It’s hard to tell the difference between right and wrong, or wrong and right, that’s something I learnt as I was growing up. I should have begun this book with ‘once upon a time’ as my life revolves somewhere around the Grimm Tales and Sleeping Beauty, obviously removing beauty from the end of the word and replacing it with Ugly, so maybe it revolves around the Ugly Duckling.
Year 10 was a right pain-in-the-arse year where coursework and exams seemed to overrule the brain and suddenly become part of a day-to-day routine, for some others, than myself. Y’see, I wasn’t such a well behaved teen in those days, only because I got mixed in with the wrong crowd. Lead by none other than the girl I knew as Lolita, I followed behind her doing her bidding. Lolita seems to be the name of some hot chick with blonde hair and big boobs… exactly what she was, the exact opposite of me- the scrawny little girl with no boobs or bum and scraggy hair.
I’d become a child without freedom, Lolita was the female version of Brett in Eden Lake, which meant I had to do everything for her. Lolita wanted me to steal from a jewellery shop one Saturday, and it was a watch, which was worth £1345ish, that she wanted me to take. She was one of those too-scared-to-do-it-herself people, so the majority of her “gang” would do everything for her, the majority being myself.
I guess had I not refused to steal the watch for her, I would be sat in jail right now, or at least be doing community service. But, I suppose it would have been better than what happened on the exact same day that I refused to steal the watch.
My parent’s owned a shop in the Northern Quarter of Manchester called Flaming Bonkers, in other words, a joke, fashion and hair studio, probably the weirdest thing that someone could own. My mum’s the hairdresser along with two other women, there is also a man and woman who help out with the fashion area and then my dad does the financial side and the joke shop- weirdest combination ever.
Anyway, it must’ve been sometime in April 2006 when the accident happened, the accident that I’m about to describe in a very retrospective way. I wasn’t at the shop, at the time, but I heard about it sometime after I’d returned home from school, in the middle of the day. I knew that I was meant to see my social worker, James, that day, but I didn’t think I’d be meeting him somewhere other than my house, for once. I had to have a social worker as I’m a bad, bad girl and my mum used to do the drug thing.
It got to at least two o’clock that afternoon when I’d woken up from being asleep for an hour, or so. And, I knew I’d gone to sleep as that’s probably the only thing that I usually did when I came home early. I didn’t wake up out of my own choice, but the doorbell was rung and it was the loudest and most frightening doorbell I’d ever heard, in fact, I think it was the only time I’d noticed the doorbell go off in the whole of my fifteen years of living there.
It was obviously urgent, or it wouldn’t have been rung that loud. It was best that I should get up and go and answer it, even though, I know, that it’s probably the police or someone who’ll take me back to school. Without hesitation, I unlock the door and open it- it was James.
“Alright, kiddo?” he sighed, “you need to come with me. I’ve phoned school, I guess you can use this as an excuse.”
“I’m ill,” I muttered.
“Isn’t that what you said last time?” he turned to leave and walked down the two stone steps, “I’ll wait in the car.”
“Where are we going?”
There was no answer, but it was soon something I didn’t want to find out at all and, if I could’ve looked into the future, it’d all be alright. I remember James moaning at me for taking so long to get ready and I wished I hadn’t taken that long at all. James told me everything in the car, I don’t remember everything though, just the parts that mattered.
His words were something along the lines of, “I’m taking you to hospital, not for your own personal reasons, but because there’s been an accident, involved your parents, though, I wouldn’t call it an accident as the person who, well, drove into them was drunk, and how he’d managed to get a lorry that big through a shop I don’t know.”
I wouldn’t normally listen to what James had to say, but it’s something that wouldn’t go in one ear and out the other, it was more like drilled into my brain and every single word went in deeper and deeper. And, James wasn’t lying; the majority of things he seemed to say were truthful.
The first thing I was most interested in was asking him how he knew such a thing before I did and it turned out that the hospital had phoned school, school phoned James and then, obviously, James knew I would be at home, so he went straight there. That popped a question from James; he wanted to know what I was doing off school- my lies never got passed James.
I remember the majority of the time at the hospital and, in the time, hardly anything had happened, other than the fact that I had to sit around with James for ages. My aunt turned up after about an hour or so and that was not good news. She is my most hated aunt out of the three of them I had and I hardly favoured the others much either. It was easy to account how much crying she had done, as her make-up with all down her face and there was a ball of tissue lying in her half-wrinkled, half-tanned hand.
I remember seeing flocks of people walking in and out of varied entrances around the waiting room and others parking their backsides onto seats round us. And, most of all, I remember the green-suited scientists that would walk around with clipboards, in their gloved hands, and white masks draped around their necks- some work places just need to be Gok-ed.
