We stood in the kitchen.
The boys played noisily in the garden.
The spring sunshine brightened the room as it streamed in through kitchen window.
I liked helping Mum with the chores in the kitchen, being her little helper. I hoped, desperately, to bond with her.
Suddenly, she turned to me
“When you are in the darkroom with Dad, what do you do?”
I answered truthfully
“Dad shows me how to make pictures”.
“Oh…he does, does he?”
“Anything else?” she asked, accusingly.
I was too young to understand the implications and inference of her probing and replied in all innocence
“Does Dad touch you?”
“Er…no Mum, he doesn’t”
“Are you sure?”
I could sense her growing angst.
“Yes Mum, I`m sure”
I could feel panic within and fumbled for words to convince her I was telling the truth.
Why would she not believe me? Why did she always think I was lying?
She was my mother and I loved her, why would I lie?
“You must do something in there!” she raged
Saliva shot out of her angry mouth.
“You are a little Liar!”
I trembled with fear as I recognised the onset of her metamorphosis into frightening, intimidating witch. My mouth dried, my tongue stuck to my palate, my lips dehydrated, as my heart rate quickened. The wart on her chin appeared to grow to huge proportions the angrier she became. Her lips creased into a malevolent grimace, as more and more accusations were hissed vehemently at me.
“Next time he asks you to go in there with him, you are to say NO….do you hear?”
She spat at me.
“Now get out of my kitchen!”
I hurriedly joined my brothers in the garden. My spirits once again broken, my mind confused and puzzled.
I was never told her reasons for the ban and was deeply saddened to never be allowed the pleasure of sharing my step-father`s passion for photography again.
That night, when the boys were snug in their beds, the curtains pulled and I was close to sleep, I heard her steps on the stairs and knew I was going to be punished until the early hours of the morning.