Mother and Son Reunited - Chapter 12
I have said good bye to Goldenbridge, the orphanage in which I have spent the last three years. I am nearly nine years old and I am on my way back to 147, the name we gave to the house my grandparents live.
It is a three bed roomed bungalow and it houses my Grandad my grandmother, my Uncle Sean, my uncle Joe the four of us and my mother. There is even a lodger from Cork living with us and her name is Mary. My grand parents feel obliged to keep her as their family in Tipperary has said that Paddy and Kathleen , my grandparents, in Dublin would put her up and they have never learned to say no. I learn from my grandparents how to complain behind people's backs but always smile to their faces.
A very hard soft spot
Mary from Cork has her own room and my grand father doesn't even have his own bed. My grandmother hates him touching her and I see nothing but disgust on her face when he tries to be affectionate. She keeps rejecting him and treating him as though he is a leper.
My grandmother sleeps in the room we call "the girls’ room". She has a soft spot for my brother who is the baby of the family. That soft spot for my brother, however, is not soft enough to keep them from sending him back to Goldenbridge every week. Every Sunday evening we stand outside the house and I watch the little face of my brother waving in the rear window of the car that takes him back to Goldenbridge orphanage. I go into the bathroom and cry. I don't want anyone to see me crying.
My grandmother smokes constantly and it is disgusting to see the snots hanging from her nose and dripping on to the cigarette in her mouth as she stirs the stew for our dinner. I see my grandmother as a horrible angry old woman with nothing nice to say about anyone or anything.
We stay out of her way and she speaks to me to ask me to run to the shops for her.
Son, I'm home again!
When I arrive at the house from Goldenbridge I am greeted by my grandmother who ushers me down the hall and into the kitchen.
As I enter the kitchen my mother jumps out from behind the door. I look at her with surprise and then I feel angry.
“Aren't you happy to see me?”,she asks.
I am not happy to see her. She asks me to hug her and I do but I don't want to.
“Who is this woman who thinks she can step back into my life like this after all these years and expect me to forget that she left me in that place without so much as a word?” I feel bitter and resentful.
I pretend to be happy and she relaxes.
This is my mother and I must recreate my image of this woman if I am ever to learn to love her again.