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Tell Your Story

Wild Abandonment

Photo by Simon Rae on Unsplash

We got kicked out of the house to play shortly after breakfast, the only given instructions — stay out of trouble and be back for tea. Lunch was a given and we would pop back at 12.30 pm sharp for a sarnie and juice.

Often, the entire quota of kids in a street or 2 collaborated in a footy match. Discarded jumpers indicated the goalposts placed in the middle of the road. The goalies the lollipop patrol for the odd car that wanted to break play.

The girls often broke away if play got too boisterous, or they just didn’t get the rules. Sometimes I ended up the only girl in the pack. Suited me, I didn’t do girly stuff.

One afternoon as I sauntered indoors for a sarnie, I was told we were going on a family outing.

We piled into our Toyota Corolla, Mum and Dad up front, Mum driving. My brothers and I pile into the back, I want to be behind the driver, but my brother shoves me aside as he isn’t talking to our older brother, this means I get the middle seat.

They start by sparring words of abuse at each other. Mum tells them to pipe down. After an uncomfortable silence, my oldest brother shoves me into my other brother. I wince but stay stumm.

My other brother responds by shoving me back the other way, the two boys are exchanging unpleasantries to one another in low voices.

“What are they doing in the back?” my exasperated mum asks my dad.

Dad responds without looking round at us, but by whacking me in the knees with his fist.

“Stop mucking around you lot!” he shouts.

The boys are both mimicking silent laughter at me, the recipient of the punishments being metered out.

The boys return to their earlier fun of shoving me into each other. I can’t hold it in any longer and start to cry and plead with them to stop. My Dad turns around and glares at me.

“What are you sniveling about now?” he erupts. “Stop the bloody car Hellen!”

We have left the suburbs and entered the countryside. My mother steers the car into a layby. My dad is red-faced and chundering menace under his breath.

“Always spoiling the mood and grizzling. Why can’t you take a joke?” He hauls himself out of the car, folds the front seat down, and makes a grab for me.

“No Daddy,” I plead as he pulls me out of the car.

“You spoil every trip we take. I am so fed up with you always sniveling. Well, here ya go! Go live with the gypos, there’s bound to be a camp round here somewhere!”

With that, he shoves me away from him on the side of the road, straightens the front seat, and gets back in. Mum avoids my pleas for re-entry, and my brothers are grinning at the drama unfolding. The car goes into gear and drives off.

I watch in horror as it disappears out of sight. I spin around looking around me, I can see absolutely no one, I am all alone.

After a minute, the car comes back into sight. And for a second, I wish there were a local gypsy camp I could disappear into.




Everyone has a story to tell, probably many more than one. Tell Your Story is home for the best creative nonfiction and personal essays on Medium, stories from the heart that help us all understand a little bit more about ourselves and the world around us.

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Maria Barry

Maria Barry

A Reiki master, passionate about crystal and energy healing and teaching others to harness the power.

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