I stared out my bedroom window as the day grew darker. The darkness was like the unhappiness in my life, more and more each day. I wished i could stare out my window when the day was growing lighter. That was only in my dreams. But they were the good dreams. I had endless nightmares. About my life without my mother. Since she had gone, it was only me and my father in a lonely,dead house. An icy cold tear trickled down my pale,expressionless face. I felt around in my pocket for the hankey that my mother had given me when i was eight years old. I was now 15 and still carried it with me. It was soaked through with tears from just previous times this day. I wiped away the tear but more came flooding down my face. I tried to blink them out as i heard my fathers quiet foot steps coming up the narrow creeky stairs. 'Kirsten?' my father, Matthew, spoke through a tiny crack in my wooden bedroom door. I pushed my headphones in my ears and listened to heavy metal music to drown out the mumbles of his voice. I knew he would just be asking me what i wanted for dinner or asking me if i'd my homework. He never asked me anything else. Once the mumbles faded,i pulled my headphones out and continued staring outside. Hours would pass in a day when i would just sit by my window and go on my laptop and send messages to mothers old email address. 'Dearest mother,i wish you could've been here for this beautiful evening. It reminded me of you. The sunset with few fluffy clouds in the sky along with many rainbow colours like bright pink and red. The air was crisp yet fresh and i wore the itchy,incomfortable jumper that nana knitted for me at christmas. That was spiecal because i never wear that hidius thing! Father..well he wasnt with me. He was working late again. But i didn't care. I felt your presence and that it's self was good enough. Im never going to stop missing you mother. You are always in my heart. All my love. From your daughter, Kirsten x'
I'd always hoped she could recieve these emails but everytime i send it almost instantly says 'failed'. It hurt to see those words on the screen everyday. More tears fell from my blood shot eyes. Every unhappy tear i cried felt happy to me. I knew I was in pain but that pain was my mother and she made me undescribingly happy. I lifted my skeleton body over to bed. I lifted my blankets and felt around under my bed until i felt a small wooden box. I pulled the wieghtless box out with all my strength and even then i struggled. I tugged my bedside cabbinet drawer open and took out a tiny key. I fitted the key into the whole in the little wooden box and opened it wide. Hundreds of photos burst out like little bugs rushing to escape. I carefully studied every photo of me and my mother when i was a toddler. They were the best years of my life. As i continued to look through the photos, i found a perfect one of me,mother and father sitting outside our house back in Scotland. It was a pefect sunset with few fluffy clouds. I stared at the perfect picture for a long time. I made a light crease down the middle and folded over the half where father was standing so that it really was the perfect picture.I placed it in the empty photo frame on my cabinet. I lay on my back on my bumpy uncomfortable bed and wrapped myself in my large blue blanket and stared at the photo. It started to make my chest ache and my head dizzy. It was a strange feeling of pain and depression. I closed my eyes to see my mother standing in a dark,dead and wet forest. Yet, she was standing eleglantly in a bright white dress smiling at me. She was the beautiful light of a dead land. It reminded me of me when she was alive. The happiness and exitement of a dull,miserable room. But mother was crying in this dream. Her body turned to stone and her beautiful dress turned black and hiduis like the forest she was standing in. The dream turned into the new me. The me I hated and disgusted. The me that had lost all her friends. The me who had become selfish and careless to others and herself. The me who had forgot how much she was loved and fogotten all meaning and purpose of life. I quickly opened my eyes to vanish the dream. I sat on the edge of my bed. I squeezed the blankets in my hands and cried out to be dead. I wanted to be released from the pain. I breathed very heavily and grinded my teeth together so hard they felt likr they were being ripped out. I looked like a hidius beast. Like a ware wolf crying for help from it's pack. But suddenly i let go of my blankets and stopped grinding. I stood up quickly and searched and paced around the room. 'Gotta be something in here!' i said shakily. I looked in every drawer and box until i found them. 'Thankyou God!' I said to myself. Although i knew that if anyone wanted me to live, it would be him. 'Are you alright up there?' My father asked from the bottom of the stairs.
