crowd has gathered as we scream at each other.
\u201cAnyway, you\u2019readopted!\u201d she shrieks.
\u201cAnd you\u2019re a pig!\u201d I yell back.
She carries on shouting. \u201cYourre a l Mummy didn\u2019t want you so she gave you
\u201cIt\u2019s not true! You\u2019re lying!\u201d But at the back of my mind I can hear Mummy
telling her friends, \u201cThis is my daughter Rita and this is my adopted daughter
Marie.\u201dI was a lot younger then. I\u2019d forgotten about it until now.
A bell rings. I can\u2019t stop thinking about what\u2019s just happened.
When Mummy collects me she sees how quiet I am.
\u201cWhat\u2019s the matter?\u201d she asks. \u201cWhat have you done now?\u201d
\u201cNothing,\u201d I answer.
We walk home without talking but I know she won\u2019t give up. At home I drink
me what the matter is?\u201d I know she will make me tell her.
\u201cAm I adopted?\u201d
\u201cNo. Whoever told you that?\u201d
\u201cGail. She said her Mummy told her.\u201d
There\u2019s a long silence.
\u201cShe\u2019s telling lies.\u201d
I sense that it\u2019smy Mummy who is telling the lies.
\u201cNo, really\u2026 Please tell me - am I adopted?\u201d
\u201cDaddy and I were going to tell you when you were a lot older and would
understand.\u201d She sounds as if she\u2019s practised these words in her head many times.
\u201cWe went to the orphanage, a place where people take their babies when they don\u2019t
want them. Out of all the babies we chose you. We could have had any baby and you
were sickly and covered in sores; you had nothing except a filthy rag doll that we had
to burn. And when we brought you home it took me ages to take you out in your
pram. You just kept screaming when I tried to take you out of your cot. Except for
that you were a good baby, no trouble to anyone, you would spend hours quietly in
your cot. I kept trying with you because we wanted a sister for Rita. She was three
then. So you see, you\u2018re very special.\u201d
her to hug me but she doesn\u2019t.
\u201cWhat if someone tries to take me away?\u201d
\u201cNobody can ever take you away. You\u2019re ours.\u201d
I wish I felt sure. I know no one will take me away if I\u2019m always good but as
\u201cListen,\u201d Mummy says when I don\u2019t do as she tells me. \u201cCan you hear the rag- and-bone man?\u201d And Ican hear his voice in the street calling out for bits and pieces. \u201cWell\u2026 if you\u2019re naughty he will take you away.\u201d
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