My mother moved out when I was fourteen as she could no longer cope. She tried to take me with her but his grip was too tight and by then I was too brainwashed. My sister did go with her and the two teams grew stronger with hate. On a rare holiday to visit her family, I was constantly bombarded with questions and demands to stay loyal to her and see my father for the evil creature he was. Of course at that moment my loyalties were firmly with my Dad and I was left distraught by their abhorrence towards him. They were just worried for my safety as they had been with my mother for years but I was blind to it. I made false promises to them out of fear and pressure saying that I would stand by her. I still loved her, very much, I longed for the past when we were happy, when I could remember the good times with my mum.
The moments where we laughed together, where I watched her cooking up my favourite meals in the kitchen following her every move, the times when I cuddled up to her as she had her afternoon nap and painted her face with make up as she slept.
Nothing stands out to me more than those memories. The fighting and arguing are almost a blur, those moments just blend into one another. But the flashes of our happiness remain completely clear.
I can’t wait to taste it. My mother has been promising to do this for months. My sister doesn’t seem as excited as me probably because she has tasted it before. It’s a long wait. I go into the garden, the sun is beating down on me. The smell is different out here too. I retreat back inside as the oven timer rings; it’s ready!
My mother tells us to wait as it’s very hot. “Wait”? I can’t wait. I’m not patient. I want it now. She is hovering over the cooker but I can’t see what she is looking at. Her face seems confused.
“What is it Ma?” asks my sister.
“I think we may have gone wrong” Ma replies.
I stand on a stool and see a glass dish filled with rock hard toffee.
“Where are the flapjacks?” I am puzzled.
“It doesn’t matter, we can eat this instead” Ma swiftly states.
She takes the dish to the sink and chips away at the toffee. Chunks are flying everywhere. My sister is clearly put off as she walks away. I plan to stay; I like toffee. My mum hands me (what I think is) a very small piece. I put the hot toffee in my mouth.
The top layer begins to melt and I’m left with all the crunchy bits. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to eat. I can’t chew, I’m trying with all my strength but I can’t. Little nuggets are stuck in my teeth. My fingers are pulling at them, I am not enjoying this.
My mum is proudly watching me devour her bizarre creation that I so excitedly popped into my mouth a few minutes ago. My tongue is rooting around trying to pull every last bit from my teeth. It’s not working. I eventually manage to dislodge a chunk and consider whether to swallow it whole or to do the unthinkable and spit it out.
This happiness saved me. The dark moments in my life made me return to these moments and through my adult years I have visited them plenty of times.