'Yeah.' I attempted to say camly. He never asked me that so i was in shock at the same time as trying to concentrate on killing myself. I grabbed the scissors and held them to my chest. I closed my eyes and counted. 'One...Two..Thr-' Father burst through the door and grabbed the scissors. I opened my eyes and slapped him on the cheek. 'What the hell did you do that for?!' i screamed in his face.
'What the hell am I doing? What the hell are YOU doing?!' He shouted back. 'This is the second time this month Kirsten! Why are you doing this to me,eh?' He shouted but slightly calmer than before.
'I'm trying to do you a massive faver! If you had just left me then-'
-'Don't you even bother saying that I'd be happier! You are all I have left Kirsten.' He attempted to make me feel better.
'Your work is all you have left.' I corrected. He stared at me and suddenly grabbed my arm that had knife scars all over and held it tightly.
'Don't start with me Kirsten! You know i have to work to keep the house and to look after you. You aren't the only one still greiving either!'He moaned as he held my arm tighter and tighter by each word. I could felt my cuts hurting like chinese burns. Father released my arm and i held it in my hand instantly to support it. He walked out the room and slammed the door shut. I then noticed the scissors were still in the room on the floor. I grabbed them and ran over to my small wooden box and locked them in there. Just in case.
The next morning i woke up late. Father had already left. I could smell burnt toast and his truck wasn't in the yard. I was very late. I grabbed the first thing out of my drawer. A grey vest top and a pair of faded blue,torn jeans. I tugged through my long,messy black hair and splashed my face with water. I ran down the noisy stairs and jumped to the fridge. I gulped down some milk from the carton and grabbed the half a slice of burnt taost my father laft on his plate. I grabbed my bag and ran out the door. By the time I got to school, I was almost 30 minutes late but that was normal for me. The day was a blur. I wasn't really listening in any of the classes although, I occaisonally put my hand up just so it looked liked i was paying attention. When the loud irratating,rusty bell rang for lunch, i was relieved. 'Hey Kirsten!' a cheery voice called from behind me.
'Oh hey Angela!' i tried to sound inthusiastic.
'Lunch?' She stated the obvious.
'Yes.' I walked with her to the dinner hall as she chatted most of the way. I loved the fact that she was a chatterbox because it was a distraction from the rest of my life. We sat at our usual table with a few other of Ange's friends. Fiona always sat with us and always sat on ange's left. I always thought she was wierd like that. She was a tall brunette just like Ange and had bright green eyes with extremely long eyelashes. I'd always been jelous of them. Laura was a small,petite,mousey blonde who never really spoke but i liked her for that. I prefered her akward silence to her irratating english accent. And Sam was the loud,popular show off. I'd always thought he'd had a thing for me though. Wasn't much of a compliment though. He was tall,long blonde hair with dark blue eyes and covered in spots. Just the thought of his face made me gag.
'So how's your day been K?' Laura asked with a huge grin.
'Ok.' I mumbled. Angela smiled at me and carried on talking about the latest celebrity break up and football game. I slowly nibbled on my tuna sandwich. I only at about a quarter. I had no stomach for food. It tasted like crap to me.
I watched every tick of the clock in biology but that made it seem slower. As soon as the bell rang i jumped out of my seat and scrambled out the door. I was trampled in a stampeed of people through the corridor. I fought my way through even though i was a mouse compared to the giant beasts. I passed Angela and her friends but i kept my head down and carried fighting through. I was to desprate to get home and cry. I walked home in the ice rain. It stung my eyes so that i could baberly see a thing. After i was away fromt the school area,i heard a group of boys whispering and laughing about a meter behind me. I recognized one of the boys voices. It was Sam from our lunch table. He talking to his friends and i heard my name being said repetdly along with some other vulgar,disgusting language in the same sentance. My pace quickend and i kept my head down to the pavement. The boys voices got louder and louder and more irratating by every step i took. I tried to ignore them but the remarks were unbereable. Then Sam said something that broke my heart.
