Eveia is just about to enter the ride of her life, but will she ever get to her dream?
|‘Mum and Dad are dead for definite,’ I ranted on again to my extremely hated aunt as I waited for the doctor to tell me the “news”. I’ve visited them every day in the hospital, but there’s been no sign of waking. They were in a seriously bad car accident on their way home from work. Mum and Dad run a small newsagent in Manchester, well, at least they did anyway. They were on their way home when the car collided with a lorry. It was such a nice car too! But, I suppose I should ‘av been worrying’ ‘bout my mum and dad as they lay practically dead in the ‘Intensive Care’ department. Mum hates hospitals, she said she regretted having me in one because I smelt like disinfectant when she was the one who sniffed it like a drug when waking up every morning and I was the one in an Incubator with tubes stuck up my nose. I agree with mum though, hospitals are mingin’. They stink all the time. They’re infected with germs and once you step into one, it’s like you can never escape. Dad loves the hospital ‘cause that’s where he met mum when she was seeing her sister (my extremely hated aunt) and her new baby, who’s a complete bitch and thinks she’s all that.
I’ve had everything since the accident, everything I HATE! I got a social worker: Danny’s his name. He’s not cool at all and he treats me like I’m a kid. I’m not! I’m thirteen years old, there’s a difference. I’m a teenager. Danny’s my social worker anyway; he lives in London with his wife and son, but travels around the U.K. helping teenagers like me. Unordinary teenagers, not-afraid-to-step-out-of-their-own-shell teenagers, teenagers who have parents who either have a disorder or they just can’t take life and take drugs, like my mum used to. She doesn’t anymore of course, but she smokes about 5 million fags a day. I’m surprised she’s not even dead yet! Dad smokes too, a lot less than that, but still he smokes. It’s wrong, hanging’, mingin’. It’s just ew! How could they do such a thing? I mean, come on, how can they even touch them. I tried one once, my friends dared me to do it and then when I did they told my parents as a laugh and I got in a lot of shit. I told my mum and dad that I wouldn’t do it again, but they’re always checking my clothes of smoke and when they wonder why my clothes do stink, I have to explain that they smoke every minute of the day. Danny’s a real idiot at times and I just wish I could slap him, I wouldn’t though.
I live in a counselling estate in Droylsden, Tameside. I don’t like it much because I know there’s a place out there calling my name and unlike all my friends, I’m not a chav or a slag or a slut. I’m just me. Yeah, I wear the odd hoody, but other than that I base myself upon the styles of Girls Aloud. They’re definitely my favourite band. I’ve always wanted to see them live, but my mums skint, my dads skint and I’m well… skint! But, that’s ‘because I don’t have a job. I have every one of their albums and I must have every poster from every teen magazine they’ve been in. I’m obviously not as hot as any of them, but I get by. I have a massive crush on singer Finn Taylor. So do all of my friends and suppose every other girl does in the world. He recently performed at ‘The Apollo’ in Manchester and all my friends went to watch him because their parents give them money even if it means spending the food shopping money.
My aunt decided to go and get a drink. She didn’t ask me if I wanted one, she never does. The doctor finally came out and walked over to me. I thought he’d say the usual “you can go and see them, but they haven’t woke yet”. He didn’t though; it was different- Very different.
‘Miss. Strattonstone,’ he began and my heart began to race, faster than it had ever before. His face was very serious and a little sadness was in his eyes. I was scared. He was silent for a while ‘cause he knew I was scared, he knew I didn’t want to hear what he was about to say, he knew that I knew what he was about to say, ‘Miss. Strattonstone, I’m afraid your mother past a way a couple of minutes ago.’
What was I meant to say to that? I wanted to cry, I wanted to scream, but I couldn’t. I can’t cry since I taught myself to never cry in situations I wanted to cry, I couldn’t scream because that’s when I know the fears kicked in- the anger has kicked in. I covered my eyes with my hands and then I heard a crash and a gasp- my aunt. I looked up at her and her tea was all over the floor and her face was still. She was shaking, I was shaking. I felt like I should hug her, but I couldn’t. She knelt down, crying, trying to mop the tea back into the cup (not to drink it again). A nurse helped her up and told her to leave it. She brought my aunt over and sat her next to me.
