Lyrics to the old Scottish song of "Nobody's Child":
I'm nobody's child, nobody's child,
I'm like a flower, just growing wild
No Mammy's kisses and no Daddy's smile
Nobody wants me I'm nobody's child.
Nobody wants me I'm nobody's child.
Growing up she was an outsider, things happened around her and she carefully watched while it unfolded. She didn't know why she felt separate and different she just knew that she wasn't part of what was happening, a watcher, a reader, a late night storyteller here for the amusement of others, never one of them.
Life was scary, books were safe, school was bearable, but just. She didn't belong here with these people that were so alien to her, these busy lives all around, never quite touching or reaching her, she was vague, there was a haziness around the edges about her. Sometimes she saw people shake their heads as if they'd caught a glimpse of her out of the corner of their eye, but minutes later had forgotten what they saw.
From a very early age she had been taught to be invisible to survive and she had learnt her craft well, she could become as transparent as glass and always just as fragile. She hardly spoke, she didn't need to they wouldn't hear her anyway, she spoke another language, understood another way of life and came from a time and place only she inhabited. The violence was the hardest to take, so much of it voiced in so many different ways, a way of life for the others and an abhorrence to every particle of her mind, there was so much more why couldn't they see that, best just to exist on the perimeters until she could find a gap to slip through.
That morning her Mother told her to get up out of bed, 'told', what a word, full of un-promise, told.
Like every morning here it was bitterly cold, from the moment she was awake she knew the dreaded moment was coming when she had to force her feet onto that freezing cold linoleum floor, over by the doorway there was a mat, it wasn't a very big mat, why had it been put there?Three of them slept in that room, perhaps it was there to show them all that none of them should have it, none of them were special enough? That's strange, the others were special, special to her Mother so why weren't they allowed to share it? It wasn't for her that was to be expected.
That morning, this very morning her little feet were not going to be forced down onto that cold, cold floor, just once she was not going to feel that icy numbing cold travel up her legs to land on the back of her neck and make her head ache and every part of her body shake and grow tense, on this morning she would fly.
She often had dreams of flying, swooping over the countryside which she had never seen, she envied the birds that flew, they had wings, oh how she longed for wings, but penguins had wings and they didn't fly so why couldn't a girl without wings do the opposite? Okay little bad ass penguin time to fly. She stood on the end of her bed, the others watched with fear and delight creeping into their eyes, eyes flicking from her feet, to her face, to the door, waiting for their Mother to come in and catch her, she could hear the noises in the kitchen, no-one was coming to stop her, no-one was coming to save her.
She steadied herself, tensed her body, bounced once as a test, and then leapt through the air, that air that swept her up and up in her dreams failing so miserably in this open-eyed dream, that expectation crumpled and destroyed by the almighty crunch as her face hit the edge of the door, smashing her nose into fragments on the inside of her face. Even worse the screams of her Mother as she was being dragged by her elbow across the hallway into the bathroom, another cold linoleum floor, a trail of blood, and worse a trail of utter disappointment and heartbreak, the endless hard hand hitting her naked legs with every spiteful word "stupid, you're so stupid, what the hell is wrong with you? For God's sake why don't you just behave? Look at the mess, it's always you, clean yourself up and then clean that mess and get ready for school, look at the state of you, what are people going to think?".