From a young age my mother, Pam and father, Mathew, were always strict. Strict in the way of being fair and peaceful but applying strict rules to whatever and however they pleased.
From as long as I can remember I wasn’t allowed to watch TV unless my mum and dad were in.
I didn’t understand why, until I was about 11 or 12 and I finally built up the courage to ask the questions as to why.
My mother simply responded “As parents we want to protect you from all that nasty stuff out there, and TV is one of ‘em”. She smiled as she kissed me on the cheek.
The other rule that really got to me when I had finally hit puberty was no phones.
Don’t get me wrong I was allowed to use the house phone but I wasn’t allowed one of my own and even one that had internet access. As you can guess that was banned to.
I gathered the reason for all these boundaries was to protect me, after all I was their only child.
I remember when I first flew into a rage with them over one of their rules however. No sleepovers.
As a teenage girl who has friends, crushes and gossip. I wanted to sleepover at my friends, like any 15 year old would.
It was my best friends 16th birthday and she was planning on a sleepover. With some sneaky alcoholic essentials she had robbed from her mothers liquor cabinet. I asked dad if I could go but he shouted right back at me, he was so shocked and angry I had even thought to have asked.
My father was always the strict one. Never wanting me to even ask why we had these rules, he just said “because”. Whereas my mother, she cared and wanted me to feel included, but she would always tell me after “our little secret though, ok?” And make me pinky promise.
I just put my fathers strictness down to him being much older than my mother, probs all by 15 years.
I cried so much that night, everyone of my friends was going to this sleepover and there was tiny me crying in a heap on my bed. All alone.
I sat there and thought about how unfair my mother and father were, how could they do this to me, their only child.
All they ever done was deprive me of a normal life.
All my friends use to mock me over and over about how I didn’t have this and didn’t have that. They’d all pull out their fancy new black berry’s and there I was with nothing but a house phone.
It was so embarrassing.
For some reason that night I just couldn’t help but think about sneaking away from this hell hole.
I quietly got up from my bed and check the time on the clock in the hall way.
It was dead on 8pm.
I knew my mother and father have a usual routine of being in bed no later than 9pm.
Another weird and strange rule.
I sat by my door with the lights off, hoping they wouldn’t come in to check on me before bed.
I had packed an over night bag ready to sneak out of my window, all I had to do was wait until the coast was clear.
I waited until I heard both my mother and father close their bedroom door.
I ever so slightly pushed my door open slightly, so I could see the time on the clock in the hall.
I was going to make a run for it at 9.30.
I’d planned to make sure to leave my friends house no later than 6am tomorrow morning, I knew my mother would be in at 8am to wake me for morning prayer before Sunday breakfast.
As I pushed the door it let out a tiny creek, almost sounded like a child’s cries.
I winced at the thought of my father catching me in the act.
9.20, I had 10 agonising minuets left until I bolted. I had to make sure they were asleep before I did.
30 minuets should be enough. Right?
As the clocked strikes half 9, I crept over to my room.
I better add at this point that we lived in a bungalow, no high windows. Which made me even more worried as this made it easy for my parents to get to me before I ran down the street. My room was right near the front door.
I pushed my window a jar, and tried to squeeze my slim body through the crack. My mother and father put these safety locks on all the windows and door so no one could get in. Or out.
Hence why I didn’t use the front door. It was alarmed.
As I was dropping my over night bag onto the grass I heard a floor board creek. My legs were hanging out of the window. I was in such a panic I pushed myself backwards and hit the grass hard.
I didn’t have time to stop and think about my sore back and legs, I had to make the 15 minute sprint to my friends house, Jessica.
My legs were running so fast and hard it felt like I was slowly falling to the ground, like my knees were going to give in.
Finally I saw the 16 birthday banners sprawled across the house.
I was so excited, yet so scared.
I kept looking back until I knew I was in the clear.
I pounded on the front door still looking my shoulder to make sure my parents hadn’t spotted me legging it down the road.
“Alice, sweetheart, what on earth are you doing here at this time. Come in” Jessica’s mother opened the door further, jestering for me to enter.
“Where on earth are your parents, it’s so late you shouldn’t be walking around on your own”
I smiled and laughed nervously.
Of course I didn’t tel her I snuck out, but simply that they had dropped me off late because of a church thing we had going on. Jessica’s family were not religious so I knew she wouldn’t ask questions.
“Oh, I see, so where are they now? Did they just swing by?” She seemed to ask more questions than I was hoping her too.
I gave a nod insinuating her answer, or question, was correct.
