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Smoke Screen


Here for the Journey
I was a fat child! There is no other way to put it. I wasn’t huge but I was definitely fat. The older women in my family were all well rounded and no-one did anything to change things. I was a head and shoulders taller than most children of my age and at twelve years old I had to wear skirts more suitable for elderly ladies. I could not shop at the same shops as my friends and my clothes had a frumpy look. How I longed to wear trendy things. This was the swinging sixties and fashion was everything. It was ‘Be there or be square!’

By the time I was fifteen I had decided to rock the household boat and go all out to lose the extra pounds. This caused many arguments as my mum did not agree with dieting. She was convinced that I would make myself ill and was totally oblivious to the health risks associated with being overweight. Eventually I made a stand and brought home food to make my own meal.

That evening there was a huge row ending with me sitting at the table eating while my mum sat opposite and cried. “Wait until your father gets home” she threatened, “He’ll have something to say about the ungrateful, selfish way you are treating me. I have brought you up on good food and now you are throwing it all back in my face”. I hated seeing her so upset but I knew I was right and that it was now or never. If I didn’t make the stand now I never would.

Dad, bless him, arrived home from the late shift to total chaos having had twelve hours of manual work. Dad was like a beanpole and although he, like many of his generation, was a smoker he was still a very fit man. He fought to make sense of the situation, which by this time had extended to involve my Gran and several aunties.

My father was a passive man and I closed my eyes, blinking back the tears, as I waited for him to go with the majority. Dad lit up his cigarette and stirred the sugar round in his tea while the women sat with folded arms and waited for my come-uppance. Drawing in his cheeks Dad inhaled and blew smoke into the air. I watched the thin blue ribbon of smoke as it curled up to the ceiling and I swear I saw the ghost of a wink in the corner of Dad’s eye.

“Well, has everyone had dinner then,” he said “I’m starving.

© July 2008
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Here for the Journey
Thanks abz. Thank goodness for long memories and a sense of humour x

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