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  • Writer's picturePamela Lalria

Diary of a Scorpio girl – Entry six – not protected*…

Updated: Jun 18

* The following piece of writing is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

[Trigger warning: themes of child endangerment]

I must have been maybe 8 years old and it’s a memory that doesn’t fade, the damage of what could have happened will always be present in my being. Our next-door neighbour had been broken into, again. We were living in a terraced house at the time and our neighbour frantically banged on our front door asking for our help. Her husband was a criminal, in and out of jail, more in than out. She had returned home to find her front door had been left wide open, she suspected that she was being robbed or had been robbed, as this, unfortunately was a frequent occurrence. She was scared to go inside with her young kids knowing that someone may still be inside. My mum, a good friend of hers, told her that we would all go in together and investigate. So my mum took me and my younger brother with her into the property. Our nervous neighbour cowering behind us. It looked like we had interrupted the robbery as their duffle bags were still laid out on the floor ready to receive the goods they were about to steal. The downstairs was clear, but it was still not clear if the upstairs was safe. And this is where my mother did something that haunts me to this day – she told me to go upstairs on my own and look for any potential intruders. My little 8-year-old brain did not fathom how dangerous this was – instead I remember thinking, I don’t have a weapon though if I do find someone up there. My brother who was 6 at the time, looked on in horror as I started walking gingerly up the stairs. Years later he told me, how even at that tender age, he knew how wrong it was for mum to send me upstairs alone. But that’s the thing about our mum, she didn’t protect us, she was too busy being consumed by her pain of being an anxious, depressed and naïve individual. Ultimately, she should never had had children because she damaged both my brother and I beyond repair, this wasn’t the first time she’d done something so incredibly disturbing as a parent.

girl sitting down in the grass of a foggy play ground

Thankfully there was no one upstairs and I signalled to everyone that the house was clear. I felt like a hero but something in my small heart knew this was not how it was supposed to be. Why was I being put in this position – shouldn’t a parent do everything in their power to protect their children, wasn’t that the way it was supposed to be, instead I had been given the role of protector – I was being asked to protect my mum, my brother, the neighbour and her kids. My mum didn’t thank me or check if I was ok, instead she tended to our shaken-up neighbour, offering her the kind of affection I wish she’d show me and my brother. My heart sank again, because the expectation of love and care from her would remain there for a long time, hoping one day she’d realise that, that was what I needed, I needed love, I needed protection, I needed warmth, I needed encouragement, but most of all I needed a mother. What I got instead was a wreck of a parent, someone so lost, someone so misguided, someone so occupied by their own thoughts and feelings that they forgot about everyone else. I’ll never forget that day because it was the day, I realised I was alone, I was not loved, I was not care for and most of all I was not protected.

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