|Photo credit: Black Heart Creatives|
Aunt Norma was certainly a tough disciplinarian, but I didn't mind. Strict rules felt safe. She brushed my hair and put it into a ponytail, which I loved as it was out of my face—I never like the irritating, scratchy feel of hair on my cheeks. It drove me crazy. We had dinner at the same time each night. It felt like someone was looking out for me and I didn't mind her telling me I had to be in the house before the street lights went on and I had to stay in the yard.
She had children of her own, my twin cousins Natalie and Nicole. They were quite young at the time, not much older than three, making this arrangement for me a temporary one; her hands were full.
For my brief stay, I certainly felt loved and cared for but still my heart sunk. I missed Mum. I worried about her. I missed Tony. I felt a constant sickness in my stomach and chest, and had a hard time eating without feeling like it would come back up, though I forced it with my mind to stay down as I didn't want to get in trouble for wasting food. I fought tears as I realized no one would be there to look after my mother. Who was going to make sure she was up for work on time, eating dinner, and breathing? Would I ever see my brother again?
Aunt Norma didn't like when I barked, so I ceased doing it around her. She didn't need to be protected anyway. Tough as nails, she was.
Mum sounded as if she were very angry with Aunt Norma that night, but I couldn't understand why. I was obviously an obstacle in her new relationship with Bill and surely Lynn the prostitute had loftier things to do than to dress me up in her leather and spikes on a Tuesday morning.
Excerpt from Chapter Fifteen: Changes | Everything's Hunky Dory: A Memoir