Tuesday, 12 June 2007
12:26:16 PM (GMT)
"Mum, I've brought a friend home from school, is that OK?" Opal called through the
house as she went in, Ruth following behind her. There was no answer. There never
was. She found her Mum spread out on the sofa, a black eye mask covering her eyes and
a bottle of nail polish spilling out onto the floor below her. Opal sighed as she
removed the bottle from the floor, and cleaned up the mess.
"See what I mean?" whispered Opal, as she finished cleaning up.
"Yes, this is exactly what I have to do." Ruth looked at Opal lovingly. A look that
Opal had never receieved before. It was a look of hope and a look that said I
The girls, after fixing themselves a simple snack, went up to Opal's room. Ruth sat
on the bed, swinging her legs around as if she didn't know what to say or do.
"What do you feel like doing? Do you want to go down to the park? It's really close,"
Ruth replied, "If you want to."
So they went downstairs, grabbed their jackets and walked over to the park.
"Your Mum is exactly like mine," said Ruth, as they reached the road that lead to the
gate of the park. "She just reminds me of her - every single bit."
"That's really weird. No one's ever said that before."
"Well, not many people have Mums like ours." They both laughed, even though it wasn't
They sat on the swings, swinging and swinging.
"What do you normally do after school, then?" Opal asked, kicking her legs.
"Homework, and then I fix myself a dinner and go to bed mostly."
"It takes you that long? No wonder your homework essays are so good."
"I haven't done any essays yet, or any homework..." said Ruth. "How did you know?"
Opal reached to touch her head. "I don't know. I just sort of...thought of it, you
"Ok, that was really freaky."
"What if I'm different?"
Now any other person would have thought this as a silly question, but not Ruth. She
understood her new friend as well as a sister. She just looked at her and said, "Then
it will make you special."
These words stuck with Opal for a long long time. After their trip to the park and
they returned home, Opal got out the diary again.
"Shall we read some?" she asked.
"Sure, but isn't it horrifying for you?"
"I've gotten used to it by now. I knew my past must have been horrible, to not
remember anything about it. Well, it was obvious really. With the way my Mum treats
me now, I didn't think it was any better back then."
She turned a page in the diary and read:
15 December '94
It's almost Christmas. Little Opal is growing and growing. She seems to have learnt
the nappy trick now. I've stopped her wearing them. She's just wrapped up in this
little white blanket in her cot. She might be cold, but that's not my problem. She's
outgrown most of her clothes and I can't afford to buy her new ones. The council
won't take any notice of my pleads, they'll just say it's my fault because I had a
baby when I couldn't cope. Well, it's NOT my fault. I didn't ask for this baby. If I
knew what I was letting myself in for I never would have had it with my ex. It isn't
worth it. One second, Opal is crying. She's probably got cold or something. Like I
care! Ok, I'm back now. That stupid little brat that I call a baby has just wet all
over that blanket. And now I have to wash it. It's soaked. She must have been like,
well desperate. But that's still no excuse. Anyway, what I did was I undressed her
right down and went SLAP right on her legs. Then I went SLAP on her tummy. It was
soooo cool. She started screaming her head off but one more slap - on her bum this
time - shut her up. I've left her in the cot naked now because I haven't got anything
else to put her in. She might be cold but it's not my problem. Well, better get to
work on washing that blanket. I can't even stick it in the washing machine because
the damn thing's broken. Bye.
When Ruth looked at Opal, she saw little beads of tears in her eyes. She reached out
and squeezed her hand. "It's OK," she said comfortingly. "It'll be alright. At least
she leaves you alone now. It can't really get worse."
Too bad Ruth didn't know what was in store for them both shortly...