Monday, 13 June 2011

The Perfect Childhood

She did not look like anybodies mother; she didn't appear to have the time. Her neat pin striped suits were always pristine; not a hair, not a speck of dust would dare settle, the sharp pleats were always immaculate. The caustic blonde hair and red fingernails were not made for mothering. And she commanded those around her with a steely determination. Always proclaiming she had the most demanding of standards, that she could never tolerate fools, which sort of ended his relationship with his mother. (He only realised, years later, that this was just an excuse for bullying and even the most skilled of staff quickly moved on.)

He wasn't sure when he realised he was a trophy child. Something to be occasionally shown off, in appropriate company, then hidden away upstairs and out of sight. Something to be paraded in the sterile downstairs rooms when absolutely necessary. Then rapidly bundled off to the next underpaid girl in a stream ever changing nannies.

Had she ever wanted him? Even now he dare not ask.

There were no proper photos of him and his mother, not what you would call family snaps. All he had were cuttings from the Sunday magazine business sections and articles filled with glowing, supine reports of the feminist business executive mixing family life with a high profile financial career.

He half remembered the scene: his nanny carefully inspecting him for the merest transferable stain, being tentatively positioned upon his mother's lap, the photographer encouraging, his mother unsure how to hold him, and being whisked away moments later – just in case. All for the perfect glossy family portrait.

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