The cold metal blade rests against my skin, the tip positioned perfectly for the incision. The blade begins its journey. It pierces the surface and glides smoothly across my arm. As the cut reveals itself, I feel my warm, crimson blood escaping.
Escape, that’s it. That’s what I need, what I crave. I feel the pain surge round me, my arm pulsing. The pain is setting me free. Free from my worries, my anger, my tears. Freeing me from life. I do it again and again, digging the blade deeper into my arm. I want to feel the pain, I want to feel free. With every cut I make blood oozes out and so do my problems. I feel free. I feel better.
* * *
In the distance I can hear my name.
‘Daisy can you hear me? Daisy? Oh Daisy what have you done?’
It’s getting louder and the voice sounds familiar. My eyelids twitch and my whole body
‘Daisy come on love, it’s not your time. Stay with us please.’
That voice, I hear it again. Only this time I try and reply inside I’m screaming, screaming for my Dad, screaming for help but the words won’t leave my mouth.
I try to move and my arms feel numb. They are lifeless. It feels like they no longer belong to my body. Unexpectedly, the painful memories flood back to me. Lying on the bathroom floor surrounded by blood, both of my arms covered in deep gashes. I wanted to feel free, that’s all. I didn’t want to end up like this.
My eyelids flicker, the lights are so bright, and it hurts. I cautiously open one eye then the other copies. I’m lying in a bed alone, tubes coming out of me attached to machines, beeping steadily. I raise my arms up to check they’re still attached, they ache. Both are carefully wrapped in bandages. Oh God what have I done to myself?!
I look around the room, feeling groggy. What day is it? What time is it? Where is everyone? Questions pumping through my mind.
The door opens and it’s them.
‘Mum…Dad’ the words come out and my mouth is painfully dry.
‘Oh Daisy!’ Mum cries. She’s beside me in a second. ‘What have you done? Why didn’t you ask us for help?’
‘Not now Hilary, give the girl a chance. She’s had a rough couple of days.’
Feelings washed over me like insurmountable waves – the words dried up and left my body as tears. They love me so much but I know the truth now and I don’t want them near me.
‘Don’t do this Daisy, we just wanted you to know the truth. You need to know it.’
‘I said, Leave.’
‘Come on Hilary…’
‘B-b-but…’ mum sighs in defeat. ‘Okay, we’ll come back later.’
I find myself saying the words before I can stop myself. I don’t mean to be so harsh on them. As they turn and leave the room, closing the door gently behind them I suddenly want them back here, back to comfort me, back to fix me. But it’s not the same now, they aren’t the people I thought they were, they’ve lied.
I once asked my mum why I was called Daisy. Her reply:
‘Because you’re beautiful, just like the flower.’
I like to think I’m called Daisy because I was a mistake and when people make mistakes ‘oopsie Daisy’ comes out. That’s me the oopsie Daisy of someone’s life. I always felt like I didn’t belong. I don’t really look anything like mum or dad but everyone said I was the spitting image of mum…who were they kidding? And after recent events, I finally know the reasons why I felt that way.
They aren’t my mum and dad. They adopted me. I wasn’t wanted by my birth mother so I was abandoned. I was a piece of rubbish left behind.
They told me the truth that morning. Sat me down and told me I’d been brought up on lies. But at sixteen I was old enough to hear the truth and make my own decisions, so they said. Mum started off the conversation. She began by telling me about this young girl aged fifteen, hooked on heroin, living in a one bed flat struggling to make ends meet. She got herself in trouble, mum continued, fell pregnant and knew she couldn’t provide for her child, so she did the only thing she thought was right and gave the baby up. Only she didn’t quite manage to do it the right way and abandoned her baby outside a hospital.
‘That little baby was you, Daisy.’ Mum whispered, as though she didn’t really want the words to be said or heard by anyone. Immediately I was full of confusion.
‘You’re my mum,’ I said quietly.
Mum looked so upset, the pain was noticeable in her eyes. Mum pushed on with the talk, telling me how I was passed around foster homes before finally being adopted by her and dad. When I was just five weeks old they became my parents.
It was all a bit too much to take in.
Finding out the people I thought had created me, actually hadn’t. I didn’t know how to deal these feelings...I was angry, upset, confused, hurt...I was drowning. Angry, upset, confused, hurt…I was feeling them all at once. I wanted to run away, far away. Mum was looking anxious waiting for me to speak. What was I supposed to say?
‘So…erm…my real mum?’ I wasn’t sure what to say or what to think.
‘We don’t know sweetie, she got in touch with the hospital to see if you were okay and that’s the last anybody heard from her. I’m sorry, I really am.’
