Once Upon A Time
Once upon a time, there was a little girl called Margaret. No one ever called her that though, she was called Maggie. As a tiny child, she lived in a council house, the youngest of three children, with kind parents who were very poor.
Everything she had, had once belonged to either her older brother or her older sister. She never had anything “new”. There just wasn’t enough money to go round. Of course, Maggie was too young to understand this. She only knew that she could watch her brother and sister with their new clothes and shoes, whilst she opened her presents to find that although they were repaired and made to shine, her present had always belonged to someone else.
She grew up to understand that she really wasn’t good enough for anything she could call her own. She was only good enough for cast offs, however lovingly they were given.
Maggie wasn’t a stupid child, and as she grew, she began to understand the workings of the world. She understood her place in the great scheme of things, and kept quiet.
As she grew older, she began to understand, that people made promises, but that they really didn’t mean anything. They were just made to make her feel wanted, and when they were broken, she was never surprised. She made herself a promise. The promise was, that if she said she’d do something, then she would do it, and if she made a promise, then unlike others, she would always keep that promise.
As she grew older, that promise was never broken, no matter how much trouble it caused her.
She made friends as she grew, and found that most of them were just like the others. She began to realise that trust was a bad thing, and that when it was broken it made her feel dirty and very unhappy. This “unhappiness” turned to hate over the course of many years, and Maggie kept to the friends she could trust, and who she new would keep her safe. They were very few, but they loved her, as she loved them, and always would.
She grew up, as every child must, but she kept to her friends, and never allowed anyone into her private safe little world, where fairies could be real, and trust meant love. Anyone who broke her trust was never forgiven, and nothing on this earth or the next would stop her wreaking revenge for doing the unthinkable……..betraying her.
Maggie was a brave child and a brave grown up. She was not afraid of anything, and this helped keep her friends safe and keep her pride in her promise.
More than anything on earth, Maggie loved her parents. She understood why she was always the last, and that they had always done their very best for her. She loved her dad, but she adored her mother. They were like friends, and shared a love for dogs amongst many other things that can’t now stand the passing of time. And time did pass.
Maggie eventually, after a few mistakes (never to be forgotten), fell in love with Matt. She was lucky, he also loved her, and as they grew closer many plans and promises were made. Not all could be, or were kept.
Then one day, her farther died. It broke a piece from her heart, that could never, ever be replaced. She now understood loss and she found it too hard to mend.
She moved, with Matt, back to where she had been born so that she could be near to her mother. Maggie’s mother was a very independent mum, and although they often argued (they were far too alike) they still held all the love that grows as many years pass. She didn’t feel love grow, but without Maggie’s knowledge it held her life together. Matt also loved Maggie’s Mum, and Maggie’s mum loved Matt and felt as if he was her son.
Then Maggie’s life began to go wrong. Her mother had grown old, and Maggie was at last afraid. In spite of Matt telling her that if she didn’t see as much of her mum as she should she would be sorry, Maggie was afraid. She was afraid to admit that her mum might slip away from her, so she was too afraid to watch it happen. It still happened though, and one day Maggie’s mum fell, and had to go to hospital. The hospital couldn’t mend Maggie’s mum.
Now the time had come for Maggie to keep the promises she’d made her mum. She was alone, but that really didn’t matter. It was Maggie’s promises that had to be kept, not anyone else’s.
She went to the hospital every day, and grew more and more afraid. For a little while there was a glimmer of hope, but that hope died.
Then a day came which took away all of Maggie’s bravery and left a terrified child behind. But still, she had a promise she had to keep. She slept at the hospital on a chair next to her mums bed and watched as her mum slipped further and further away. She tried to hold her there but she wasn’t strong enough.
The nurse came one of those days and told Maggie that her mum was dying and that they couldn’t save her.
That night, Maggie sat and held her mums hand as if, like a child, she believed she could keep her. She held her hand and begged her to stay, but her mum couldn’t hear her. She was asleep. Still Maggie held her mums hand, and brushed her mum’s hair and cried.
As she held her mums hand, her mum died.
Maggie didn’t know what to do. When her mum died, she took a huge piece of Maggie’s heart, and turned the rest to an unbearable pain which wouldn’t go away. She had no one to talk to, who knew what had happened to her heart, and as a year slipped past, everyone thought that Maggie should have forgotten that night, and that her heart should have mended.
But Maggie’s heart could never be mended. She remembered the times that she was too afraid to visit her mum, and that she should have looked after her better.
A whole year slipped by with Maggie alone except for people who would never understand about her heart. Maggie never mentioned it. She knew that everyone wanted her to behave as if it had never happened, so she tried. But trying didn’t work, and all the promises she failed to keep for her mum grew inward and bitter. Maggie grew to hate herself more than anyone could have hated her. She wrote poems and stories, but they all showed her that she was right to hate herself, and her heart began to die.
Maggie wanted to feel happiness again but she’d forgotten how to. Only a very little piece of her heart still hoped for safety, but of course, safety didn’t come and she stayed alone and away from people who might need her. Maggie had nothing left to help her friends. She couldn’t help herself. She could only hate herself more and more with every passing moment which held a memory of her mum, who she knew she’d failed.
Today Maggie still hates herself and I expect that she always will, just like any other child.