On the swing I work myself so high I kick the overhanging branch that only Graham can reach. The elephant bell echoes for lunch. I adore roasts with all the trimmings. Dad’s back from India with arms so thin he needs feeding up.
No 15 Wordsworth road
Graham is mean. I hate him. when Mum comes in from work he says I attacked him. I didn’t, just fought back. He doesn’t get my lunch so I have to steal biscuits.
Flat 47 Mill lane
I expected 47 flats, but we are number seven on the fourth floor. When Mr Fish comes to stay I move out of Mum’s room and onto a mattress on Graham’s floor. He watches me undress and snores.
3 High street
I loathe my stepfather. I shall leave when I am sixteen.
Under the arches
He smells of urine but he’s warm.
In the hostel
The cottage pie is good. Lucy hides her crack with her sanitary towels. She says I’m dirty because I use tampax.
Hall of residence
My scholarship amazes Graham, who doesn’t think I’ll stay the course and says I can’t help Dad now. Maybe someone else’s dad? He takes me out to lunch and tells me about Mum’s new man.
My room has a balcony. A cat adopts me. She finds her way to the ward with old ladies. They love her but the nurses hurl her out. I’m not popular, they imagine all women doctors compete for their men.
My husband tills the land. We have a cow. I shall buy him a puppy at Christmas. I work at the surgery in town but will do less when the twins are born. My home is small but dry and we are settled… for now.
After a life as a doctor Ruth has found her first love… words. At the age of 91yrs, after attending the creative writing course at Bath Spa and publishing a memoir and three novels, she now enjoys the challenge of writing and reading lash fiction.