I plan to share some of my story at some point so I’m experimenting with creative writing. Honest, critical feedback welcome.
You know those TV dramas you get about delinquent kids from broken homes, who always end up living with some super nice foster family? The ones we call ‘gritty’. It’s usually a white man and a white or black woman who desperately want to help a troubled child, and they have a nice home with clean bed sheets and towels and mugs that aren’t chipped to prove it. They have a kitchen table they can sit at, which they do, with the mugs that aren’t chipped, warming their hands, while they discuss what to do about the latest addition to the household. They really seem to care. They worry about the best way to deal with the psychological trauma they’ve invited to their home, memories of tormented mothers, violent fathers and heroin needles on kids’ playgrounds. The kid always runs away. Maybe back to the playground. The kid is always found. The kid always takes it out on the nice couple, who the kid won’t call mum and dad at first and isn’t expected to, of course. Eventually the nice couple with the white man and the black or white lady win the kid over and they all muddle on, somehow. The washing machine works properly. The windows close properly. The kid is still haunted but, ultimately, everything is going to be alright. We know that.
That’s where I am now. I am the child and the mother. I adopted myself. I have a little teapot that makes one cup of tea and lots of different types of tea in my cupboard and when I open it I know that everything is going to be OK because I’m in the nice house, now. With the nice people. The carpets stretch out onto the streets and the whole world, in fact, seems safe again. Sometimes I make myself a cup of tea late at night not because I am thirsty but because I want to touch the mugs and the kettle and the spoons and the milk and all of these things that suggest I am in the nice house. The happy house. I’m happy here. I feel the mugs and they are solid, but I know they are easily breakable, and I can’t stop the shaking inside me, the quivering, the haunting. When they become chipped I throw them away. I think to myself, count your blessings girl, you can’t have everything – but you can have a nice cup of tea. Eight mugs, 6 plates, 5 bowls and 4 saucers. I am truly blessed.
And I feel I want to tell my story. I’m the kid in the TV show who doesn’t want to open up but obviously has so much to say. So I prepare. I write. I experiment. I try ideas out. If it’s all to come out, that which has been kept inside, it must be done carefully, it must be decommissioned, decontaminated, handled with care. It’s toxic. I have to do something with it because it can’t stay here. It’s corrosive. I have to pass it on or else blast it into space and that won’t be easy. So yes, it has to go somewhere. I’m trying to find the words. How many will I need? How many blessings? Do I really have everything ready to paint the picture? Can it all be conjured up, brought out, emitted, if I can just get the right words in the right order? Will you understand? I’m at the kitchen table, mug in hand, but where are you, reader? Are you ready for me to begin? Turn the TV off and take a seat with me. I’m going to tell you a story.