Flower’s family was small; if you were going to join the dots to make their family circle it was a line that went from A to B: Leah and her Flower.
When fifteen-year-old Flower’s mum died on the way home from work her Social Worker, Janice, had to cast a very wide net to find anyone who could take her in. Foster parent Jo, who cared and is caring still has to prepare Flower for a new life.
“Flower?” said Jo. “It’s time to meet your uncle. Remember he is ‘Great’ after all.”
She’d used the joke before.
Jo reached for my hand. The sheer force of will, the belief, in her calm brown eyes had me reaching up to clasp her hand before I had considered making a choice. Neither of us looked at Janice who was not holding her breath or paying attention to us at all.
Jo towed me over to the other, uncomfortable visitor who sat centrally on the sofa. His large feet were covered in sandals – sandals and socks – then there were jeans on legs that ranged up and then still up – long legs, constrained by the coffee table. A cream knit cardigan with lumps and ropes, my eyes swirling I followed a loop – held in the track – until I reached the head crowning this figure. He had a long face with lots of forehead – the baldness added to the effect – a craggy, pensive, mobile face where emotions chased in quick succession and the deep blue eyes. White curls rebelled at the edges of his close cropped hair.
“Flower? This is your Great Uncle Will, your Mum’s Uncle Will.”
And I felt it fall, that detached piece of heart I’d prepared earlier because she’d said the two little words I could hardly bare when put together.
“O-oh!” I breathed.
“Hello,” the deep voice whispered, “I’m here for you.”
I checked the creases and seams where his sandals clasped his socks tight.
“Flower? We don’t have to do this now.”
But, really, we did.
The hand that holds ours, when the task is impossible to undertake alone, could belong to many people. Do you have a special someone you hold onto when things are difficult?