Mum never had any photos to show me of my father, but she said I followed after him. My dark looks, my body build, even my temper and moodiness she said came from Eddie. I first heard about Eddie when I was thirteen, after I had rifled through my personal records at school and discovered that Johnny Jameson was not really my dad, that he had only adopted me. It was a shock to discover that, but it kind of made sense. He had never treated me as lovingly as he did Carol and Patrick. Mum told me that Carol and Patrick were his own kids, that he couldn't help feeling differently about them. Yeah, it was then that mum finally told me the truth ― that she had had me out of wedlock. She was twenty, and Eddie had turned eighteen. It was also then that she told me that I had a younger sister who was given up for adoption. She told me I should be grateful that I hadn't been given away like Susan.
A few years later, when it became apparent that I had started self-harming and that I was suffering from severe depression, — or a borderline personality disorder as the doctors called it — mum let it out that there had been schizophrenia on my father's side of the family. After I heard this, I started to fear that I might be schizophrenic too. The illness is known to run in families, and sometimes I felt like I was not a part of this world, that I was floating somewhere else. I still float off at times, but first I get numb. It's like I'm dead, and I hate myself, and then the only way I can feel happy is by digging deeply with razors or bits of broken glass. I slice my arms, my inner thighs, my stomach. It's gotten worse over the years, but bliss comes by letting blood. Then, I am euphoric. I am free.
I did speak to my psychiatrist at that time though, and I asked her what the likelihood was that I might be schizophrenic. She assured me that I didn't suffer from such illness. She said my depression and self-harming were linked to the abuse I had suffered at the hands of Johnny Jameson.
Dr. Mosley did, however, think it would be a good idea for me to meet my real father if I could find him, and if he agreed to meet with me. So, I told mum that I wanted to contact my father. I needed to find out who the other half of me was.
It was a miracle when I think about it. I mean, if you think how often people move house, move town, or even settle in a different country. Mum contacted directory enquiries and asked for the phone number of Edward S. Thaxton in Slough and they gave her the number, just like that. That same evening she phoned Eddie. It turned out that my father was married for a second time and had kids by her as well as by his first wife. Eddie said that Janice, his wife, knew all about his past, that she knew he had an illegitimate grown-up child out there somewhere. He told mum that he'd love to meet me and that he'd like to see her again too.
"Why don't you both come over on Sunday for tea? You can meet Janice and our two boys," he had said.
After mum had finished chatting, I spoke briefly with Eddie on the phone. God, it felt so weird! There I was, twenty-two years old, speaking to my father for the first time in my life. My heart was thumping. I was sweating. I didn't know what to say and I burst into tears. But he laughed, he comforted me, he said it was OK for me to cry, and he even said that he felt like crying too. He was softly spoken, so very sweet, and I felt sad that mum had not married him instead of that bastard Johnny Jameson.
Anyway, we accepted Eddie's invitation. On the Saturday, Mum and me splashed out, going to the hairdressers, buying new dresses, as well as, of course, matching shoes and handbags. We really went to town. Mum wanted to look good because at the time she was recovering from being ditched by her boyfriend Rory. Bloody Rory! That creep made my life a misery, and then he went and did the dirty on mum by legging it with a younger woman. So, to be honest, I think mum was hoping that Eddie might get the hots for her and dump his wife. Mum has no qualms about breaking up a family if she fancies a bloke. When we were driving over to Slough, she was worrying about whether her bum was too big in her denim mini and whether his wife would be younger, slimmer, prettier than her. I remember thinking, "Fuck you, mum. This is meant to be for me, not you. We aren't on a man-hunt now. I didn't dare tell her what I thought. She would have thrown one of her tantrums.