Ok, so it’s probably not part two, it’s just the second part I’ve written. Another rough draft of a scene. Ask me things.
At school, Rebecca had always been laughed at by the other children for catching the bus alone, or never having the right kind of skirt. Whichever skirt she wore, it was always the one that the girls had been wearing last term, and it showed.
They were, in fact, the very same garments the girls had been wearing the last term. Her mother bought them second hand, from the huge End of Term sales that took place in the assembly hall. Sometimes there were enough unwanted items that the sale spread out into the playground, patchwork clothing spreading by osmosis across the school grounds. Rebecca’s mother, who loved a bumper crop at bargain prices, was always happiest when this was the case. Rebecca, however, was less impressed when her mother returned home with armfuls of other people’s clothing for her to wear to school the coming term.
Looking back now, Rebecca realised that her mother must have know that she was being – well, not bullied, more looked-down-upon – but that she had never admitted it. She was so fierce in her affection, so determined that she could solve any problem, that she would not hear a word of it; smothering the tears and complaints with trips to the seaside and mugs of hot chocolate sweetened with rum. At the time, Rebecca took this for granted, thinking that perhaps she was the only one who heard the jeers and felt the sharp jabs of elbows in the lunch queue.
Back then, they fought and fought, Rebecca begging for the right clothes or party dress, and her mother refusing to listen.
“None of that matters,” she would insist, dismissing Rebecca’s pleas and frustration. Rebecca’s detailed descriptions of the schooltime hardship were dismissed, falling on a willingly ignorant mother too stubborn to change.
Yet, she knew that it was this that had taught her the independence and defiance to open the box at the bottom of the wardrobe and quietly break the seals of those long-unopened letters.
Having never asked, Rebecca had no idea what her own mother’s childhood had been like. Jonathan’s letters were astounding: affectionate, familiar, and then desperate in a way that Rebecca had never experienced. It didn’t take long to work out that this man was no lover, but an estranged brother writing on behalf of people she had never known: her grandparents.