I couldn’t get past the lies, why hadn’t they just told me from the start instead of letting me think they were my real mum and dad. All these years I’d grown up in the typical happy family house yet that whole time it was all one big lie. I felt betrayed by them. All I could think about was Why? Why didn’t my real mum want me? Why was I just abandoned? Why? Why? Why?
I sat looking blankly into the eyes of Hilary, could I even still call her mum? It didn’t feel right. I know they raised me and brought me up. I’m thankful for that. I just wish I had known from the start.
‘I want to find my birth mum,’ the words made an escape from my mouth before I even had chance to process them.
‘Now, Daisy, that’s not exactly possible. Nobody knows where your mum is or even if she’s…’ she cut herself off suddenly.
‘In case she’s dead? Go on Hilary just say the words!’ I said furiously. I look at dad, for the first time, his face filled with pity.
‘I know you’re upset, it’s understandable. Me and your mum have been dreading this day but you know we had to wait until you were sixteen, it’s up to you now to make your own decisions about what you want. If you really want to find your birth mother we will do everything we can to help. It’s just with nobody knowing anything about her; it’s not going to be an easy task love. Are you sure it’s what you want to do? Perhaps you should take a day or two to think about things to just process it all. Let’s not make decisions in the heat of the moment.’
I didn’t know what else to do but run. I got up grabbed my coat and left, slamming the door behind me.
Tears streamed down my cheeks as I ran. I finally stopped when I reached my hill. The first time I came to the park I was with my dad and he brought me to this hill. It looked down over the rest of the park and playing fields, he told me he liked to sit here and think, just think. I started to do the same when I was about 12 or 13. It was always quiet and peaceful, an ideal spot for thinking. I sat myself down and swept the tears off my cold cheeks. I sat and thought for a good few hours. Thinking about what had happened, what I’d been told and then how I had reacted. I admit I might have flown of the handle, typical hot headed me, but it was a massive thing to be told and in such an unprepared state. I pulled up the sleeves of my coat to reveal my arms, I touched the skin gently. Faded white lines covered both arms. My scars, my self inflicted scars.
I started to cut myself when I started high school, I didn’t fit in that easily and the teasing started. Only name calling every now and then but gradually it got worse. Soon I dreaded going to school and would try any trick to get out of it. I faked tummy aches, sore throats you name it I played it, but mum would always send me in. I never told them about the bullying, I didn’t want them to worry about me. I found cutting myself released the hurt, the upset they caused me. I only did it occasionally, at first. I remember the first cut I made. I picked up the scissors and they just sliced right through my skin. Warm, ruby-red blood trickled out. It was a good feeling, a good release. It became a regular procedure after a while; I started wearing long sleeve tops and cardies to cover my disfigurements.
Sat on my hill, I started to think about my scars and the feeling I received from them. I hadn’t done it in a while. I changed schools in year 9 and since then I hadn’t needed to self-harm, the bullying had become part of my past and I felt stronger and happier. But sitting on that hill I started to think. I thought about myself, my own mum didn’t want me and then getting bullied just for being me? Surely this only meant one thing. It was me. I must have something wrong with me, some imperfection that made me unwanted and unpopular. The more I thought about it the more faults I found with myself. My skin wasn’t perfect, my hair rarely behaved, my body was boyish and a whole list of self-faults formed. The more I thought about them, the more I wanted to escape. Just get away from the world and all the shit it had thrown at me in the past and now this? It really was the last thing I needed to find out.
As a blanket of darkness crept in, I became aware of how long I’d been sat on my hill. Hours had past and I was still just as confused and upset from when I arrived here. My hill hadn’t helped, no surprise really. I was reluctant to go home but I was cold and hungry, so I slowly made my way back to the house. My hand rested just above the gold metal door knob neatly positioned upon the smooth, red varnish of our front door. As I twisted the knob the door was pulled open forcefully.
‘Daisy!’ Hilary cried, relief evident in her voice.
I said nothing, I pushed past her and bounded up the stairs. I opened up my wardrobe and reached for my box. A neatly wrapped shoe box filled with things that were only for me. My pictures, my letters, my memories. Underneath all of this was my weapon of choice. A small knife. The handle was matte black, encasing a small silver blade. I stole it from the kitchen months ago. Scissors were good, but this blade was better. It went deeper and the effect was more desirable. I had only used it once before and if ever there was a need for me to escape the time was now. I tucked the knife neatly inside my cardigan sleeve and made my way quietly into the bathroom, locking the door behind me.
That’s when it happened, inside that bathroom, with its clean, white tiles. The blade cruised over my arm so easily, ripping deep into my skin leaving its cruel marks behind. It felt too good to stop and before I knew it I was drifting away. I’d gone too far. I didn’t mean to. It was just so easy.
