Third Person Autobiography.
As a writer I always hear people say that to write well you must write what you know, but I have never done this. Autobiographical just isn't my style. People who know me assume it would be easy for me to write about my life, that I would have an endless supply of inspiration from the vast life experience of my short 23 years.
But I can never seem to draw from my personal experience whatever I write, saving the occasional angst-y love poem of my teens. But the real things, the things that shaped the person that I am, I just can't seem to pen down.
Heaven knows why. Maybe its because, having no real personal or emotional issues regarding my unusual childhood, I steer clear of the stereotypical dark and depressive writing of a child raised by drug addicts. I prefer to write positively, about love and clouds and puppy dogs tails. Frankly its because that's how I see life. I'm not naïve, I'm aware of all the awful things the human race is capable of, but I choose to look on the bright side.
However as far as my writing goes, I feel this is probably detrimental. And wanting to avoid type casting in my prose, I have decided to attempt a darker style of writing, and have decided to use my mothers death as the catalyst for my new found dramatic flair.
This could take a while, as having dealt with the issues of guilt and abandonment my mothers death left me with a long time ago, I am in a place of full acceptance regarding my past. So digging deep to reconnect with the pain of loss may be more difficult than it may seem, but as Theodore Roosevelt once said: nothing worth doing is ever easy. So I'm going to give it a try.
Wish me luck!
* * *
The long rocky path stretched out in front of her, and as she stared straight ahead at the pristine fields, rugby goals and the large brick building in the distance which the girl knew as home. She was suddenly aware of the stillness in the air, nothing moved. No wind. No sound.
Then suddenly a noise in the distance, a car was driving up the rocky path, and as it rounded the corner and appeared from behind the trees, she saw the familiar blue and yellow markings which told her it was a police car.
She watched as the police car drove slowly up the long rocky path towards the sports club where her family lived and worked.
In that moment, without the clarity of articulate thought, she knew in her bones that something was wrong. Her mother had been ill before she left that afternoon, and her father had been visibly concerned. It had worried her even then, and now, just a few short hours later, a police car was driving up to her house.
Almost in the same moment she dismissed the fear rising within her, her nine year old brain not equipped to deal with the reality of what may have occurred.
Telling herself that the police had been called in response to the recent theft, she turned her back on the distant view of her home and ran back to her friends, who were playing nearby.
* * *
The following day after her unintended sleepover, as the girl sat in the back of her fathers car being driven home, she asked him questions. She was aware of the pensive silence, almost tangibly filling the car, but she was too nervous not to ask.
"Actually I need to talk to you about that when we get home..."
"I saw a police car at the house yesterday, was it about the stolen computers?"
After the journey home, which seemed to her to take longer than ever before. The little nine year old girl walked slowly behind her father towards the white bungalow that housed her and her family. Now with the paralysing fear rising within her, that little three bedroom bungalow perched on the side of a rugby pitch seemed huge and foreboding. Maybe she sensed the new emptiness inside.
The nearer she got to entering that house, the more fear gripped her. And as her father stopped to unlock the front door, the silence was deafening.
"Dad" She said, unable to allow herself to enter that house, "Where's Mum?"
Her fathers gaze rested on her for a moment, before his eyes shifted toward the ground.
"We need to talk about that honey..." he replied quietly, opening the door.
She didn't move, frozen to the spot as the hot stale air from the open door hit her.
Her father looked at her, his eyes misting. And she knew, there was no question, so before it hit her she had to say it, to know it was real.
"She's dead isn't she?"
Her father looked sadly at her, a single tear escaping down his cheek as he silently nodded.
Then the tears began to flow.
Six Years Later.
A lot had happened in six years, she had moved to a whole new part of the country, started secondary school, and her father had re-married and had another child. She had made lasting friendships and finally begun healing the wounds left by her mothers absence.
But now, lying in bed, darkness enveloped her, and with nothing there to distract her from the pain in her heart, so real it was almost physically debilitating. She lay there, crying uncontrollably, not even fully sure why!
It had been six years since her mothers death, and yet she still couldn't move on. So many feelings jostled inside her she barely knew which ones she recognised, and the uncontrollable crying just gave her a headache and confused her more.
Why did it still hurt so much? Why couldn't she just move on with her life?
"I'm sorry..." The words escaped her lips as she sobbed. They surprised her, why was she sorry? She wasn't to blame! She wasn't aware of any feelings of guilt. But then her mouth repeated the words: "I'm sorry" and again "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry" she sobbed over and over, and as she sobbed the words became unintelligible. Yet they didn't stop, and her lungs felt as though they could collapse at any moment.
After an unspecified amount of time, could have been hours or merely long minutes. Crying and sobbing "I'm sorry" over and over, she knew something was wrong. She couldn't stop, and although crying herself to sleep had become a nightly ritual, she had never cried for this long before.
Still sobbing, she pulled herself out of bed and tiptoed her way across the hall to the bedroom of her father and his new wife. Quietly she knocked on the door, and calling out for them she pushed their door open. Turning on the bedside lamp, her step-mother welcomed her inside. And as the now fifteen year old girl (still feeling very much like that little nine year old who lost her mummy all those years ago) started telling them of her pain, and how she couldn't understand why it still hurt so much after all this time, or what she was sorry for?
She sat waiting for the condescending request to return to bed and continue this self pitying teenage griping tomorrow. But instead they listened, and held her as she began to cry again. After a short time her step-mother rose and brought the baby into the room with them to give him his nighttime bottle, and as the girl looked at her father, step-mother and new baby brother, she realised what she was sorry for, why she felt so guilty.
She was happy. Her mother was gone and she was happy. Of course one was not the cause of the other, but she knew that her mother would have been distraught at the idea that her daughter would not continue to cry and lament endlessly after her death. Her mother had been ill, and struggled with depression and alcoholism, and her self esteem had been wrapped up in the love and dependence of her family, particularly her young daughter.
But now, after all this time she knew what it was that had been stopping her from moving on, and she could finally begin to put that behind her and accept that ultimately she deserved to be happy.
It would take time, but she would get there. Eventually.