Friday, 1 July 2016

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 I fished out my mobile and scrolled through the contacts until I found the one person who would be able to sort my head out… My nearest and dearest cousin, Madison.
“Well, hello gorgeous.” Came his almost immediate response to his phone ringing.
“I need you. I need coffee and I need chocolate.” I blurted out desperately.
“Mm-hmm.” I could see him in my mind’s eye nodding and stroking his chin thoughtfully, “Do you also need a big fluffy pillow, a foot massage and a box set of Ugly Betty?”
“Yes.” I wailed down the phone.
He chuckled, “Come on over, I’ll put the kettle on.”
I knocked on his door and he immediately answered, gathering me in and fussing over me, “Oh, babe.” He said, “You look so stressed out – what’s the matter?”
I allowed him to usher me through to the kitchen and I pulled out one of the chairs at the large kitchen table which dominated the room, “Oh, God.” I put my head in my hands and groaned.
Madison came hurrying back across the room, armed with two hot chocolates – with extra marshmallows on mine to give me a boost – and sat down opposite me, “You’re freaking me out now, babe,” he said, “What is it?”
I shook my head and looked up at him, “I may have a crush – on someone I have no business having a crush on.”
His eyes almost popped out of his head, “A girl?” he asked incredulously.
I nearly spat my chocolate across the table, “No!” I spluttered, “Don’t be ridiculous!”
He grinned, “Well, who then?”
"Lachlan O'Shea," I breathed, "He's gorgeous."

I stared at True. “A letter from my mother?” My insides felt all wobbly and I was starting to lose feeling in my legs. I pulled out a chair and flopped down. Nausea threatened to have me running for the sink but I tried my best to stay calm.
She nodded, biting her lip. “I didn’t know whether to tell you or not…”
I swallowed. “It’s fine,” I lied, “I can handle it – give it here.”
She passed me the envelope and I took it with slightly shaky fingers. This was surreal. She’d never been able to write in all the time I’d known her – she lived only for the skunk and the sex… I shivered. She’d sold me to anyone for her next fix – and had enjoyed the whole sordid show too – I guess she could argue that she wasn’t fully aware but I’m not sure I would agree. In my opinion she just wasn’t quite right in the head…
“What does it say?” True asked quietly.
I shook my head, “Nothing much – just that she reckons she’s clean now and wants me to meet her and that she has a wonderful new boyfriend – how has she got a new boyfriend when she’s spent the last two years inside?”
True sighed and shook her head, “I have no idea – he must be one of those weird people that writes to the inmates.”
“Freak,” I muttered.
“Freak’s right.” She agreed, “Are you okay?”
I looked up into her beautiful face, all concerned for me and not in any way other than that of a sister who cared about me. This was my family – the Fletchers. They were the ones who had given me their surname to give me a new start in life and to make me less easy to find. Mum’s letter had come to me via the prison service. She didn’t know where to find me. I could just ignore this letter and never see her again…