Saturday, 1 March 2014


Think back

Go on

How old are you?

About eight?

Yeah, about eight

And you're ok, you are

All in all

It's probably the summer

That's why it's still light at 7pm

You've just got out of the car

And there are two peacocks in the car park

The ones with all the coloured feathers

Man ones

You're holding three bags of doughnuts

For the doghnut eating competition

(Where you have to eat a whole doughnut without licking your lips) 

At the youth club for kids in care where your mum works

You're not really supposed to be here

But your mum's boss has turned a blind eye

Because of what your mum's been through recently

Oh, look

There's Samantha

You don't know her yet

She comes to talk to you as soon as she sees you

She tells you she's 14

(Wow, you think)

And that she's been coming here for two years

And that she has Down's Syndrome

And that she's been in 12 foster homes

And that the reason she's been in so many

Is that people can't cope with her

They couldn't cope with me, says Samantha

I have aggression

What kind? You ask

Just the normal kind, she says

Samantha looks at you quite a lot

And you look back at her just as much

She asks you why you're here

And you don't know what to say

Samantha says, are you in care?

And after about five seconds

You shake your head

Samantha holds your hand

And takes you inside

And makes you a Ribena

And she says, you're really kind to me

As she passes it to you

And you win the doughnut eating competition

Even though you cheat


Fast forward about 15 years

You're eating a school dinner

In a school hall

You've just performed a show for some of the kids

Oh, look

There's Amy

You don't know her yet

But she comes to talk to you as soon as she sees you

She tells you that she's 12

And that she's been at this school since September

And that there's a girl on her bus who wants to beat her up

And that she's been in about seven different foster homes

And that she's never met her dad

And that she really liked the show

You ask her what her favourite part of the show was

She says she liked the whole thing

She tells you that the reason she's been in so many foster homes

Is that people can't cope with her

They couldn't cope with me, she says

Because of aggression and anger

She tells you all about it

The words that she uses to describe herself

Are words that she's heard adults using about her



Attention seeking

Difficulty bonding

Acting out

She tells you that she misses her mum

But that her mum had to give her up

For loads of reasons

And that she only sees her every now and again

She tells you that she's been told she'd be a good social worker

You ask her if that's what she wants to be

And she laughs in your face

And says, no way

And she pulls her tights right up to her waist

And asks you if you can come and do a show every week

She doesn't really look at you when she's speaking to you

But that's ok

You get it

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