The day after meeting P the other kids steered clear of me altogether which was a relief in some ways but disappointing in another as I wandered about the school playground on my own again, bizarre as it may seem I think I almost preferred them teasing and harassing me as it meant I had some interaction with other human beings as opposed to none.
However there was some relief to my loneliness as it was around this time that my Grandad started to come over to our house every day in order to help my Mum out; my Dad was working night shifts so he was out in the evening returning during the day while I was at school and would go to bed until it was time to get up for his next shift. My Mum was struggling to keep everything going in the house and I know I wasn’t helping much as she lost her temper with me an awful lot, on quite a few occasions she hit me and would tell me to get out of her sight until she had calmed down.
In order to give my Mum some respite my Grandad came up a few days a week and he would meet me at the school gate, walk home with me and sit with me while my Mum rested. I really enjoyed this time as he always talked to me about what I had learned that day and would often bring me new stationery items or books to read. I also went to stay with him after school on a Friday through till Sunday morning when my Mum came round and we went home again; I was always really excited to go to Gran and Grandad’s for the weekend as they kept a beautiful garden full of colourful flowers which I loved to play in. Grandad also had a greenhouse and we would cultivate plants from seed in there – we grew tomatoes, strawberries and an apple tree all from seed, I was fascinated by it all. On Saturday we would spend most of the morning walking around the local country park identifying wildflowers before meeting Gran at a café in town where we would have a drink and some cake and then Sunday would be taken up watching wildlife documentaries until Mum came round.
After a while, when things started to pick up for my Mum again, my Grandad stopped coming along as frequently and I walked home after school on my own before going out to play in the streets out front. My weekend visits to my Grandparents kept going although I now only went every other week instead as my Mum and Dad started to take me out into town on a Saturday.
A few months after I first met P he appeared at school, due to the fact that he had missed a lot of school in previous years he had to re-do the final year of his primary education. I was overjoyed to see a friendly face during school hours and he seemed genuinely pleased to see me; he sought me out during the play-break and asked how I had been keeping. He asked me to run some errands for him and I was only too pleased to be of service to him. Initially it was simple things like running to the shops for something that Q or K wanted so P could play football with his friends instead. I was more than happy to do this as K always gave me a milkshake whenever I brought their shopping in; eventually I started running errands for Q and K too, simple things like delivering parcels to other neighbours or collecting stuff for them. I can’t honestly be sure what was in any of the parcels, I have a fair idea though and it makes me feel incredibly stupid and naïve that I didn’t ever ask any questions.