Hidden Lives Revealed. A virtual archive - children in care 1881-1981 * Image of handwritten text

Ben, Charlie and Me

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Swimming at Deptford docks

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I never really accepted that my mum would never come back until now. I have been living with my dad and twin brothers, Ben and Charlie. I don't really care though that my mum would ever come back. I am happy with my dad and brothers. Although I loved my mum and could trust her with everything, she left and didn't want us.

So I am sitting here, in my room in a deep daydream. My dad doesn't like it when I day-dream as I don't recognise the noises going on around me and if there is anyone there. Additionally, it sometimes means that he doesn't know where I am and I forget to take my tablets and have something to eat.

The door clicks open and my dad looks in. His hair is shoulder length and brown with really light blue eyes. Also he is quite tall, he would seem to be not a nice person but is one of the gentlest people you could meet.

"You coming down for some lunch before you daydream any more?" he asks.

"Sorry. I was just thinking about mum. She isn't coming back is she?"

He came and sat next to my on my bed and put he put his arm around me. He holds me close to his body. It feels nice and warm.

"I don't think she is. Come down stairs and have some lunch, then we can have a chat." He said as he pulls away from the hug and looks down at me.

"Are Ben and Charlie down stairs?"

My dad nods.

My dad and I walk down stairs into the kitchen. There Ben and Charlie sat at the table waiting for us to come down so dad could make them lunch. My dad goes and starts to cut the bread as I go over to the medical cupboard to get my anti-depressant tablets. You see I am a manic depressive but other people might know it as bipolar. So I get the tablets down and put them in my mouth. Ben hands me a glass of water to help me wash it down. I take it and take a mouthful. I swallow it in one.

"Thank you Ben."

"He is Charlie, isn't he?"

"You have raised them for twelve years and you still can't tell the difference between them."

Ben and Charlie start to laugh. My dad goes crossed eyed and pokes his tongue out.

"Dad's forgetting things in his old age." I say to the twins.

"Hey, I am only 32 you know, only 17 years older then you nancy."

I go and sit down at the table with Ben and Charlie. They start going on about how I still have to take them down to South Bank and show them where I go with my friends and where I skate or go on my bike. I look at my dad in hope of him telling them that she doesn't but he looks at me to say 'you know you have to'. He then goes and finishes off the sandwiches. He brings them over and gives us our ones.

"Dad you have given Ben and me the wrong sandwiches again."

He sighs.

I get up and sort them out. I know my dad can't cope with them as they like to wind him up too much. I have told them so much but they don't listen. Dad has too much to worry about as well. He has me to keep an eye on, look after the twins, look after himself and keep the job he has.

We finish our lunch and as we all weren't doing anything for the rest of the day, my dad decided to take us up to the field where we always go. So I run up to my room quickly. I start to rummage through my drawers. I find my army trousers and a black strapped top. I pick up the trousers from what I wore yesterday and took the out from it as I have to get a size that is a bit loose for me because the ones that are a smaller size are too tight to me. Additionally, as I am anorexic it is hard to find the right clothes. I take my clothes into the bathroom so I can wash then get dressed straight after. I hear my dad shouting up to me saying to hurry up. I shout back down to him that a girl takes ages to get ready as we have to see if we look right.

I run down stairs minutes later. And there my dad and the twins stood waiting for me to come down. I slip my shoes on while they went to go and get into the car. I pick up my mobile and keys as I walk out the door. I shut the front door firmly behind me. I jump into the front seat of my dads red land rover. He starts up the engine and drives out of the drive. I shut my eyes. Today is really hot and it feels nice to have the coolness from the air conditioner around my body. Next thing I know I am drifting off into a sleep.

4 hours later we are driving back home. We have the stereo on up loud playing Biffy Clyro. Ben, Charlie and I singing along to the music, my dad laughing at us for the way we are singing.

We pull up the drive and climb out the car. We go inside and my dad goes into the kitchen to start cooking up dinner. Ben, Charlie and I go into the front room and start playing the play station. The door bell rings and as I am just watching Ben and Charlie play on the play station I get up and walk up to the door.

I open up the door and standing there was a woman in her thirties. She had long straight brown hair with brown eyes and just as tall as me. Her face was long and pointed like mine. It was my mum. It was my mum standing there in the doorway of the house. I felt angry and sad that it took her six years to come back and hadn't kept in contact with us. I slam the door and turn to run to my room. My dad and brothers stood there behind me. I could see they were in shock but was also watching me for what I was going to do. I look down and run upstairs to my room. I don't now how to feel anymore. I am angry she has come back but happy that she has come back because I feel like she does care and she just went because she was stressed out by looking after us. It couldn't take 6 years though. I am now 16 and all grown up. She doesn't now anything about me or my dad and family.