I think, at least, two hours passed until the nurse came out to see the three of us. Pretty young girl, she was, with plenty of opportunities in her life, but chose the root of medicine and became a nurse-in-training. I remember her because I must’ve seen her about twenty times in the whole time my parent’s were in the hospital. She told us all that the best thing for us all to do was go home, get some rest and come back the next day, which we did, and we went to our homes. Though, James would’ve preferred me to stay with my aunt, I quickly came up with a cunning plan to go and stay with my mum’s best friend, Lorna.
Lorna’s a very nice woman, hence the reason she’s mum’s best friend. She has a son and two daughters and lived in a huge house in Ashton-under-Lyne, definitely a difference to the council house I lived in, in Droylsden. Anyway, so, quite happily, Lorna picked me up from the hospital, whilst James waited with me, and we went to collect some clothes from my house, and then I don’t think anything happened for the rest of the day, or the next day, or the next day, other than the fact that we went to the hospital and I visited my mum and dad. Mum was half awake when I went into see her, most of the time, and dad was in a coma, so there was no response from him.
It must’ve been somewhat two weeks later because I remember we were entering May and Saturday 6th May was the fair, for the May Queen, in Ashton-Under-Lyne. I wasn’t going to the fair, of course, I was sat in the hospital, waiting to see my parent’s, again, as we were a little bit too early for visiting hours. Lorna was there too, along with her younger son, Tommo, and my aunt. Lorna didn’t like my aunt and I thank her for feeling the same way as I did.
Anyway, we were sat around, for a good forty-something minutes, when the nurse came out to tell the visitors, who were waiting, that everyone could go in. Just before we were about to go, the nurse then came over to us.
“Are you here for Mr and Mrs. Strattonstone?” she asked, with the most noticeable sadness on her face. We all nodded and she seemed to aim the rest of the speech down to me, “and, you must be Miss. Strattonstone?” She paused. “I’m terribly sorry, this must be hard for you, you’re mother passed away a couple of minutes ago. We tried to do everything we could, but there was no response from her.”
It was just about the saddest moment of my life, but I didn’t know what to say. Lorna and my aunt broke down into tears straight away and I received the biggest hug from Lorna. I was speechless. I didn’t cry. I just stood there in complete and utter shock- some daughter I was.
The rest of the day went slowly; it wasn’t sinking into my brain. We visited mum in her beauty and elegance, lay on the plastic bed, which has, most likely, held more than one dead body like hers. I visited dad, he was awake and he knew everything. We must’ve hugged for the longest time we had ever done, and he couldn’t stop crying. Lorna left us alone and my aunt went home to “sort herself out”, though that would probably have been smoke-some-hard-drugs-and-get-over-it.
Just before I left to go home, Dad dried his eyes and said, “everything’s going to be just fine, you’re the best thing that ever happened to us, just remember that. Do me a favour get rid of that girl, Lolita, and follow your dream, she’s dragging you down.”
I laughed a little. “You sound just like James.”
“James’s a very good man then, take his advice and take mine.”
I kissed his cheek. “Goodbye, dad!”
And, with that, I left the hospital and went back to Lorna’s house. We were silent in the car, as silent as silent could ever get. She skipped the long route, that time, and went the short way. Lorna wiped the tears away once-in-a-while, but she couldn’t keep them away, not even if she wanted to. Tommo sat in the back, like us, in silence and listened as Lorna tried to stop the tears coming down.
That night was the same, silent, confusing, slow, sickening. I didn’t eat; the only people who did were Tommo and Ryan, Lorna’s husband. I think their two daughters were asleep in their cots, as they are twins. Lorna was cuddled up on Ryan in a fit of tears and, even though Ryan wasn’t crying, he was just as sad as we all were.
It seems so unique to know that I was probably the only girl, at the age of fifteen, who has never cried after finding out their parent has died. But, that night, I cried myself into the most bleak and unforgiving sleep I had ever had.
The next day, I remember, didn’t begin in the silence the day before had ended in; it began in sadness and complete shock. Lorna was sat at the kitchen table with tissues lay across it and a small crumpled up one in her hand. She heard my footsteps straight away and was looking over at me.
“Oh, Eveia, why does life have to be so hard?” she cried, “everything just seems to be going so wrong lately, ever since I cracked that bloody mirror.” I find this quite humorous. “I can’t believe it. You’re mum, gone, forever, and now… and now… OMIGod, Eveia, I can’t believe it.” She stood up and gave me the biggest hug known to man, “I’m so, so sorry, the hospital rung, they said… they said… they said your father… he was found… found dead.”
That’s when I started to cry, broke the hug and ran back up to my room- my mum and dad were both dead. This truly was the worst part of my life.