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Away From Home (Narrating in the second person)

You wake up to the sound of the teacher’s voice shouting out the command to get out of bed. You go to the bathroom, and you splash your face, as you’ve been instructed to do, and then you brush your teeth. Each of you has a little shelf where you keep your toiletries. You’re only six years old, and you’re not as quick as the older girls, who push you out of the way to use the wash hand basin.

You wonder why you’re here, remembering the visit to the doctor, with your mum, and her stripping you down to vest and pants, as requested by the doctor (well, you think he was a doctor as he had a white coat on). You were able to name all of the colours correctly. The rest is a haze; he spoke to your mum about going away somewhere. Mum takes you to Bothwell Street, and there’s a bus with lots of other children waving to their mums before they board. Mum gives your small case to the driver, and he places it in the hold. No kiss or hug, just a wave, and on you go.

You walk quickly back to the dorm, make your bed and get dressed for breakfast. You stand in a line with the other girls, as your beds are inspected by that nasty fat teacher, who doesn’t like you much. She always picks on you, when you talk during TV time. You miss your family, even fighting with your brothers, but you like the long walks in the countryside.

School is only in the morning, and you write a letter to your parents, saying how good the place is (teacher standing over you), and ask if you can stay a week longer. It’s nearly Christmas time, and the teachers don’t want new children to come. So, instead of five weeks, you stay for six, and you wonder how your pet dog is, and if your friends are missing you.

It’s time to go home! Everyone is very excited, especially as you are going home by train, accompanied by the teachers. You see the cows and sheep in the fields, as the train travels through the country side. It’s been snowing, and the bare trees look so pretty; just like a Christmas card. You can’t wait to see your mum; maybe she’ll bring your brothers to meet you at the station. Your home isn’t far from the station, and she would have them both in the pram anyway.

The train arrives and you’re told to pick up your little case and wait on the platform for your parents. You can’t see mum; you wait, wondering where she is. Then you hear your name getting called and you turn around to see who it is. It’s not your mum, but your aunt Ann, who has been asked to pick you up, and take you to your gran’s house for the weekend. You feel sad, and you wonder if there’s something wrong. You never did ask, did you?

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