So, that’s how I got here. In a hospital bed, bandages covering my arms and a monitor, beeping beside me. Tears tickle my eyes, as the memories of the past few days events crept into my mind. I couldn’t help but think I would be better off if I didn’t survive. I want my mum more than anything, to just hold me and reassure me everything will be okay, like mums are supposed to. Real mums that is.But I didn’t have one did I? God knows where my real mum was. Or of she’d even care that I needed her. It was then that I started to think, she was still my mum wasn’t she? Hilary had raised me for sixteen years, given me a roof over my head, fed, clothed and most importantly loved me. I couldn’t just shut her out now. It was a shock, yes, but I could over-come it. We could over-come it, together, as a family.
I could hear voices outside my hospital room, it was them.
‘Mum,’ I called out, my voice was hoarse. ‘Mum,’ I called again, the desperation in my voice was clear.
I willed for her to hear me come on Mum, I need you. The door handle pushed down and her face peered round the door.
‘Daisy, can we come in honey?’
As she made her way into the room, I felt a sense of relief wash over me.
‘How are you feeling?’ she asked gently.
‘Better’ I croaked.
She handed me a glass of water with a pink straw bobbing around in it. I took it and began to sip gratefully.
‘Daisy, what have you done? Just look at you, look at your arms. You silly girl.’
I smiled, it felt good to hear her voice.
‘I’m sorry’ I replied, my voice regaining its normal tone.
‘No Daisy, I’m sorry. I should have been there, I should of known what you’d do.’
Arms extended, I invited her in for a hug. Tears trickled down her cheeks, mum and I were reunited. Our bond was strong; I knew we’d make it past this.
My eyes opened, Dad was there, peeping over Mums shoulder. A smile etched across his face.
‘My girls’ he whispered.
‘Come on pops, you too’ I giggled.
We held onto each other clung to each other like lost souls, terrified to let go again, and buried in that hug were memories of the good times. but I didn’t mind. As we hugged, I remembered all the good times we had together, they had brought me up as if I was their own. I was ashamed at how angrily I had reacted towards them; it wasn’t their fault after all. Despite these feelings, I knew I had to at least try and trace my birth mother. It was an itch that needed scratching, and it would remain un-answered if I never tried.
‘I still want to try, mum’ I whispered tentatively.
‘Okay, that’s your decision. Me and your dad will do whatever we can to help’
The corners of my mouth crept into a small smile, but the butterflies began to take flight inside me.
A week later I was home. The cuts on my arms had healed and all I was left with were the familiar white scars added to the collection. Now I was back in familiar surroundings it was time to piece the puzzle of my life back together. I brushed my mousey brown hair neatly into a pony tail and secured it with a bobble, smoothing down the top, at last, I was ready. Leaving my room, I made my way downstairs.
‘Morning love’ Dad called from the kitchen.
As I entered the room, he was sat in his usual chair reading the newspaper. It was as if today was just like any other day in our house.
Today, however, was the day I met with my social worker. The lady who had dealt with my case when I was younger, obviously I was too young to even know who she was, but I hoped she could give me some information and maybe help me on with finding my birth mum.
I pulled out a chair and joined my Dad at the table.
‘Nervous?’ he inquired.
‘ish’ I said quietly.
I reached over and picked myself a piece of toast from the plate on the table. I bit into it and felt sick immediately. Putting the toast down, I realised food wasn’t an option just yet.
‘She’ll be here soon, let’s clear all this away shall we? Don’t want her thinking she’s caught is in the middle of breaky’
Typical mum always worried what others will think of her. I sat quietly at the table, I had no idea what to expect or what the outcome would be. Just think positive, whatever will be will be I told myself. The doorbell rang loud and clear at 11am sharp. She’s a good time keeper I thought. Mum rushed to open the door and greet our visitor.
‘Hello Sam, come on, come on in.’ Mum ushered her into our family home.
The kitchen door opened, Dad and I glanced at each other and he gave me small reassuring smile. I breathed in deeply, as a curly haired, slightly plump lady entered our kitchen.
‘Daisy, this is Sam’ Mum introduced us.
‘Hello Daisy’ Sams voice was warm and I instantly felt relaxed in her presence. She sat herself down opposite me and began to talk.
‘Now your Mum and Dad have informed me of you request, you’ll be aware that this process won’t be easy. It’s like finding a needle in a hay stack to be honest with you. It’s always easier if the parent has been looking too, but well…I don’t think that’s applicable in this case.’
‘She’s never even looked for me? I whispered.
