I know you probably won’t read this letter…I wouldn’t know where to send it anyway and for all I know, you’re no longer in the land of the living.
If you were ever to read this, it would probably come as a surprise to you, seeing as it’s been, what, over 20 years since you abandoned me, disappeared without a care or a thought for me, my wellbeing or my future. In all those years neither of you made any attempt to contact me or find out how I was. So, I can only assume that you continued to wallow in your selfishness.
But, hey, time has flown and, whether you wished to know or not, I wanted to let you know what has been happening in my life and let you have the benefit of hearing my thoughts about our relationship.
I’ve had a rewarding, rich and eventful life. I realise now that I may have inherited some of your genes but I doubt it. Unlike me, neither of you were successful and you clearly ran away from your problems rather than facing up to them, understanding them, solving them! Perhaps somewhere back in my ancestry, there were one or two intelligent, caring & successful folk but those genes must have been very selective about where they went and gave you both a wide berth.
If not genes, what about your influences?
Well, Father, what did I learn from you? Always to keep a bottle close to hand? To ensure that my bedroom & bathroom door was always locked? To welcome a ‘little pat on the bottom’ as an act of familial affection? To be spontaneous? To have a wandering spirit (as well as wandering hands)? To go off god knows where for days or weeks on end? To never lose an argument before first resorting to good old physical punctuation between the expletives and invective? And, of course, to never overstay one’s welcome!
And you, Mother, dear? Prescription pills? Street drugs when none of the local GPs would prescribe any longer? Certainly, from the steady flow of ‘uncles’ who came to stay, I learnt never to be racist. But it did leave me wondering why you had so many ‘brothers’, all of whom shared your room when there was a perfectly good couch in front of the TV. One day, when I’ve time to spare, I’m going to research our family tree, track down all my uncles so I can make sure they’re on the Christmas card list!
Neither of you could have given a damn when you disappeared, knowing that I would be taken into care at 10 years of age. Oh, yes, I got plenty of care; four sets of new mummies and daddies in the next 8 years! And that doesn’t include the nice(!) care home! To be fair one or two were reasonably kind to me. But there was nobody really there to inform and guide me into womanhood when the time came and through my teenage years.
It was only the perception and kindness of Mrs Hetherington, my headmistress at senior school, who really cared, who literally saved me. She saw through my misbehaving and my tantrums, she cared, and took me under her wing. She inspired me, built on my love of English, set me on the path to University. God, she even took me into her home when the ‘care’ system kicked me out at the age of 18! She was a mother to me.
In fact, having given the matter a great deal of thought, I think the only thing I can genuinely thank you for, was for the act of procreation that resulted in my coming forth into this world.
Oh, yes, I’ve had adventures, battled my way to the top, succeeded (so far) beyond my wildest dreams, earned riches you could never dream of (and would waste if you had them). I even met a man who cared for me, who selflessly guided me, who I owe so much to. But he went and died on me!
But now I need to bloody well find myself!