Behind Closed Doors
Author: Auty

Chapter 3
Hiding the bruises

Daddy doesn't like me going to school. He would rather me stay at home and look after him and the house. But when he refused to send me in and got a letter from school and then had an officer come round, he let me go in. Daddy said he doesn't like policemen. They stick their nose in where it's not wanted.

I don't have an alarm clock but I wake up on time every single day. I get dressed into my second hand school uniform. Daddy wouldn't buy me uniform until school made him as it was the rules. He gave me 10 and made me buy it all with that. I managed to buy a skirt and shirt and just had enough for the school jumper. I have to go in my own pair of shoes that are second hand trainers that have two big holes in so that when it rains, my feet get wet. I don't complain though. That would make daddy angry.

Daddy stays in bed 'til late and then normally goes to the pub around about lunchtime. He spends most of the afternoon and most of his money in there and comes home about ten. So in the mornings, I have to be extra quiet so I don't wake him up.

I very quietly unlock the front door and close it behind me, careful not to slam it. School is at least twenty minutes away but I don't mind walking. And even if I did mind, I don't have a choice. Daddy doesn't have a car and if he did, he wouldn't drive me. He thinks school is a waste of time.

I plod along the road, my skirt buckle rubbing against the fat purple bruise from yesterday. Every step I take makes it hurt more and more and in the end, I have to stop to adjust my skirt. Some of the girls roll their skirts up. I leave mine to hang just above the knee. The material hides the bruises which means people don't ask questions.

Eventually, I walk through the gates and into the main building. The corridor smells of lamb and gravy and my mouth starts watering. I can't wait 'til lunchtime. Because daddy is on benefits, I get school lunch for free. It's the only meal I get a day and I savor every mouthful.

The school bell interrupts my thoughts and I make my way to class, preparing for the day ahead.


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