I woke up this morning with the cold howling around inside my bones. But looking out of the window everything was white and beautiful and brilliant, the sun like pearl behind white sky and everything glittered with frost. It looked magical. I love mornings like this. I went to a pantomine the night before last, and the fairy godmother in it was fantastic, really throwing herself into the part, tip-toeing around the cast waving her wand and whispering good into everyones ears. That's what it felt like this morning, waking up to all this whiteness, as if someone had tiptoed through the night - over rooftops and hills, through the trees, up and down streets and alleyways and parks, waving a magic wand, turning the land this clean, silvery-white. I felt happy just laying there thinking it. I turned up the music on the CD alarm — tugged the duvet around me and lay there, staring out at the bare trees on the horizon behind all those misty layers of white half dreaming. One part of my mind though wanted to yank me back to thoughts of Christmas — Christmas that will always and ever be family, no matter how long you've been estranged. It's always hard not seeing Mummy, but there's an added ache through Christmas, and the wondering if I should try to build bridges, at least with her — pick up the phone just to make contact, to see how she is and just hear her voice. But my uncle is still there, and most of my cousins have now married - so there are new husbands and wives and friends in the family who know nothing about me or the past. As a family they have moved on, and after such a struggle in childhood they are now all doing well, in reasonably good jobs and enjoying their lives. They want to make sure it stays that way, and I am a skeleton in the cupboard they dont want out. So even if I could visit it could never be anything more than a charade anyway, and me never anything but a victim of that. I can't be that anymore. But maybe this might be the year to change things.
This year, now that my book is out, it feels even more difficult. Every part of me dreads finding out if Mummy, or any of the others, have come across the book, dreads knowing any upset I've caused by bringing it all out into the open.... I changed all their names and wrote it under a pseudonymn but she knows it all happened, she was there at the police station that Saturday all those years ago.... But the mind has to do funny things to survive and maybe she managed to somehow wipe out the details? Maybe she had to to have him back in her life, to carry on for the sake of the other children, his children. Also, she knows nothing about my living in the car, about my breakdown and all those months out there, none of that. If they do know by now, my getting in touch would just make it worse - I think everday that one of them might find out — every time the phone rings my heart stops.
But what if they haven't read it...maybe I could just say hello to her, meet her on her own somewhere without my uncle or anyone else knowing? But I couldn't answer even the most basic questions now without lying. I'd have to say I've been getting on with life all this time, just doing the ordinary things...I couldn't mention anything about the book or how I ended up in the car, or any of this... And what if I did that and she found out about the book sometime later? Surely that deception would feel as bad or worse? I've fallen asleep thinking about it all for weeks now in the run up to Christmas — almost tormenting myself — should I, shouldn't I? At least send her flowers. Could I, couldn't I ?...Family never go away, never — especially at this time of year, no matter how long you've been apart, or how distant they are. But this morning I managed to pull my mind back to the frost, the glittering, hard frost covering everything, and that fairy godmother in the pantomine the other night in her pink, satin high-heel shoes tip-toeing through the night spreading magic, until all I sensed were her whispered, positive words, and all I could see were footsteps in the frost going forward.