Saturday, 30 June 2012

45 - Curtains

Pink, Paisley-patterned and pencil-pleated; they were the home-made curtains of my childhood at 44 St Peter's Street, and they kept out the sun as it intruded on my innocent sleep. Soon they were lined by ma, so that the light was kept in and the Luftwaffe couldn’t find their way to the docks and the railway sidings.
A dreadful old thick blue-serge curtain from the ‘glory ’ole’ was put up in the Anderson Shelter to protect me in my modesty. Then ‘uncle’ Jim began his visits, and the turncoat curtain protected him instead.
After we were bombed out of number 44, the wardens covered ma’s shattered body with the torn fragments of one of the biscuit-brown parlour drapes. I gathered all my worldly possessions in the other to run from the growing gossip.
A green and grey striped rubberized linen curtain stopped the whole ward watching the sister as she prodded and probed me in my pain. The same grey and green curtain stopped me seeing where they took my baby.
I call her Betty. I don’t even know if my baby was a girl or a boy, but she has to have a name. What sort of a mother would let her baby go into the world without even a name? What do you take me for!
I wonder what colour her curtains are? Does she ruche them? Has she got her fella to put up a pelmet for her? I hope they keep her warm and safe.

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