I hope this letter gets to you. I have no idea if Paradise Beach is still your address. Now with your whole family no longer living in Bristlehead, I have no way of knowing exactly where you are.
Sylvia, I am sure you are wondering why I would be writing to you after a decade of not being in touch. I think the last time we saw each other was at our graduation dance. You still went with that Robert guy. Oh, yes, Bob McKay. Whatever happened to him? I always thought he was a bit of a nerd. And those buck teeth of his really needed seeing to, but you seemed to be having a good time, so I suppose it didn’t matter to you.
Anyway, I’ll just get straight to the point. The last time I saw your mother was at Uncle Albert’s funeral. She looked quite close to kicking the bucket herself and it was hard to understand everything she said, but she repeatedly told everyone that you are married to a wealthy dentist or doctor or something. Dentist. I’m sure she said dentist.
So in actual fact that would mean that you are the only person I know that has money. And it is that that I need, Sybil. I need money.
I have had enough, Sybil. I rue the day I went with Billy English in his car to Lover’s Peak. I should have left this Godforsaken place as you did.
I am sick of my children and sick of my Billy. They tire me. They tire me non-stop. I need to leave. The children have been off school for the Christmas break which is too long, but do you think the government cares how mothers feel about this? No, Sylvia, the government does not. The government only cares about making money from increased taxes and robbing the poor. If they can’t care about better teachers and better schools, then why the hell would they care about mothers going crazy during the holidays?
You see, Sylvia, I really have to go. I snapped today. And it was rather ugly. I hit Jack rather hard. In fact, he actually has a light bruise on his face. I got crazy. I had told the children numerous times to tidy their room, turn the telly down, to stop fighting, to pick up their toys... I just couldn’t take it anymore. I fetched a belt from Billy’s cupboard. I’ve never hit the children before, even though I have threatened them. So, I fetched the belt from Billy’s cupboard. When I got back to them in their room, I missed the look of terror on their faces, that I’m sure must have been there. You see Sylvia, I just didn’t care at that point. I just wanted everyone to listen to me. Just to listen to me for a change. No one ever listens to me and I am sick of it. I got tired, I just got tired, Sylvia. So I hit them and the belt was whacking the walls and the door. It flew past the blind that went crashing to the floor and knocked over Jack’s Thomas the Tank Engine collection that I got for him for his Christmas from The Heart Foundation charity shop in Goldcrest. Bristlehead is now so poor that even the charity shop no longer exists.
This is what I have thought: If you could send me some money, a little every month, then by the end of the year I should have enough to leave.
I need to get out of this one horse town with all these small town hicks. The shoe factory is all that is here now. I need a better life, Sylvia. And I need your help.
Your cousin, Cecilia.