RUNNING away from the foster home didn’t work.
So I decided to starve myself to death instead, as a form of protest against the tyranny of DOCS.
It was a brilliant plan for a 10-year-old child. The other alternative was jumping from the nearby railway bridge. I’d considered that too.
I decided on the starving thing, because that way I had time to change my mind.
So I refused to leave my bed.
“Dinner,” my 60-year-old mother would yell. And I ignored her.
I skipped breakfast and lunch as well.
But Hazel, the old bird, was smart. She’d fostered for 30 years, had crazier kids than I would ever amount to, and once stopped being a paraplegic through sheer force of will.
She had already gone to the shops and stocked up on pies, sausage rolls, pizza, lollies, junk food, fried fish to cheer me up. But since I was ignoring it, she brought the food to my room. She left lollies, chocolates and a popper on my bedside table.
“In case you change your mind,” she said.
I wasn’t stupid. I moved the food to the other side of the room but by midnight I sleep-walked.
Sleep-ate! Just a little.
A chocolate here. A lolly there. The liquid in the popper.
She knew immediately. The old bird knew. There was no point pretending.
Like a wicked witch she cackled as I gobbled up the pie and mash in front of the TV the next night.