‘Which one?’ she stuttered and looked up at the doctor who was still standing there, probably wondering why I wasn’t crying, ‘my sister? Why did it have to be her?’
She was obviously making out that it should have been my dad. That set me off, the anger inside me fizzed and I could feel my face turn red. I stood up quickly and tried to shout, but the words weren’t coming out. It was as if someone was turning the volume of a stereo up and down.
‘How… how could you say something like that? I… you… it…’ the tears prickled my eyes, but my body couldn’t take the pain of a single tear. It was like being dared to put your hands in the blue bit of a flame on a Bunsen burner. ‘You… you… you’re just…’
I broke off again. Unable to get the words out of mouth, they just shrivelled up on my tongue. There was no one to cuddle up to hug me when a boy breaks my heart, no one to cuddle up to when someone says my hairs frizzy or my face is ugly or my breath stinks or I smell. That’s what a mum figure does. Now all I have is a dad, he’s just here to make fun of me and keep me on my feet. That’s what dad’s are for. I don’t mind that, of course. I wouldn’t care about living in a counselling estate for the rest of my life; I just wanted my mum back.
I visited the remains of my mum- a dead body. No soul. No spirit. Just a dead body- a beautiful dead body. Her face was pale. Her lips blue. Her hair was still the liveliest thing on her body.
We went back to my aunt’s house that night and I went straight to bed. I couldn’t sleep much. I thought of all the bad things that could happen while I was here, lying in bed. When I finally slept it was in the early hours of the morning. My aunt had let me sleep in, but I woke to a cry of pain and sadness. I could hear Sophia, my bitch of a cousin, trying to calm my aunt down. Normally, we got up and went to the hospital, but we didn’t. It’s been two weeks since the accident and, last night, my mum died. She had to reason too except that ‘her time had come’ at the age of 35. Maybe it was all the fags she smoked, maybe it’s because she took drugs or maybe it was just because some stupid idiot decided to collide a lorry with my mum’s too-expensive car.
My heart sunk. I felt bad for what had happened the night before in the hospital. I felt bad about not crying, not screaming, not even giving my aunt a hug from the news that her sister had just died. I decided I should go down and apologize for what had happened, but I was scared.
Downstairs, Sophia was hugging her mum tightly and swaying her back and forth like what a mother would do to a daughter- not what a daughter would do to her mother. I stood still looking at them for a moment.
‘I…’ I began, but I was cut off. Sophia was now looking at me, her eyes narrow and her face pale. Her eyes were red- she’d been crying too. She let go of her mum, stood up and walked over to me. I stepped back a little, feared that she might hit or blame the whole situation on me.
‘I’m sorry,’ she said, her voice was low and full of sorrow, ‘very, very sorry.’
A tear sprung from her eye and soon they were rapidly falling down her face.
‘You have to go to the orphanage,’ she continued, trying to keep me calm, trying to keep her mum calm, trying to keep herself calm, ‘mum’s dead upset, we can’t look after you anymore. You’re social workers gonna collect you tomorrow after. There’s an orphanage in London, it’ll get you away from here, there’s no one else to look after you- we were your last hope. It’ll do you good…’
Was I missing something? Dads still in the hospital, he can still look after me when he’s well. My Granddad could ‘av looked after me, he’s well enough. Arthritis doesn’t stop you from doing everything, right? What about Auntie Jude? She could look after me until dad’s better.
‘What about-?’ I was cut off again, this time by a distant voice.
‘Eveia,’ she said- my aunt. Her hands were covering her face and her voice was quiet, but I could understand every word completely, ‘I’m really sorry. I had a phone call early this morning from the hospital, your father died last night, they did everything they could.’
My mouth was wide open, my eyes just about to stream with the tears which tried so hard to fall. I didn’t want to believe any of it, but I had too. I wanted to go to the hospital, but Danny had forbid me from stepping foot outside of the house without my aunt or Sophia.
