The true story of a woman’s lifelong search for her mother Told by G J Marshall on behalf of a friend
We sat at her worn but clean sitting-room where framed photographs vied for space with little ornaments. A nest of tables with a lace doily crouched between us. Pushing a plate of chocolate digestives towards me, her eyes were drinking me in.
“You were the perfect baby – slept, didn’t cry. Ate anything as long as it was with mash.”
The corners of my mouth twitched upwards, “Nothing’s changed there.”
Sipping my tea, I studied her over the rim of my flowery cup. She had kind eyes and a face relaxed into wrinkles. A hand-knitted cardi covered her ample frame and I loved that she had greeted me in her slippers.
She sighed. “I was so upset when they took you away. You see, you were mine for five months. I had grown so fond of you…I gave up fostering after that.”
Stirring her tea, she carefully placed the spoon in the saucer before continuing.
“You were an interesting one. You came with a package. The instructions on it read that I should only open in an emergency.”
I caught my breath and leaned forward.
“What was in it?”
“I don’t know. There wasn’t an emergency.”
I ground my teeth. “Well…where is it now?”
“I returned it to the Council – Islington Council, that is – when you were re-homed.”
“If it was me, I would have steamed that thing opened and read it.”
She shook her head at me. While I appreciated her integrity, it seemed another tantalising glimpse of my past was just beyond my grasp. Considering all those years ago I had been near death and abandoned in a telephone box, I wondered what did she constitute as an emergency?
Swallowing my frustration, I thanked her and left to pursue the Council, my curiosity whetted over this mysterious parcel…