When the phonecall had come Amy had been shopping, she’d collapsed to the floor, the eggs slipping from her hand; crashing to the ground in a melee of egg shell, whites and yolks.
It wasn’t that the call had been completely unexpected, after all her mother’s death had been a long time coming; it was more the wave of relief that drifted over her that had caused the most surprise.
A woman shopper had been the first to help, followed quickly by one of the store attendants who called for some paper towel and a ‘Caution – Wet Floor’ sign. Later this scene would make Amy laugh as she told her husband what had happened.
She knew that she would have no choice now but to return to Filbert Street.
The kindly shopper had escorted her to the store cafe where a cup of steaming sweet tea was placed in front of her. Amy smiled and cupped her hands around the mug to stop them from shaking, she was determined not to cry.
Amy had done well for herself, she was unrecognisable from the 16 year old girl who had left home one crisp Autumn day in 1999, broken and alone.
She was living in a hostel in Leeds when Big Ben chimed in the new millennium and it was another 7 years before she’d gone back to visit her mum, by that time she’d graduated from university and was teaching. Amy had met David the year before and two years later they married, Amy did not invite her mum to the wedding.
She could still smell the rancid air that filled the house, a cocktail of cigarette smoke, over flowing ashtrays, mouldy take-out trays and empty vodka bottles. She shuddered as she recalled shoplifting for food because her mother had spent all their money on fags and alcohol. She was surprised at how adept she had become at it, but she’d had to eat. How the other girls had laughed at her because her clothes were old and ill-fitting. When her periods started she’d had to rip up a couple of sheets to use, she’d got the idea from a book about the Victorians!
She had slipped through the system like water through a sieve and no one had cared, not her teachers nor the neighbours.
But now she was free…