‘I-I’m going to help you pack,’ Sophia said and that’s what we did for the rest of the day. I went back to my house with Sophia and we grabbed stuff I wanted and needed and packed them too. We had to do a couple of trips back to her house. When we ate, we were silent. I helped Sophia put all the plates and cutlery into the dishwasher and then disappeared off to bed.
The next day, I woke at 12.00pm. It was hard to sleep last night and I must have had about four nightmares in a row about zombies and people dying and my parents forcing me to live like them- dead!
When I was dressed, I went downstairs and into the living room, where Sophia and my aunt were talking to someone across from them. I walked in and saw Danny. He looked at me and I remembered it was the day Danny was coming to collect me to take me away forever to a dumping ground somewhere in London. Tracey Beaker much.
‘Eveia,’ he said and stood up, ‘are you ready?’
‘Ready for what?’ I asked, acting like I didn’t know anything that was going on. I looked over at Sophia who gave me a dirty look and so I returned one and looked back at Danny. ‘To be honest, I don’t think sending me to an orphanage is gonna help at all ‘cause if you think about it, I’m just gonna ‘cause them as much trouble as I ‘av my aunt. I think I should just go home and stay there; I’m quite capable of taking care of myself. It is a council house, so it’s not like I have to really pay anything.’
‘Eveia, you’re thirteen, it’d be different if you were eighteen, but you’re not,’ he said, ‘you have no choice in the matter, you’ll soon find another family who can look after you until you’re old enough to buy a house or a flat or go to university.’
‘Me and mum will just go to the kitchen, ok?’ Sophia said, pulling her mum to her feet and then walked out of the room, closing the door behind her.
‘What about granddad? He could look after me,’ I said.
‘Your grandfather can’t cope looking after you and himself,’ Danny answered, ‘we’ve asked everyone in your family, nobody wants you.’
‘Don’t see why you’re making me sound like a bad person, I’m pretty good, it’s not like a smoke, it’s not like I steal,’ I lied, I do steal money if I’m hungry and I want to go to the chippy with my mates, I did smoke once to try it as a dare.
‘Eveia, you’re not a bad person, there’s just no one to look after you anymore,’ he replied.
‘Is there no one?’ I asked, now begging him to not let me go to the orphanage. He was quiet for a moment and then he sighed.
‘There’s one more option, but you’ll have to go to the orphanage for a week or so,’ he said and then I knew what he was going to say, I knew exactly what he was going to say. And before he could even say what he wanted to say, I already disagreed.
‘No way,’ I said in quite a high pitched voice, ‘there’s got to be another option, come on, that can’t be the last option.’
‘Eveia, I’m being serious,’ he sighed, ‘that’s the last option. The very last one, you either take that or you go to the orphanage.’
‘Yeah, but I don’t want a new family and they won’t keep me at the orphanage for five years, someone will eventually want me kicked out, so it’s best if you let me go home and live there,’ I said and I was proud of myself for thinking of a theory I thought would make him agree.
‘No, Eveia, even if you were to be chucked out, you would be sent to another orphanage,’ he replied and my heart sunk, ‘you don’t have to treat anyone like your family, they’re there like a parent and they’ll watch over you while you grow up. If you’d let me and Wendy adopt you, you would be able to go to a good school, you’d have a brother-like figure as well, you’ll make lots of friends and you’ll live in a nice home.’
‘So, you’re saying my homes crap?’ I said and the amount of things I wanted to blurt out at him was unbelievable.
‘No, I’m just saying at least you’ll live in a nice part of London where at least there’s a bit of grass which stays green for months,’ he said, obviously implying that he lives in a much better house than I do even though he probably lives in a counselling estate, but can’t admit it.
‘What’s your house like then?’ I asked, now pretty interested in what he would say. I sat down on the sofa opposite him.
‘Is that important?’ he asked.
‘Yeah, ‘cause how do I know you don’t live in a shit house like I do? How do I know-?’
‘Three floors, 5 bedrooms, en-suites in every bedroom including a toilet upstairs and downstairs, a kitchen, a games room, a living room, a quiet room, an office, a pantry, a hallway, a cellar, a dining room, a music studio and recording suite, a cloakroom, an attic, a conservatory, a small library, a cinema and a utility room. As well as a garden and quite a big acre of land,’ he boasted, ‘we live in a barn conversion.’