'Here! Stupid emo girl! Why did your poor little mummy die?!Was she like sick of your attemps to kill yourself?!Was she sick of your dada never being there with you?! You are soo stupid emo girl! No-body likes you. Nobody would even notice if you were dead!' He shouted and chuckled. His friends were laughing with him. My chest suddenly felt like somebody had just stabbed it with a butcher knife and now was heart was beating it's last. My eyes were still stinging from the disgusting rain as my cuts on my arms started to show through my top. They were bleeding. It hurt. Really hurt. The boys ran infront of me and pointed and laughed. I heard Sam make a remark about my cuts he could see through my soaked,see through top. I felt sick. With pain.With anger and digust. They started walking up to my face and spitting on my face and clothes. I held my hood down tight over my face and tried to dodge them. It was easy not to shout at them because I had no confidence for that. They kept on shouting and verbally abusing me. I was screaming and crying inside. My forehead creased and I felt a painfull tear run down my face. I was walking unaturally fast now. I was 5 minutes from home which wasn't long but i knew it was going to be an awful five minutes. Sam's friend Mark yanked my hood from behind me and pulled me into an ally way nearby. I tried to scramble away but he was to much taller and stronger than me. His black spikey hair made him an extra 1/2 taller. His dark ebony eyes stared directly into mine. He had both is hands agianst the wall,trapping me. His face was practically touching mine. His fresh minty breath blew lightly up my face. His beautiful face stunned me. I'd never noticed his flawless features before now. He started mumbling something although it didn't sound vulgar. The rain was still burning my eyes and running down my clothes like a shower would to the skin. Strangly, when I was so close to Mark, I didn't feel scared or in danger. I felt safe. A little warmer inside. I was scared by that although. I hadn't felt that since I was a child. Mark gave me a warm smile but it fell as soon as Sam and the rest of his friends peeked round the corner. His personality changed in a split second. He growled at me and shouted ' So get a life you freek!' They all laughed and ran off. I stood in the rain confused and astonished. No boy had ever looked at me like that before. No boy had been that close to my face before. Although I was miserable, it was a fantastic moment. I suddenly started running home but felt uncomfortably happy. It was the strangest feeling. My heart was beating at a hundred miles an hour. I felt...happy. As soon as I got through the door, i ran upto my room and before i even changed out of my dripping wet clothes, i flipped open my laptop and started typing a new email to mother. 'Dearest Mother, it has been a very different day today. School was drole and awful and after school was hirandus untill something happened. I had the strangest moment with a boy,Mark,that was amoungst the boys that were attacking me. He pinded me up against a wall in an alley way and he was strangley close to me and i felt very safe and warm with him. Is this a good thing? I'm not sure because of the way he acted as soon as his friends looked round. But when we were alone..I felt something I have never felt before. Did you feel it when you were with dad for the first time? Was it the same? I'm sorry but this is so different for me. This is the most inthusiastic iv'e been about anything since my 8th birthday just before you..fell ill.' I stopped typing for a minute. I looked away from the words on the screen. I tried to force a smile. I looked across at my tiny mirror ,that was mostly hidden, and stared at my still dripping wet face and the forced smile that was terrifiyingly ugly. I tried to brush away my bad thought about mother for a minute and carried on typing. ' Anyway. I hope you are well. Please wish me luck with this feeling and that it never goes away. I loveyou and miss you. Your Daughter, Kirsten.' I clicked send. Failed. I shut the lid quickly. I wondered over to my wardrobe and picked out some dry clothes and ran down the stairs and washed my wet clothes before father came home. The blood stains would of made him suspicous. I grabbed anything of Fathers i could find lying around the house to go in the wash. He always expected me to do it anyway. I grabbed a packet of bacon out of the fridge and fried them in pan for our dinner. I cooked some french toast and plopped it on a plate and shuved it in the microwave. He was never home any earlier than 7. I scoffed down a strip of bacon dripping with fat and had a bite of the toast. I scrubbed the dishes as quickily as I could so I could get upstairs. I hated having an akwardness with father as soon as he walked through the door. In my room i felt safer. I'd always felt mothers presents in that room.