‘Well, Daisy you know the circumstances of your adoption. Your Mum wasn’t in a good place, she did go back to the hospital to check they had you, but that’s the last anyone has seen or heard off her. Don’t be disheartened though, we will do whatever we can to try and assist you. When…if you do find her, we can arrange a time and a place for you to meet in a safe environment.’
‘Okay, so where do we start? Surprisingly Dad was speaking up.
‘So the first place to start is with our own records. We can revisit Daisy’s personal records and see if there were any addresses left by her birth mother. Secondly, we can visit the hospital and ask if they have any records of her mother. She could have been a patient there or revisited again to try and find Daisy. We have to look at all angles of the case. Her mother could have remarried, changed her name, and started a new life somewhere. We need to remain realistic at all times and not get our hopes up too much. There’s no promise of success all we can do is try.’ Sam had obviously gone through this speech a million times, she reeled it off without taking a breathe, almost like a well rehearsed speech..
‘What was she called? My birth mum? I asked tentatively.
‘The name she used at the hospital was Jenna Peters. Now that could have been a false name in order to protect herself from authorities but judging by her addiction, I wouldn’t be surprised if she slipped up and left her real name. So that will be our lead, I know this is a little off the usual tracks but you could try Facebook Daisy. We’ve had many cases of children stumbling across their birth parents on this site. Now I know you don’t know what she looks like so tread carefully if you chose to do so.’
‘We’ve kept Daisy off Facebook…She got bullied and we felt it best if we protected her from further trouble. These cyber bullies can be rotten when they get started’ Mum said.
‘That’s understandable, well perhaps one of you could create an account and operate on Daiys behalf? I mean I wouldn’t normally advise this method of detection but with only a name to go off we need as many branches as possible.’
‘A family account will do for us, we can all access it and we will supervise Daisy on it so we can keep an eye on things’ Dad said with authority.
Sitting there looking at Sam, Mum and Dad I couldn’t take anything in, it was like I was a spirit intruding on a conversation. I didn’t know what I was supposed to say and just sat quietly processing what was being said. Did I really want to put my family through this ordeal? Part of me thought it was going to do more harm than good, but I had to do it, I had to know if she was out there.
Sam was only at our house for half an hour. After she left, it wasn’t looking likely that I would ever find my birth mum. Sam had told me not to get my hopes up and that all we could do was ‘try our best’, so that’s what we were going to do. Mum and Dad were discussing the issue in the kitchen whilst I had retreated to the sanctuary of my bedroom. The sky blue walls and large window looking out onto nothing but fields had a calming effect on me. I often just sat on my bed looking out of the window, thinking. I didn’t want to talk anymore. What use was it to keep going over the same ground? Would we, could we, what if? I didn’t want to listen to any more questions. I just wanted ‘me’ time. Time to reflect on what I had just experienced. The past is fact, it’s happened, I know it’s happened it can’t be changed and that’s that. The future? Well, that’s unpredictable, you can make plans, you can think you know what will happen but it can change, there’s no certainty in the future and that’s what I didn’t like.
‘Daisy, can we come in?’ Mum asked.
‘Okay’ I replied quietly.
‘We’ve just been discussing…well, you know what we’ve been discussing and we’ve decided to set up our facebook account now, we won’t use any of our real names so we can all remain safe and if nothing comes up we can delete the account and….’ She stalled.
‘and…’ I prompted her to continue.
‘and…forget, no not forget, put this behind us, yes that’s what I meant.’
It wasn’t, she did mean forget, who was she kidding?
‘That’s fine, do what you want.’ My simple answer was all that was needed, for mum to take the hint I wanted to be alone.
With that, she got up and closed the door behind her.
I reached for my phone and turned it on; I hadn’t been in contact with anyone but mum and dad for a few weeks now. It bleeped to life and immediately I received a string of texts and missed calls all from the same person. Jamie. My best friend, we met in reception and had been friends ever since, there was nothing we didn’t share. I opened each text and there was a common theme amongst each one. Jamie had repeatedly text to see how I was, where I was, what had happened to me, were the rumours true…endless questions and worry. Rumors, I thought. It suddenly dawned on me that news of my hospital visit would have spread around our small village like butter to bread. Shit! What have people been saying? I quickly found Jamies number and selected the call button. It seemed to ring forever until….
‘DAISY LANE’ a familiar voice shouted down the phone. ‘Where the hell have you been?’
I was in trouble.
‘Sorry, I’m so sorry Jamie. My phones been off I just neeeded to be alone for a while. Can we meet? I need to tell you a few things.’
‘Sorry? Weeks of ignorance and all you can say is sorry? What are you like, you know I’m here for you so why do you shut me out?’
‘Look I don’t need the third degree, can we meet or not? I snapped.
‘Okay. When?’ The answer was short.
‘Now? Are you free?