"We don't want to see mum. She left us at 6 and we are now 12." Ben says.

"If she wanted us she would have come back before. She wouldn't even have left." Charlie finishes off for him. It is quite unusual for him to say something because Ben usually says everything.

"If you are only annoyed with mum because I am don't be. Do want you want. Don't follow everyone. You two follow each other around and do everything together but you are not the same."

I get up and pick up a black rucksack. I pull my drawers open and put some folded tops into my bag and then go into the other drawers and pull out some trousers and underwear. My brother's look at me dumb struck. They always look to me for an answer and because I haven't given them a proper answer they are totally confused on what to do.

"Dad won't let her stay will he?" Ben asks. His eyes are also filling up with tears.

I don't reply.

I walk up to the window in my room and open it wide. I start to climb out of it.

"Nancy?" Charlie says.

"I am sorry." I let myself drop to the ground.

I walk to the end of the drive and start running off down the road to the river. It is one of the first places my dad would look but it is the only place I can think of at the moment. Furthermore, it is far enough away that he wouldn't think I would go there. Also I can stop when I get there and think of what to do next.

I reach the river. I walk up to the wall the stops people from falling into the river. I step up onto the step and look over the edge. We always use to come down on fireworks night and watch the fireworks that come from different places in London. It is free and you can watch different fireworks all around and it goes on for ages because they all start at different times.

"Hey" says an unfamiliar voice.

I look round and there stood a boy about 18. He was dark hair with dark brown eyes. He was quite tall and skinny as well.

He walks to the wall next to where I was standing. Not saying anything. I stand next to him.

"So what you doing up here?" I ask him.

"I have just got off from work. That is why I am wearing these clothes." He said. "I work in a car repair shop. Not very exciting but at least it is a job."

We walk over to the fish and chips shop while we give each other our numbers. We walk into the shop and asked for a 2 fish and chip take away.

We walk out of the shop as we get our food. We start walking over to the wall by the river. However I stop. There by the river was my dad and brothers trying to look for me. I notice Jamie has stopped and he was looking at me seeing what I was going to do next. He knew that my dad and brothers were there.

I look back over to my dad and brothers. My dad is sitting down on a bench brushing his hair back with his hands. I can see he is worried. I can't decide what to do. I don't want to go back home but I want to go home so my dad isn't worried about me. I sit down on the bench nearest me. I put my fish and chips on my lap.

We reach my house and no lights are on. The car isn't here as well. My heart pounds; I can hear it beating in my ears. I look at Jamie. He is standing there looking down on me.

"So are you going go back into the house or have I walked all the way here for nothing?"

"Do you want to come in until my dad comes back?" I ask. I don't want to go back into the house on my own.

"I don't think I should. I have really only meet you."

I nod and turn to walk up the drive.

He sighs and follows behind me.

I look round at him. It feels like I have known him for years. He is like a long lost friend I have finally seen again after many years. I turn and fumble in my pocket for the keys. I find them. I get the right key and open the door.

We go out into the front room and sit in one of the sofas. Just as we sit down the front door clicks. My twin brothers run into the front room and jump on top of me. They had seen me sit down in the front room. I hear the front door click shut. My dad stands in the door way of the front room. My brothers slide of off me. I look at my dad. He looks down at his feet.

"Are you with mum again?"

"No." he mumbles. "I didn't know she was going to turn up. I am sorry that I asked her in but I wanted to know why she came back. But as soon as Ben and Charlie came and told me you had gone I tried to get her out the house but she wouldn't leave." I looked at my dad and the realised Jamie was still here. I looked at Jamie who is sitting there looking really uncomfortable. I didn't know what to do. I didn't want to make Jamie more uncomfortable. I stood up and hugged my dad and said sorry to him quietly.

"Nancy?" Ben and Charlie say.

"This is Jamie. He sees us by the river." I say as I know what they were going to ask next. "He came up to me to see if I was okay." Charlie and Ben start asking him questions. My dad and I start laughing. Jamie looks at me and I give him a big smile a mime 'don't worry. They always do it' Jamie starts to laugh as well. My dad starts to talk to him and asking what he does when Ben and Charlie shut up.

by a pupil at the Crown Woods School

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