School was always something I loved; right from the first day I had skipped along to nursery school until the day I finished college. For obvious reasons it became a refuge from home life, a place where I could escape it all.
More than that though, I liked learning, I was generally popular, with both teachers and pupils, and had I had several good friends. However, my love of school was marred by the knock on effects of my home life and my forced absences, meaning that chances to excel in any way were often scuppered.
As far back as junior school, I was never allowed to go on any school trips. I would always bring home the letters dished out by the teachers, detailing the days away, the activities to be enjoyed, and the payments needed. Every time I would hand them to Sylvie with a cautious hopefulness, that this time, just this once, she might let me go. She would never allow me the money for the trips, always justifying it by informing me that, “ I certainly didn’t f*****g deserve it!” or that it was a punishment for my bad behaviour.
Along with the sickly kids, the ones with asthma, bronchitis or weak constitutions, whose paranoid parents dare not allow their precious off-spring to participate in any outward bound activities, I would have to remain at school.
The days, and on one occasion, a whole week, would be spent sitting in the classroom, usually two or three of us, bored as there were no formal lessons, and so reading, colouring and painting, only able to imagine the fun and activities enjoyed by our classmates.
Still, it was still preferable to being at home, away from the gruelling hard work and constant abuse. Even though, once again, I was isolated, made to feel different, that I didn’t fit in. Once more separated from my peers.