‘Yes, meet me at The coffeepot in ten minutes’
And that was it, Jamie hung up. Well, that wasn’t how I thought the phone call would go. It wasn’t like I had been ignorant on purpose. The anger started bubbling up, I was rapidly reaching boiling point.
I slipped my coat on and grabbed my bag. Making my way out the front door I called into mum to let her know where I was going and before I could get a reply I slammed the door behind me. Normally I’d be excited to go to The Coffeepot, it’s a cosy little coffee shop set back from the main road and always full with the same faces. Today however, I was dreading it; those same faces would have sat nursing their coffees whilst discussing me. Had I really been hot topic over the past weeks? Well, I was about to find out.
I walked slowly, one more corner and I’d be there. Suddenly I was grabbed from behind; two strong arms wrapped themselves around me. Panic set in. I spun around to see who the culprit was.
‘Jamie!’ I exclaimed.
It felt so good to be looking back into those ocean blue eyes and seeing that tousled brown hair upon his head.
‘Who else would it be? The neighbourhood kidnapper?’ He joked playfully.
All seemed forgiven, after the less than cheery phone call before.
‘Come on kidda let’s do this together’
He linked arms with me and we walked purposefully towards The Coffeepot. A sense of relief had settled inside of me. I felt confident walking with Jamie at my side. He provided all the moral support needed to face the gossipers.
He reached out and pulled the coffee bean shaped handle, holding the door open for me I cautiously entered the shop. Immediately, the bubble of chatter popped. Eyes burned into me, and then one by one the mouths began to move. I couldn’t hear a word being said, I was frozen. Jamie bumped into me, pushing me further into the shop.
‘Grab a table; I’ll get our usual’s’
I edged towards a table, tucked away in the corner. Keeping my head firmly down, I did not need to look into any judging eyes right now.
I kept my coat on, it felt like a blanket of security. Jamie placed a large hot chocolate in front me of topped with fluffy white cream and malteasers.
‘Thanks’ I muttered.
‘Just ignore them Daisy, they’ve got nothing better to do than sit in here gossiping away, they should get a life’ He said, loudly enough for the whole shop to hear.
My cheeks flushed red with embarrassment.
We sat in silence for a minute or two; this is what Jamie did best. He sat patiently, not one question asked until I was ready to talk, one of the reasons that made him such a good friend to have.
‘I’m adopted’ The words just pushed themselves out of my lips.
‘You’re a what…?’ Jamie asked.
‘Adopted, they aren’t my parents.’
‘Ohhhh, that’s cool’
‘No Jamie, it’s not cool’
I proceeded to fill him in on recent events, reliving them wasn’t easy but he needed to know.
‘Well, whatever I can do to help you just ask and I’ll be there, but just please don’t shut me out again. I missed you!’
It felt incredible to have let it all out to someone other than my family. Jamie didn’t always know the right words to say but just having him there was enough. We sat in The Coffeepot for hours, catching up on what we’d both missed; turns out his life hadn’t been quite as eventful as mine. After we had said our goodbyes and arranged to have a pizza night the following evening, we went our separate ways. Making my way back towards my house, I realised just how much I was dealing with at the tender age of sixteen. Girls my age were concerned with make-up, boys and clothes, in comparison to my issues they seemed so insignificant. At the same time, I also realised how lucky I was to have the support of my best friend and I guess, the support of Hilary and Richard. My Mum and Dad. I came to the conclusion that no matter what the outcome of this whole situation was they would still be my Mum and Dad, I couldn’t be mad at them for doing what they thought was right.
I prepared myself for the usual twenty one questions as I arrived home. Mum was convinced Jamie and I were destined to be together and no matter what I said to convince her otherwise she would never listen.
‘Well….’ Mum was beaming.
‘Well, what?’ I couldn’t help but laugh.
‘How’s our favourite guy?’
I expected nothing less from her.
‘He’s fine as per.’
I always kept my answers short when discussing Jamie, if I dared to give away too much information or smile a little she jumped to the assumption we were now an official couple.
She smiled her usual smile and no more was said, on the matter. I knew exactly what she was thinking.
‘Teas nearly ready anyway, Dads set up your facebook page so we can start our search after we’ve eaten…If you like’
‘Might as well get started I suppose’ I responded.
Mum had made lasagne for tea, my favourite. We all sat down at the table and it felt good to have some normality back in my life. The weeks had blended together with a mix of emotions and I was desperate to just feel ‘normal’ again.
Shortly after tea, dad reached for his laptop and set it up on the table. We gathered round like he was going to show us something spectacular, if only. Within twenty minutes our account was activated, under the name Debbie Ann. Something mum had concocted, as she’d ‘always liked the name Debbie’. It was time.
