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The smell of abandonment

by Matthew Grantham about a year ago in parents
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With a hint of confusion

The smell of abandonment
Photo by Trym Nilsen on Unsplash

‘Oh great’ I manage to croak out. I realise that it’s happened again, I’ve woken up in my neighbour’s barn. I would say it’s happened now about 4 whole times and each time it’s getting a bit more concerning.

I remember the first time I was hugging one of the hay bails whilst sleeping on the rest, they were really quite comfy to be honest so it didn’t overly bother me. My neighbours have a typical British and old barn really not in use at all really. It’s not common to come across something like this and not to be partying a rave out in one of them but apparently this barn is still being used for, I guess, it’s purpose, at least centuries ago.

I suffer from sleepwalking. I always have apparently and contradictory to my ‘conscious’ life, I talk a lot too in my sleep. Me and my mum, after splitting with my dad when I was 11 have moved near enough every year since. She says it isn’t because of him or me but I can’t help think that it’s my nightly adventures that scare her and make her unpopular with the community. We always seem to move to small towns or villages, full of people that have living there for years with no access or interest in the bigger or outside world, hence why now my neighbours have a barn.

My sleepwalking started with terrors, they started around the time my dad left me. I used to always watch power rangers every Saturday on TV, it used to be favourite part of the week. No school, a bacon butty made for after my lie in and my favourite show! That was the day he decided would be best for him to leave my mum. He came in just as the power rangers were ready to morph and go big to fight the baddy in it’s 20 storey high glory. He kissed me on my forehead and said he was sorry. I didn’t see him leave, I was too busy watching TV to notice, I assumed he would be back but I guess as children we do don’t we – we assume – we expect everything to be the same as it was the day before, all comfortable with me being the centre of everyone’s universe, nothing can touch you and nothing will change.

Well it did.

I didn’t feel like he left until Monday, he had been gone all weekend and I asked mum would where he was, her eyes were a shade of purple she often had around her eyes and she has been crying I assumed, and she said that he was gone. Again, gone to me was that he was over at my aunties, he was often round there which I did think was weird even as a young child as it was my mums sister, not his sister but I didn’t know back then what aunties and uncles really were, just that I was their cute little monkey and I got a lot of chocolate and money from them so they must love me.

I’m now 16, barely an adult and legally not yet an adult but when I realised it was only me and mum, alone in the world, the veil was ranked from my face and I saw the shit show that was life. My dad had been sleeping with my auntie. I mean, she didn’t word it like that when I was 11 but what I had later summarised of the situation. When my mum sat me down when she was ready and she thought I was, I had glimpses of things that I heard, that I saw, that I felt…

When you mind is opened up after being closed, I don’t think it can be fully shut again.

I saw my mum cry a lot when I was child but there were a couple of girls like her at my school, very sensitive and I think they cried everyday and so I just thought my mum was the same. When my mum was talking though I remember the time at my 9th birthday party when my auntie and my dad were both late. My dad was the entertain (magician in life as well as professional at least from before he became a banker) and had everyone waiting for his tricks and magic. He wasn’t very good as it turned out but my auntie loved it. She was all red faced and smiley whilst my was red faced and looked ready to cry, again. I remember the time I saw my auntie in my bathroom before school. My mum was away at some conference at work and she was there, like she replaced her slot in the morning routine but I had to get my own breakfast ready that day.

So my dad had buggered off with my auntie, left my mum alone with me without his income and we moved. A lot. My life came crashing down, I lost my friends, we didn’t see any family anymore and my dad, my world, had left me. I couldn’t go to sleep without being terrorised by him, my mind making up stories of what he had done or not done to my mum, of what he was doing now and where he was. I was obsessed with it and it was scary.

Every time I woke my mum was there, ready to console me. I don’t know how she managed to get there each time but that was when she said that I was talking at first and then screaming and her money could only buy cheap walls. They eventually moved on and into the realm of sleepwalking. I don’t know what chemical reactions are happening within the brain to make it that way, I assume that’s the case as I clearly don’t want this to happen and so not making it happen. Am I?

I get up from where I’m laying, a smell is overpowering me and I look down and all there is is shit. I hold back a vomit but I’m barely awake, I don’t have any bearings and there you are – shit and sick. Lovely wake up. I try look around but my eyes are blurry, I see colour, yellow, some white, is that black? Or brown? I don’t know but I do know the sound that I then hear and the realisation of what has happened or at least where I am.

It was a sneeze, I sneeze of a horse which was right above me. I had managed to take a nap under a horse, laying it’s shit and in the firing line of a killing kick.

Damn you dad, you’re why I’m here.

parents

About the author

Matthew Grantham

An aspiring writer from the UK

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