I was full of excitement now. I had made it and it had been 10 minuets since I left, and no parents came knocking.
The night started normally, we played truth or dare, and done shots of sneaky vodka every time someone failed to do their dare. It was so much fun. Then Jessica pulled out her blackberry and showed us the messages between her and Mike. They were girlfriend and boyfriend now, and since Jessica had just turns 16 they wanted to take it to the next level.
If you get my drift.
As the night went on I was amazed by everything I was missing out on, internet wise.
The girls spoke about Facebook, BBBM, MySpace and more. I was so embarrassed that I didn’t know what they were referring too.
“Alice, how do you actually cope with no phone, like I’d die. Like do your parents hate you that much?” All the girls sniggered under their sleeping bags.
My cheeks turns red with a embarrassment. I’d never liked Chloe, but now I hated her even more. Why do girls feel the need to make their supposed friends nervous, on edge or just plain right awkward.
I laughed along like I was in on the joke, but really I was the joke.
I explained that my parents were catholic and they thought the internet would rust my pure child brain.
“They said when I turn 18 I’ll be allowed to make my own decisions, but for now I’m only 15, and that’s just the rules”. I said to the group, trying to justify my parents actions.
“Well it’s stupid, who the hell believe in God now a days anyway” Chloe said whilst looking at the other girls for approval, the girls let out a loud laugh once again.
She had taken it too far now. Jessica looked over to me with wide eyes, I think she could tell I felt unwanted and was upset by the comments towards me.
Jessica stood up and asked me if I could help her get some snacks from the kitchen.
We got some more nibbles but before going back into the room Jessica told me she wanted e to sleep next to her and gave me a tight hug.
That’s why she was my best friend. She knew when I hurt and when I was happy, to be quite honest I didn’t think she even liked Chloe.
I think the only reason she was there was because her parents were very close friends with Chloes parents so they kind of had to be friends.
The whole night I was waiting for my parents to know at the door, but they didn’t.
Half way through the sleepover I needed the toilet. I noticed one right near the front door as I came in, so off I went.
I didn’t realise a short trip to the toilet would change my life as I knew it.
To get to the front door you have to pass the living room, the living room didn’t have a door, just a entrance way.
Jessica’s mother was sat on the main sofa, her back facing the living room entrance.
As I was walking past I noticed she was watching the news, I hadn’t ever seen the news but I had guessed it was the news because there was a woman standing outside with a microphne taking to the camera about a missing persons case.
I was intrigued, so I stood behind the wall peeking through to see what it was all about.
“Thank you Samantha, what a sad case that turley is. We hope that Timmy is found soon and is returned safely. If you have any further information please contact” the man on the TV told the viewers what numbers to contact.
As I was about to go to the destination I had original planned, something caught my attention.
“This case replays something in my mind, and it has in many people’s minds” the news presenter went on to explain the case of a girl called Lucy who went missing 13 years ago.
It was such a sad story.
Then her mother came on screen.
I was puzzled by what I had seen. The woman on screen looked so familiar to me, like I had seen her before.
Shockingly enough, she really looked like me, like literally just an older version of myself.
For some reason I felt the need to listen longer.
“Lucy if you are out there, or you’re alive, please contact me. You were only young when you were taken from me, I pray to god you’re safe, loved and happy” she went on crying uncontrollably.
Then on screen was a picture of a 2 year old girl.
I fell back in shock.
It was me.
I studied the picture for as long as I could to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.
The girl on screen looked exactly like me, everything down to the T. She even had my mole on my left cheek.
I stood in utter shock.
Tears rushing down my face.
I had never thought about it until now but neither my mother or father resembled me, or should I say I didn’t resemble them.
Just the same old brown coloured hair. That’s it.
I don’t why but I started to feel like something was wrong.
I felt like what I was hearing and seeing was my reality.
My stomach started to turn, my tongue started to swell in the back of my throat.
I ran to the toilet and threw up the crisps and popcorn I had consumed just moments before.
What on earth was happening to me?
Who was that lady I so recognised?
Who am I?
Who are my parents?
I made my way back to Jessica’s room. Half the girls were asleep by now but Jessica was waiting for me to get back.
“What on earth took you so long” Jessica said as she chucked her blackberry onto her bed.
She stood up and walked over the sea of sleeping bag, and looked at me intensely.
“What’s wrong Alice?”
I played my fingers between one another and I hug my head low, looking at nothing but my bare feet.
With tears in my eyes I looked up at Jessica and something inside me told me this wasn’t right, but I done it anyway.
“Jess, I think I was kidnapped”.