Tentatively, Dad typed in her name, letter by letter until Jenna Peters appeared in the search bar.
He pressed enter and that was it. The search had begun. It’s surprising how many people share the same name. In minutes pages of ‘Jenna Peters’ appeared. How would we even know what she looked like? It was impossible and well, ridiculous to message each Jenna asking if she ever dumped her child.
‘It’s useless! How are you supposed to know who she is? She’s probably dead anyway.’ I snapped.
My patience had been exhausted.
I left the kitchen and stomped up stairs. Flopping onto my head I shoved my head phones in and shut the world out.
I blinked my eyes open, it was morning. I was dressed in yesterday’s clothes and still had earphones planted in my ears. I sleepily made my way into the bathroom and got myself showered. Feeling refreshed I got dressed and reached for my phone.
‘Can we meet sooner? There’s something I need ur help with. Bring ur laptop too xx’ text sent, I waited anxiously for a reply.
‘Yeah sure, what’s up?x’ an instant reply for once.
‘Come round, I’m home alone so be quick xx’
‘On my way kidda x’
Jamie was on the ball today, thankfully.
Jamie arrived and I practically dragged him into my house.
‘Make me a facebook account asap’
‘Sure. About time you had one anyway’ He laughed.
‘No Jamie, it’s not that, I want to use it to find my mum’
‘But I thought you were having a ‘family’ one for that?’
‘We are, but it’s useless there’s too many Jenna Peters out there, I’ll never find her but...’ I took a deep breath before continuing.
‘But, if she’s looking for me…I just need my own account okay?’
‘Your parents will kill me for this, but okay let’s do this.’
I sat eagerly beside him as he did all the necessary requirements. Soon it was done, I was up and running on Facebook.
‘You can use this laptop if you like? I got a new one last week, so you take this one and then you can check it whenever you want.’
‘Really? Are you sure? Thank you so much Jay you’re a star’ I beamed.
I was taking this solo now. Part of me questioned whether Hilary and Richard wanted me to find my birth mum or if they thought it would complicate our lives. I however, wanted to find her; I needed to for my own piece of mind.
Weeks went by and my Facebook inbox remained empty. I was ready to give up completely. With no word from Sam it seemed like Jenna Peters was untraceable. The hospital had provided little information as to her whereabouts simply saying the name was all she left, they gave a vague description but it was no use to us now. Everyone was admitting defeat.
One last try I thought, just log on one last time and then deactivate my account and give up. So I did. I logged in and a red number one sat beside my inbox. I froze. My mouse hovered over the inbox, one click and I would know. I’d rejected everyone’s friend requests, I didn’t need any false hope from friends messaging me, I needed one person to and that was it. It had to be her, it just had to be.
I plucked up the courage and as my inbox loaded, I felt sick.
That was it. That’s all the message contained.
I looked at who it was from.
Jenna Peters. It was her. My birth mum.
Shit, shit shit shit shit!
Should I reply? Should I tell mum and dad? What the hell was I supposed to do now? This is was all I wanted and it had happened.
I rang Jamie. The only person I could talk to right now.
‘Jay, she’s messaged me’
The second he answered I babbled the words down the phone.
‘What? Your birth mum? Holy shit Daisy. What’re you going to do now?’
‘I don’t know. I didn’t plan this far ahead…reply I guess?’
‘Yeah and ask her what the hell she was doing sixteen years ago!’
‘No Jay, I’m going to do this the right way.’
‘Well, I’d go mad if I was you, I’d demand answers from her.’
‘You’re not me, right I’m going to reply. I’ll keep you updated.’
Remaining on the phone, I began to construct my reply. I typed out several responses but none seemed to contain the right words.
‘I can’t do it, I can’t say what I want to say’
‘Right, just start from the beginning ask her who she is and what she wants. She obviously knows who you are so just do it’
My facebook pinged. Another message.
‘She’s sent another message jay!’
‘Open it then, come on’
‘Daisy, sixteen years ago I had a little baby girl. I was a mess, emotionally, physically. I didn’t need a baby, I couldn’t provide any sort of life for my daughter so I took her to a hospital and left her outside. It was the worst experience of my life and I’ve regretted it all this time. Not a day has gone by when I haven’t thought about my little girl, what she might look like, where she might be. I’ve spent sixteen years searching for her, the hospital wouldn’t give me any details, they told me she’d been adopted and that no further information could be disclosed since there was no proof I was the birth mother of the little girl. Social services weren’t much use either, they told me I was in no fit state to be a mother and I needed to clean myself up before I could even think about seeing my baby girl. Last week I tried one more time, I pleaded with social services for their help, they told me my little girl was fit and well and she had been raised under the name Daisy Lane.’