I was silent. A rich man offering me a home which has basically everything in. This is my social worker we’re talking about, his wife must be the one with the money because you seriously can’t get paid much for being a social worker, can you?
‘So, it’s your wife with all the money, right?’ I asked. He smirked a little under his breath and shook his head, ‘because if you can make that kinda money, you’ve going to be really rich.’
‘My wife works in an American diner in London, so she gets about £15,000 a year, I get paid £50,000 a year,’ he answered, still laughing a little, ‘but, if you accept my offer of giving you a good family, we can buy you front row tickets to see Girls Aloud and Finn Taylor live. We’ll buy you a proper phone whatever you want and a laptop. If you want to learn an instrument, we’ll buy you that instrument. We’ll buy you magazines, CD’s, whatever you want.’
‘I don’t want to be spoilt,’ I said, ‘I appreciate things, you see.’
‘I know,’ he said, ‘we’ll have to get going soon because it’ll take a couple of hours-.’
‘Ok, then you can go,’ I interrupted, just to mess him about. He frowned and I could tell he was angry.
‘Eveia, I’ve explained to you, nobody wants you here,’ he began, ‘Wendy and I want to adopt you and if I have to, I will force you to go to the orphanage, I will force you to be adopted by me and Wendy, I will force you into the car.’
‘How does all my stuff fit into your car?’ I asked and smiled a little, but then a slight bit of guilt filled my body.
‘I have a van,’ he answered, ‘I know you want to get away from here, Eveia, you’ve told everyone that. You’ve told your parents, your friends, your family that you don’t want to live like you do now, you want a life, you want to sing, you want everything you can’t get while sitting around disagreeing with me that going to an orphanage is not the best thing and that you should go back to your house which soon will be given to someone else. Are you gonna chuck them out of your house? You’ll be forced to go to an orphanage somewhere even if it’s in Manchester, even if it’s still somewhere around here in Droylsden or Tameside.
‘Do you want that? Or would you rather have a family who is going to look out over you for the rest of your life. You can’t just go round mourning your dead parents for the rest of your life, you can’t just be homeless for the rest of your life, you can’t and I won’t let you, Eveia, because I believe in you, I believe in everything you want to do in your life. It’s like you’ve lost all hope in life, it’s like you just wish that you were dead instead of your parents. Your mum took drugs and smoked, are you going to follow on from that when you’re older? Live in a counselling house because you can’t be bothered to get a proper job like be a singer in at least a club? You’re different, Eveia, when I first saw you I knew it couldn’t be right, you couldn’t be her daughter.’
Then the door slammed open and I jumped so badly my heart skipped a beat. I looked quickly, my aunt’s face was bright red and she looked like you she was about to explode. She was about to explode.
‘How could you say that? My sister was a great person and probably the nicest person you would ‘av ever met!’ she screamed and I jumped again. Then she pointed at me, ‘that little brat she brought into this world is no good at all. Her attitude is absurd and she just thinks everyone’s against her. She gets the wrong side of things. I think what you’re meant to say is her mother’s different and when you first saw her you thought that she couldn’t have had a daughter like Eveia!’
‘Exactly,’ he said, ‘her mother was different and she couldn’t have had a daughter like Eveia.’
Danny was sticking up for me, that’s the first time that he’d ever done that- ever. I looked at Danny and then back at my aunt, her face was burning and I was getting quite scared.
‘I want you and her out of my house NOW!’ she shouted, ‘I mean it now, both of you. You can grab your bags and boxes, Evetta, and go because the amount of trouble you’ve caused our family since the day you were born is unbelievable. I never want to see you ever again and I hope you never make it as a singer because with a voice like yours, you would probably break all the windows in one room.’
Now, come on, that’s a pretty childish thing to say, that’s what you’d say in primary school when you hear someone sing in a musical version of the nativity play, not when you’re forty going on seventy-four.
‘Come on, Eveia, let’s get your stuff into the van and then we can leave,’ Danny said, smiling a little. So, we did. I grabbed my toothbrush and hairbrush and spare underwear and clothes and then we were on the road after everything was in the van.