I am more like my dad than my mum. Quiet. Though he had more of an adventurous childhood. He had a best friend to be adventurous with. Quietly.
In Christchurch I had no friends and I couldn't have been happier. Then all of a sudden we were on the move again. My mum had really had enough of being starved of adult company. A quiet husband wasn't enough for a fiercely sociable 34 year old woman.
So we moved back to the borough of Bexley. But we weren't able to get our own place straight away. We spent the next several months at my dad's parents' small terraced three bedroom council house. This was punishment for my mum for bringing us back. And not particularly pleasant for a young child used to space and privacy.
My dad's parents were quiet, too. My grandfather relaxed by doing the pools and watching the wrestling. The pools and the wrestling seemed to take forever, all Saturday. My grandmother seemed to spend all her time in the kitchen, boiling socks. Fish and chips from the chip shop was a weekly treat.
I remember by bedroom wallpaper most of all. It scared the shit out of me when I was ill. And I seemed to spend most of my time in that house with one sickness or another.
Shapes moved. They became three dimensional. They throbbed, heaved, backwards and forwards, side to side, span and spiraled. The wallpaper was alive and its only reason for being was to drive me mad with nausea and fear.
I started school, a tiny school around the corner. I immediately contracted measles. The wallpaper had a field day and the measles perforated my eardrum. My mum and dad were arguing. My grandparents were, too. They were all only keeping together for the child. The sick, weak child in the box bedroom.
Come on, Dad. Hurry up and get a deposit on that dream house!
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