I read the words several types before I even started to process what I was reading.
‘Daisy, oi Daisy what’s she said?’
I completely forgot Jamie was on the phone.
‘She’s said this…’ I read the message aloud.
‘Wow, well that’s brilliant Daisy, she’s been looking for you too! Can you believe that?’
‘No, I can’t’ I was in shock, complete and utter shock.
I suddenly questioned how I was going to explain this revelation to Mum and Dad.
I didn’t know whether I should discuss it with them before replying. Oh what the hell I thought just reply Daisy, it’s what you wanted.
‘Jamie, I’ll call you back, I’m going to reply’
‘Okay, ring if you need anything.’
‘Hello Jenna’ I nervously began typing my reply.
I recently found out I was adopted, I was told the story of how I ended up in such a position and it sounds similar to the message you just sent. Young mum can’t cope so abandons her baby and never seen or heard from again. That’s the version of events I got told anyway. I think we can safely say I’m the Daisy Lane you’ve been searching for’
I pressed send, it wasn’t what I wanted to say but I had to remain calm in order to gather the full picture.
Her reply was immediate.
‘Daisy, you’re my baby girl.’
I welled up, I couldn’t help it. This was all I had wanted for all these weeks, contact with her, my real birth mum. As the tears streamed down my cheeks, we discussed everything, she’d got herself clean from heroin and got herself a decent job, manager of a clothes shop, she had a nice flat and seemed to have her life on track. It was better than I expected, she wasn’t dead that was certain. She told me she’d never married and had no other children. Well, she was only thirty one there was still time. We talked for hours, it felt incredible yet, I felt guilty. I had done this behind everyone’s back, part of me was glad. I had gotten the result I wanted.
I heard the front door open, voices drifted upstairs. It was them, they were home. I slammed the laptop shut and slid it back under my bed. Shit, what now? I went downstairs and greeted Mum and Dad. Then before I could stop myself I told them.
‘Ermm, I’ve got a confession’ I gulped back the nerves.
‘Jamie and I, we erm…well, it was my idea, Jamie just provided the laptop’
‘What is it Daisy? What have you done now?’ Mum sounded as nervous as I felt.
‘Well, I was so desperate to find her and our Facebook wasn’t working so I , I…I made my own.’ That’s it, I’d said it and I immdiately felt relieved.
‘You’ve done what?’ Mum gasped.
‘I’ve set up my own facebook account and she’s messaged me…my birth mum, she’s sent me a message, I’ve been talking to her for hours’
their facial expressions spoke a thousand words and I knew they were disappointed to say the least.
‘We were supposed to do this together Daisy’ Dad whispered.
‘I know, I’m sorry I just couldn’t wait. Nothing was working but she’s been trying to find me for years’
The words rushed out and it was difficult to suppress how I really felt about the situation. Mum and Dad exchanged a sheepish look.
‘What’s that look all about?’ I inquired. They suddenly seemed less concerned about Jenna messaging me and distracted by another matter.
‘That your birth mum, Jenna has been trying to contact you.’
‘Are you joking?’ Anger was bubbling inside me.
‘No, unfortunately we are not. Daisy, The thing is...what you have to understand Daisy...you see you don’t have a child of your own so you couldn’t possibly understand why...what I mean is... when your Dad and i found out we couldn’t have our own children we immediately looked into adoption. We found you a tiny 5 week old baby, you were perfect. We could raise you as our own and you’d never know any different. When you turned sixteen however, the social workers told us we needed to confess, you had a right to know the truth and as difficult as it was to break up our ‘perfect lives’ we told you. We expected you to want to find your birth mum and so aimed to make it as hard as possible for you to find her, you’re our little girl not hers. We asked one of my friends to pretend to be a social worker for us, you’d never have known what a real social worker looked like so we thought it would be simple and it was. You fell for it. Every year Jenna has sent you birthday cards and chistmas cards and every year we have hidden them, we’ve rejected every offer proposed by the real social workers, working on your case. Your birth mother doesn’t deserve you Daisy.’ The words cut into my like shards of glass as they left Mums mouth and pierced into my ears.
I was immobilsed. I couldn’t talk, blink and I could barely breathe. This had to be a sick joke. How could they do this to me? I thought things couldn’t get any worse but clearly they can. I felt pure hatred towards them. I’d forgiven them after their first confession but this was unforgiveable. I didn’t say a word to either of them, instead I settled my gaze deep into Hilarys eyes. After a minute or so, I dropped the eye contact and walked out of the room. I had nothing to say to them now.
