Only Child

I always did my best but it was never enough.
A daughter who had to earn love.

Always compared to those shining examples –
the daughters of my parents friends.

The smart girls. Sluts who stole money from
their parents to buy smokes, see boys and drink.

Mentally wounded and physically abused –
For what? For being a good daughter?

School, University and Guilt: good grades.
Home Report Card: “Could have achieved more.”

I sat in my room drawing a better life than mine.
My Dansette on so I could sing along to pop.

Never really fitting in but had some friends.
I was classed as intelligent but difficult. Needing help.

Escaping from school when I was little and
being dragged back.

Trailed around Doctors and Psychologists. Until:
“We don’t really have a reason, it’s just her.”

He probably loved that idea, of me being branded:
“A bad child.” Mum advised not to have any more.

Closer to my Mother, hating and fearing my Father.
He was the family breadwinner and a church elder.

Mother caught in the cross-fire, as often is the case.
She cared. Though not enough to stand up to him.

Mother watched as I was teased and goaded into
fights that I did not want and could never win.

At work Father was well liked and even respected.
A noble scientific mind who loved to help others.

If I had said, would I have been believed? No.
Would Mother say? No. Not in those distant days.

Both were obsequious in front of people of perceived
power. Fake greetings dripped from their lying lips.

Both are now dead but the dust never settles,
it colours my life grey, in some way, every day.

He died a much weaker man showing no regrets.
Mother died later, though we became very close.

I could only ever just be me. This, they despised.
The truth is we never understood each other.

We spoke and thought quite differently – and I was loved
– but never for just being me.

I am on the autistic spectrum: ADHD and Aspergers.

For years I thought that I was the problem.

They had their own, hidden and unresolved.


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