Before i colapsed on my bed for the night, I looked at some of my favourite photos again. I kissed every photo lightly and repeatidly said 'I loveyou' to the beautiful photos of mother when I was first born. She was glowing. She looked so happy. Ofcourse father wasn't in a sinlge of the good photos. He got his lifelong dream job of a loyar when I was just a few monthes old. By the time I was a toddler, father had gotten a promotion to managment of his department so I only saw him brefely on Sundays when we would go to church and mother would dress me up in a pink and white frilly dress and little white shoes with flowers over them. Mother would dress in her best dress,which was white also and she wore a huge hat that would match her beautiful,eye catching dress. Whereas, father would come wearing his work suit and always had his phone switched on. It rang nearly every service. He would end up being called to work for some silly reason and not get home until late at night. I remember hearing them both argue late at night when he got home but it was just loud mumbling to me. They fought more and more as i got older. I could see that mother was getting more and more depressed each time they had an arguement. It made me hate my own father completly by the age of eight. I was never close with him. I barely had a conversation with him my whole childhood. When mother fell ill,when i was 10 years old, my world turned upside down. Neither mother or father would show up to any of my school plays or presentations because they would be at another hospital oppiontment. I was a very popular kid at school but none of my friends understood my mother being sick. I barely even understood. I began spending less and less time at school due to my mother becoming more and moe sick every week. I lost relationships with more and more friends every time I was off. They said i was a skiver and that no-one liked me anymore and that they thought i was a total wierdo. 'Just 'cause we have normal families,we think it's best we aren't seen with you. Buy loser!' were words i specifically remember. That was the first time i realised that my family not being perfect was always going to be an issue with people at school. That year, mother passed away in hospital. From then on I was little miss unpopular. I skipped school. Ran away from home. Starved myself for weeks when I was 11 and eventually was admitted to DerryBrae Hospital for a month. I was only hours away from death. My childhood was hurendus as soon as my mother, the one and only person I truely trusted and loved and i knew I got the same in return, was out of my life. As i reminisced looking at the photos,my chest began to ache more and more. I felt sick will all the bad memories. Too many for one day. Suddenly, I heard the front door slam shut and father search around the kitchen for his dinner. A very late dinner. It was silent for a minute. 'Kirsten?' He called up the stairs. I jumped in fright. He started creeking his way up the stairs. I quickly shut the lid of my small wooden box and locked it up and slid it under my bed. I turned off my lamp and scrambled into bed. He opened my bedroom door and I closed my eyes tight at that second. 'K?' He asked,Shortening my name which I hated. He stayed in my room for a few more seconds and then whispered 'Sweet dreams. Let the angels keep you safe.' I heard the door creek shut. I blinked my eyes open. I was in shock that father had spoken the same words mother always said to me before I went to sleep when I was a child. Maybe he did pay attention? Maybe he did care?
That night i dreamt about mother in the forest again in the beautiful white dress. Although,this time there was a really handsome man with her. He crept up behind her and then slid his fingers inbetween hers and kissed her delicatly on her pale,chalky cheek. But then the handsome man faded away and mother's dress turned black again. I didn't quite understand that dream. I woke up confused and a little worried. I glanced at my clock beside my bed. 8:10am. Late again. I threw on a plain grey top and my long wooly cardigan and my torn jeans. I grabbed my old tattered school bag and threw my school books in and ran down the stairs. I gulped down the last of the milk and grabbed money out of fathers wallet to buy more after school. He always hated it when i had the last of something and didn't replace it.
My day went past in a blur. I was day dreaming about Mark. His perfect face. His huge muscly body. His minty breath. I relived it all in my head. The bell rang for lunch break. Although,i decided to skip lunch and went for a long silent walk. I wanted to try and avoid Sam as much as I could although I didn't want to avoid Mark. I wanted it to start raining heavily and for him to pull me away from everybody else and for him to hold me in his warm,bulging arms.