It felt like déjà vu. Up in my room feeling like this once again. I snatched my phone of my bedside table and rang Jamie. Only this time it went to answerphone. My phone landed on the floor as I threw it in rage. A knock on my bedroom door followed.
‘Can I come in love?
It was Dad. I didn’t reply but he came in anyway.
‘I don’t know how you’re feeling right now, but I just think you should know I had no say in all of this. It was all Hilary, I told her right from the start it was a shoddy idea and it would only cause hurt for us all, but you know what she’s like once she gets an idea in that daft head of hers she won’t drop it for anyone. She concocted this whole plan and to be honest I’m surprised she carried on for so long. I tried year after year to sneak the cards into your room but she’s like bloody James Bond always spying on me and what I do, there was never a chance to come clean to you. My bags are packed Daisy.’
I processed what I had just been told and I actually believed him.
‘I’m coming with you’
‘you are?’ Dad beamed with delight. ‘Oh Daisy you don’t deserve any of this, I went along with it at first then everytime I tried to tell you I couldn’t find the words, I thought if I came clean I’d lose you. I couldn’t stand to lose you. To be honest with you, she’s fooled us both with this latest trick, I swear Daisy I thought Sam was genuine, Hilary got us both with that one. That was the final straw for me, lying to us both like that.’
We spent the next hour packing my bags and planning our escape. I still couldn’t believe what was happening, it felt like one big nightmare.
‘What about Jenna?’ I asked.
‘I’ve found a flat to rent, that’s where we are going. Once we get settled we’ll get in touch and arrange to meet. We’ll do it together and I promise I’ll do whatever I can to help you, I mean it love.’ His words washed over me and i found comfort in them. Dad left me to finish off packing and went to face her.
Raised voices floated round the house, she was screaming about her family being torn apart and she didn’t want any of this. Dad retaliated with she brought it on herself, what else did she expect? It was like a tennis match of insults. Dad returned shortly after, it was over quicker than I imagined.
‘well, that was easy’ he chuckled. Considering the scale of things he seemed remarkably calm about it all.
‘Let’s go love’
We loaded up Dads Green ford focus, our whole lives packed up in the back of a car and set off. Leaving that house, that women and all of those lies. Ready to start fresh, a smile crept onto my face. Twenty minutes later Dad swung the car into a car park, set out infront of a smart looking block of flats. Four stories high, they looked relatively new.
‘Home,sweet home’ Dad giggled once more.
Our new home was on the third floor, it had two bedrooms and was furnished with modern appliances. It looked beautiful and the views were even better. Standing on our balcony I looked out over my hill. Now, I’d no longer have to walk or as I so often did run to the park I could easily get there within a minute.
‘What do you think?’
‘I love it, it’s amazing dad’
He put his arms around me and wrapped me up in a bear hug. Despite everything that had happened a matter of hours a go I felt overwhelmed with happiness.
A few days later after we had got ourselves unpacked and settled, Dad had asked me to message Jenna again. He said I should invite her round to discuss matters. So I did, she was due to come round later that day.
We spent the morning cleaning and making ourselves look presentable, five minutes before Jennas arrival we sat anxiously on the sofa starring at the clock. The telecom rang and Dad lept up.
‘Hello…yes, yes I’ll buzz you in we are in flat 6 on the third floor, the door will be open so just come in’
This was it, I was about to meet my birth mum.
After what felt like an eternity a women appeared in the door way. She was dressed in a pair of jeans with a cream blouse, neat brown boots and matching handbag. She looked beautiful I thought. Her long brown hair fell in soft curls around her tanned skin, she had blue eyes and her make up was applied perfectly.
‘Hello’ she spoke.
‘Hi’ we both blurted out at the same time.
‘Come in , come on make youself at home’ Dad seemed to have lost his usual calm and collected nature.
Jenna perched on the edge of the leather chair. I couldn’t stop staring at her. Part of me couldn’t believe she was here, my real birth mum in the flesh. She wasn’t lying either she looked incredible and far from the herion addict teen she used to be.
‘So you’re my baby girl’ She looked at me with soft eyes.
I wanted to hug her, to smell her smell and feel her touch.
Dad had regained his composure and offered Jenna a drink, She requested tea and he left us alone. Jenna stood up and I copied. Stepping towards each other, she reached out her hand and gently stroked my cheek.
‘You’re a little beauty, Daisy’
I blushed, suddenly feeling shy. She pulled me in for a hug and squeezed me tightly. Her perfume was soft and she smelt just how I expected her to smell. It felt incredible to be hugging my birth mother. Dad returned with a tray loaded with cups and biscuits. We reluctantly broke our embrace and sat back in our seats. As we sat there reunited after sixteen years, the conversation started to flow. Mum and I, mother and daughter, how it should be.
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