I started a new school, as prior to my time in the care home, I had a short spell at a private school. Despite the financial difficulties, Sylvie and Larry had started Sally there and must have felt they should send me too to justify it. By the time I arrived back home, Lizzie was also at the private school, but this time I was enrolled at the local junior school.
I wasn’t allowed to play out or meet friends after school and again would be kept home to help with dog grooming when the diary was full. At first I stayed for school dinners and loved this, it gave me an hour in the day at lunch break when I could join my friends, play and pretend at normality. Also it meant that once I went to school in the morning I was there for the day.
There was a constant battle to get dinner money from Sylvie, I would wake her on Monday mornings before leaving for school to ask her for it, but never once did she give it to me then. She would always have to hand it to me sometime later in the week, very begrudgingly and probably after a note from the school or a telephone call.
Every week I would have to stand in the dinner money queue and whilst everyone else handed over their coins, I would feel embarrassed that once again I had to make an excuse for not having the money with me.
Eventually Sylvie put an end to the school dinners and I would have to hurry to make the twenty minute trek home, hastily get something to eat and trek back to school again. I hated that I had to come home for lunch as this meant I may not return to school in the afternoons, if I was needed to stay at home and help. This would happen on a frequent and regular basis. Although Sylvie was happy to keep me at home, she wouldn’t write notes to the teachers to explain my absence and I would have to make up excuses as to why I didn’t have a note from my parents.
Far from thinking that life might be anything like ‘normal,’ after my return home, the next few years were to see things go from bad to worse.