I can remember my old bedroom like it was yesterday. Actually, in truth, it was bloomin hideous. I had cream wallpaper but it was covered in brown and yellow flowers so actually it just looked brown. Half the wall was covered in a wood panel which had been painted white and I had a poster of Patrick Swayze which surreptitiously moved from the wall to the door, depending on how I was feeling at the time and how easy it made it to kiss him. He always kissed me back. Good old Patrick!
Because our house was above the cafe then, the bedrooms at the very top were all attic rooms with the sloped celings. I would spend hours looking out my window. You had a birds eye view of our garden below. It was a large garden.My Mum was mad about flowers and gardening (hence my name) and she would potter outside for hours on end. She always made my dad build her things and when he had to build her a pond, there was almost a divorce thats for sure! I would sit out with her into the evening somedays,on my swing and making up songs.
My bed was in the corner of the room and I was incredibly scared of the dark. So I would sleep with the light on every night. Not a side light: a full light. I say I slept in there but until I was about 11 I had a tendency to creep into bed with my Mum and Dad. I could not understand their constant frustration as I only wanted to be close to them. However, now as I have my own children, the thought of my daughter still coming into bed in years to come fills me with dread. My whole future sex life eradicated until she was old enough to leave home. No doubt I would become one of those frustrated retirees who goes to yoga and looks at their Vagina in a hand mirror.
If I had the gift of fortune telling or hindsight though, I would have got into my Dad’s hospital bed and proclaimed that I would never leave until he left me. I would hold him for as long as I could, for every second that remained and he would know I was there, holding tight. In actual fact he would have probably thought I was the milkman as he was definately a little less lucid towards the end.
Anyway, one night when I was asleep in my own room, I was woken up with a start. It took a little while to register what exactly the sound was but, in the corner of my room I could hear a baby crying. It was so loud that I was sure my Mum and Dad would burst in at any time. I told myself it was a cat outside and merely took myself into my Mum and Dads bed. I would hear that baby cry once a month, always in the same place and always really loud. There was a particular night that I was already in my Mum and Dads bed and the crying woke me up from the other room. It woke my Dad up too because he sat up and looked around the room in a daze. I know for sure that he heard it. When I asked him the next day he denied all knowledge but what person in their right mind would confirm to their eight year old daughter that they had also heard the phantom infant in her room?
I was scared of that house. Even when we moved into our own official proper house next door and we used the old place for storage, I would rarely go in.If I did, I would run up the stairs and run out again, always feeling like someone was hot on my heels. I still have nightmare about it to this day and I often wonder if that baby was trying to tell me something.
When my Dad was well into his final months, I had decided to practice Reiki so that I would have a hobby to give me a break. My Reiki teacher was lovely and we would spend a lot of time on other spiritual subjects such as Tarot and past lives. We were talking about spirit guides one evening: not something that I really agree with and purely because if it were true, mine should have been sacked years ago! My teacher was convinced that I had a male sibling who was always around me but, it had only ever been my brother and I and I had confirmed with my Nanny that Mum had never lost any children.
When we first moved into our house, our actual house next to the cafe which my Mum had her ‘eye on’ for years, it was great fun. Effectively we had two houses and I would play in the new house all on my own for whole days on end. I would cook with the pots and pans and lone bottle of white wine vinegar that was left in the cupboard by our original neighbours. My Dad would tell everyone that listened that when he was decorating the front room he had removed seven layers of wall paper and on the last layer he found a newspaper cutting from the wedding of Queen Victoria’s son (or daughter, I can’t quite remember) It wasn’t until I was in my late teens that my Dad told me that all the time he had been decorating, he was aware of a figure stood behind him. It was even more surprising because my Dad was never really like that. He was very much straight forward and he certainly was never superstitious. That was surprising based on his parents background too. That house was everything to me though, I loved it and it loved me back (as any house could and showed itself to do so!) There were often times that I would hear someone walking around outside my room when everyone was in bed but, it never bothered me. I never saw anything and we always discussed that whoever or whatever was there was willing to live with us too. My Dad was adamant he had seen a dog running around too and this was before he was on large doses of morphine. Just two weeks before he died, something quite incredible happened (that will be continued)
One of the last things I cleared from that front room when my Dad had gone was our long mahogany dresser. The things I found in there meant what was thought to be a quick job took hours.I sat there on my own and took everything out of those drawers, one thing at a time. I found old dog pedigrees from when my Mum and Dad went to dog training classes (with dogs of course!) and I found umpteen letters and cards that me and my brother had made for them over the years. I even found a dried up old condom which was more than perturbing.
As I cleared the very last thing from the musty wood and moved the dresser away from the wall, a brown envelope that had been wedged in the back of the drawyer fell to the floor. In that envelope I found my Mum’s NHS card and our baby bracelets. Most bizarrely, the envelope also contained my Mum’s two maternity cards from her pregnancies with my brother and I. It wasn’t very interesting, mostly her weight and sugar levels etc.. However on her maternity card when pregnant with me there was a prominent section which stated in scrawly handwriting….’One previous full term pregnancy and one miscarriage at 11 weeks before this pregnancy’……………………