And so I will begin

OK so here it is finally in one place from start to finish. I will start by apologizing to those that I let down, that I failed to help when they needed it; I am genuinely sorry for the pain I caused you.

I begin at the very beginning as I sometimes think that is were it went wrong – with my birth. When I was born my Father was in the Army and my Mother was an Army Wife, they were both living abroad with my Father’s Army Unit. I do have some very vague memories of being happy and having fun during those initial years but they are fading fast. I tried for a while to hold onto them as proof that it wasn’t always so bad but I have found it better now to create new memories of happiness in my new life in the hope that in time there will be no more room for the sad memories. Not long after I was born my Mother unfortunately developed post partum depression, this was very difficult for her – being so far away from home and not having the support of her family. Despite the fact that her Dad, my beloved Grandad, often came to visit us it didn’t get any easier and in the end my parents decided to move back to their home town to be closer to my Mum’s family and so just before I turned 4 we packed up and moved overseas.

When we first arrived we lived with my Grandparents (my Mother’s parents) for a short time until my parents were offered a council house. This was the point where the downward spiral got really steep; we were moved into a sink estate miles away from the main town with only one bus into town per hour and we had no car. I went to the only School in the neighbourhood which was so small that the entire intake for my year consisted of only 8 kids in total. All of the other kids had all been born and brought up on the estate and in most cases were the youngest of a larger family whereas I was an only child and an outsider from another country. I immediately stuck out like a sore thumb and was not accepted by the other kids, I don’t blame them for that – there was a culture of distrust on the estate, particularly for any “outsiders”. For a short time I had a friend who, like me, was from another country and we bonded instantly over our shared “outsider” status. Neither of us cared about the other’s origins, all we knew was that we were fellow human beings in need of friendship. Sadly her family encountered a lot of racist abuse from the other residents and they moved away to a different town leaving me friendless and devastated. I tried to become involved with the other kids but it was difficult as they had all known each other for a long time before I arrived and they did not like anything that was different in any way. It didn’t help that I was suffering from anxiety caused by the upheaval of such a big move as well as being painfully shy and introverted. I was quite advanced at reading and so I tended to read a lot which annoyed the other kids as they thought I was nerdy.

In the end things got so bad that the Teachers actually told the other kids that they had to be friends with me and they were forced to include me in their games. This served only to infuriate the other kids further and so they used me as a punch bag in their games, I became a source of fun for them rather than a playmate. I knew what was going on and I hated it but I had no one to talk to about it – my parents told it was my own fault for not making an effort, for not being more like them and so I allowed them to torment me in the hope that I would one day win their approval and fit in.

Then one day I met my “rescuer”, I was being picked on yet again; this time they had decided it would be great fun to throw my new pencil case into the cesspool at the back of the school and I was pleading with them not to do it. I knew I would be in trouble if I went home and had to tell my parents I had lost it, I had a habit of “losing” items and my parents were getting pretty annoyed with me as we didn’t have a lot of money. Just as one of the girls was about to throw it over the fence an older boy (a teenager) came across from one of the houses and gave the kids hell, they instantly backed down and my pencil case was returned to me. I was over the moon, this was the first time someone had been nice to me and it felt so good, it seemed like from out of nowhere I suddenly had a friend. I was instantly indebted to him for saving me from having to go home and face the wrath of my Parents. If only I knew then what a heavy price tag it would come with; I would have let them throw all my worldly goods into that cesspool if I had known what would happen next.

When the other kids had dispersed he asked if I was ok and if they had hurt me at all. I was totally dumbstruck at the time so I just stared at him in wonder; he then asked me if I knew why the other kids had been picking on me. I just shrugged my shoulders as I was still unable to utter a word. He then told me his name (I will refer to him as P from here on in) and said that I was to come to him if I had any problems with any of the other kids again. It turned out that this boy held the status of “top dog” within the group of kids on the estate, no one dared cross him and if he said the other kids were to leave me be then his word was law. He lived with his older brother (Q) and his brother’s girlfriend (K) – I thought this was so very cool; they were in a house all to themselves with no parents. He took me over to his house so I could get cleaned up, that’s when I met Q and K for the first time. They asked me my name and stuff and I answered as best I could albeit with a terrible stammer, they said I was “cute” and then asked P to run to the shops for them. P asked me to chum him on the errand and I tagged along like a lost puppy. We chatted a bit more on the way to and from the shops, he asked me about where I had come from, who my parents were and how long we had been on the estate. He didn’t seem at all bothered about where I was from; in fact he said it was “cool” that I was new and different. When we got back to his house I was offered a milkshake by K which I was very excited about, my parents said milkshake was very expensive so we didn’t have any in our house. I just about guzzled it in one; K laughed at me and said I was welcome to come around anytime for more milkshakes as they had plenty. After the milkshake I went home, just as I left P said I wasn’t to worry any more about the other kids as he would look out for me from here on in, I felt like I was on cloud nine and practically skipped home.

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