Feedback for Boomting
Boomting tackles serious issues in her arresting story about a young girl’s mourning of her mother. She writes skillfully about grief – exploring some of the stages of grief such as denial, anger, regret.
Boomting’s story is told in the first person from the viewpoint of her protagonist Kirsten for whom we feel great sympathy from the very start: Kirsten is desperately unhappy because she is without her mother.
Boomting does not actually tell us that Kirsten’s mother is dead until later in the narrative, but suggests this strongly in her opening paragraph by describing the house as ‘dead’:
‘I had endless nightmares. About my life without my mother. Since she had gone, it was only me and my father in a lonely, dead house.’
Kirsten is hostile to her father because he is simply not her mother. Boomting’s characters are well drawn: Kirsten’s father is an unsympathetic character - an absent parent who cares only for his career as a lawyer and pays little attention to her. Boomting shows us this by his actions:
But Boomting shows us that people are complicated – because Kirsten’s father also wishes her a very loving goodnight when he thinks she cannot hear him.
Boomting skillfully shows Kirsten’s grief by having her send daily emails to her dead mother but these are returned as ‘failed’. This is called ‘pathos’ and shows Kirsten’s denial; her mother’s death is too painful for her to accept. And actually because people are complicated Kirsten also wants and needs to feel pain:
‘It hurt to see those words on the screen everyday. More tears fell from my blood shot eyes. Every unhappy tear i cried felt happy to me. I knew I was in pain but that pain was my mother and she made me undescribingly happy. I lifted my skeleton body over to bed.’
Boomting shows great insight into the grieving process; somewhere Kirsten knows that in order to move through her grief to the other side she needs to feel pain. Kirsten loves and misses her mother so much that she believes love is pain. She longs to be with her so much that she constantly revisits the past:
‘I fitted the key into the hole in the little wooden box and opened it wide. Hundreds of photos burst out like little bugs rushing to escape.’
The simile of ‘little bugs’ that she uses to describe the photos shows that remembering her mother is unpleasant for her because it reminds her again and again that she cannot be with her. Boomting’s use of imagery is very effective here because the comparison with ‘bugs’ makes us understand very well how creepy and horrible the loss of her mother is for her. But she will bear the horror of the loss just to see the images of her mother again.
In order to cope with her grief and to be close to her mother, Kirsten starts to self-harm. She starves herself and ends up in hospital:
‘I slowly nibbled on my tuna sandwich. I only ate about a quarter. I had no stomach for food. It tasted like crap to me.’
Her upset father tries to reason with her:
‘You aren't the only one still greiving either!' he moaned as he held my arm tighter and tighter by each word. I could felt my cuts hurting like chinese burns. Father released my arm and i held it in my hand instantly to support it.’
He is obviously trying to show Kirsten that she is not alone, but in his own state of upset he holds her arms too tightly opening the self-inflicted cuts on her arms. Kirsten feels truly alone at this point and is terribly ashamed of herself:
‘The me I hated and disgusted. The me that had lost all her friends. The me who had become selfish and careless to others and herself. The me who had forgot how much she was loved and forgotten all meaning and purpose of life.’
Boomting shows us all the rawness of grief and its savagery through the actions and thoughts and feelings of Kirsten. She shows her readers the depths of loss. It is a normal part of the grieving process to feel anger towards a much-loved person. Boomting shows us how sometimes that anger can be turned against the person left behind because it is too unthinkable to feel furious at someone you love because they left you.
But Boomting’s story has hope for Kirsten and shows her moving towards life. Kirsten meets a boy called Mark whom she likes very much. Although her feelings for him scare her, we get the impression that there is a promise of future happiness for Kirsten; that after her bravery and endurance this character will remember her mother without pain and have a happy ever after ending with Mark.
Top tips for next time
Editing for spelling and paragraphs.
Bravo! What an insightful story.