There is no place to go. I hate where I am and cannot go anywhere else. Around me, there are people who care, but those people will rotate in and out of my life daily, weekly, every few months. There is nobody near me who I have known for more than six months. People look intently at me, assessing, scribbling notes, making assumptions, making diagnoses. Without my knowledge or consent, people sit around huge tables and talk about every single, horrible, private and shameful detail of my life. They all own a little bit of me but I own nothing. I have nothing more than what fits in two drawers, one box and a schoolbag. My house does not carry the sounds of life, but the echoes of a place that people are getting ready to leave. The walls are ragged and weak from my rages; vicious and visible scars that are a perfect image of my pain. I move through this alternate universe like it is normal. In fact, it is. Not a single day in my life held the kind of normal that you know. My normal is ten different houses in one year and ten different schools in ten years. My normal is to be sent, taken, pushed, hidden and locked away. My normal is not to think for a moment that anybody else will do what they said, so there is only me. My world has locked doors, case notes, uniforms, therapists, impossible words and long, long days of trying so hard to survive, that when the night comes, I have to let go. The need in me to rage is like your need for water in summer. I want a cluttered home. Noisy. With people laughing and arguing and watching TV. I want school newsletters, junk mail and bills piled up on the kitchen bench. I want to live in a house where they don’t lock up the knives, the baseball bats and the paracetamol. I want to get dropped off at school and make it to 3pm. But there is nowhere I can go. I am too unpredictable, too violent, too impulsive. Some people like me enough to wish they could have me, but they know that they will not be safe with me around. So I cannot have a home. All I get is an echoey room and a whole bunch of people who can see the crack up ahead through which I will fall.
Brothers, it’s me. Twin 2 she calls me, or Trouble, or Baby B. When she is in a good mood, or has had a couple of glasses of that yellowy water, she might call me Bunny, or Sausage, or Chicken. Anyway, I’ve snuck away. There may only be moments to spare. Not a sixty second period goes by where she doesn’t suspiciously say where is your brother? Or she shouts my name, quickly followed by what ARE you doing? Honestly that woman does not trust me alone for a single moment. If we tally up the number of times she shouts all the names, I’m way out in front. I am not suggesting for a moment that I am the innocent in all this, but I do think she overreacts at times.
Take for example the time I flushed the bath plug down the toilet, followed by the face cloth, and my teddy, undies and other things she doesn’t know about. She and Daddy pulled out their serious, deep voices that day. So overdramatic brothers. And I can’t help it if I like to empty things. Like bottles of Dettol, and whole bottles of bubble bath, and cooking oil, hand sanitizer, toothpaste tubes and my cup of water into my dinner. Just trying to be helpful people what’s the big deal? Sheesh. And why not bring the business end of the garden hose into the house to speed up the cleaning? She is always wiping things and cleaning food off the floor, surely the hose is more efficient brothers?
I am a born risk taker brothers. When I am a teenager this quality will ensure I am on a first name basis with the local Emergency Department nurses. As an adult, it will make me a millionaire in stocks. And then bankrupt. And then a millionaire. But at 3, well it’s a tricky skill to balance. Mum freaks out when I come out of the garage with a razor sharp pocket knife that I’ve managed to locate (those parental types continually underestimate my detective skills). She also loses her shit when she finds me in the playroom with Dad’s screwdrivers, secateurs and lawn mower.
I am also an unsung artist. We all know about my previous escapades with poo painting. Now that I hold a somewhat more mature view of excrement, my media are less offensive. Or so I thought. She seems impossible to please brothers. I thought that the white floor tiles downstairs were, well BORING!! I thought some dark brown paint would look GREAT! She is always carrying on about how freaking amazing my drawings are so why the big meltdown about my paint work? Brothers, do not try to understand adults.
If the stock market is not my future, then Junior Masterchef certainly is. But still I go unrecognised for my skills in my own home. Let me tell you, grated cheese and breakfast cereal IS a delight, no matter what your mother tells you about having to pick all the cheese out of the cereal box. And why am I the first to discover that custard and orange juice is a match made in heaven? People please.
Brothers, I will soldier on. If only to carry your faith in me as a valiant warrior would. But I am not without self reflection. Before I go (get caught) I must bare my soul in order to seek absolution. To the innocent fish at Day Care, I am sorry. I am so very sorry. You did not deserve the terror that was visited upon you. Please forgive me.