister from school comes to the window, I duck down. He looks in. They come later asking questions. I keep my trap shut. They take my hand and tell me they’re taking me to a nice family until mam gets better and I’ll be fine and they’ll look after mam. She cries, I don’t. Ever.
Well once I did.
“Wow, you can shift!” Miss said. See, I run, every night in the dark round and round the park, faster and faster. So, when we had a race at school, I was way in front. When Liam finished, he slapped my back. We were both picked for the team.
County finals day came, but mam slept late. I tried to wake her but she wouldn’t get up. So, I ran down to the comp on my own. I found Miss standing near the track. She turned and saw me, her eyes were like windows. I’d missed it.
Then I cried.
A retired primary head teacher, Hazel Turner, born in Scotland but now living in South Yorkshire, develops her passion for writing using the many interesting people she has known over the years as her inspiration.