He remembered his first Mum and Dad.

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Copyright © 2008, Michael M Wayman

It was time to get a new Mum and Dad. He had reached 21 again, for perhaps the sixth time in his life. He did not want to go beyond it yet. So he left. He didn't say goodbye, he never did, he just took a train to another town.

He remembered his first Mum and Dad. He had lived in a home for orphans until he was sixteen. He knew that he had a hole in his life, probably a big hole. He could not see it or see into it, but just feel round the edges, which he saw on TV and at school. He saw families on TV, people with Mums and Dads, people with sons and daughters; the other kids at school talked about Mums and Dads.

Why did he not have Mums and Dads? That was the hole. Was what he saw on TV real? Did the other kids lie? He did not know.

He left the home when he was sixteen and got a job in another town as a carpenter's assistant. He rented a small room from a married couple. She did cleaning for other people in the morning and her husband was the caretaker at a local school. They had no children and he got mothered.

This is no surprise for you, but it was for him. He found it wonderful. She cooked for him, washed and mended his clothes. He went for long walks with the husband. The two of them always wanted to know what he had done that day. He found it wonderful.

The job was bad, he was not learning much, certainly nothing about carpentry, the others gave him boring things to do and made fun of him because he was so young. He was getting younger.

He chucked the job and stayed at home with Mum and Dad. Mum and Dad were very pleased – a son at last. He grew younger and younger, he was twelve for two years and then he started to get older again.

He could not forget the first Christmas, all the lovely presents, best of all the model railway. He put the whole of the Christmas with the tree and all its decorations into the hole. No problem, it all went in easily, but it did not fill the hole. He and Dad played with the railway on the living room floor for weeks.

Big change – someone in the neighbourhood opened their mouth – he had to go to school. It was completely different, he had a Mum and a Dad, he was a real person now.

Time went by, he finished school and got a job, found a girlfriend, even got engaged. Alarm bells! What was wrong? He did not know. The hole was still there. He panicked and left in a rush, he did not say goodbye.

He went to another town and walked about. It was the end of the school day, the parents were waiting and he walked past. He noticed that one couple waited and waited but no child came; they went. The next day was the same. He waited until the last kid came out of the school and he ran towards the couple.

You're late again. I suppose the teacher held you back to give you a good talking to. You didn't do your homework again. Am I right? Yes, of course I am.

Oh, Mum. Say something nice to me! Are you going to cook something nice for me? What's on TV tonight?

Mum cooked something nice for him, she always did, he was her son after all. Dad never said anything much, especially if Mum was there. But Dad did take him fishing. It was so good to be with Mum and Dad.

Time went by, he finished school and got a job, found a girlfriend, even got engaged. Alarm bells! What was wrong? He did not know. The hole was still there. He panicked and left in a rush, he did not say goodbye.

He went to another town and walked about.

No, they were not Mum and Dad, certainly not. And he was not their son. They were middle class and had ideas about railway stations. They were Mother and Father and they had always wanted a daughter. Yes, and they wanted to start at the beginning.

He started as a helpless baby girl and had a lot of fun as a girl. More stuff to put in the hole. He decided however that being a girl was something you do once in your life.

Time went by, as you know.

I got off the bus somewhere. Where am I? No idea! Some town I had never been to before. It's OK.

I had gone too far. I did not stop at 21 like I usually do. No, I just let it carry on. I got a job and better still a daughter-in-law for Mum and Dad. Were they pleased! And even better – two grandchildren, a girl and a boy. Mum and Dad were so pleased to be Grandma and Grandpa. And that it where it went wrong.

What had Mum and Dad wanted? A son or a daughter, or both. What did Mum and Dad want now? A grandson or a granddaughter, or both. Oh, they were so happy with the two grandchildren and so was the daughter-in-law. I was not needed any more. No one spoke to me any more, not even the kids. I noticed that everywhere I went in the house was darkness and silence.

I did not leave. No, today when I took the bus to come home from the office, I took the wrong bus and stayed on it without thinking about it. And here I am.

But I am happy now, because I am complete. On the outside I have completely nothing, just the clothes I'm wearing and maybe some money. On the inside however I am complete. How do I know this? Am I whole again?

I have learnt in life not to ask questions – you only get silly answers. And I have stopped asking questions.

Have you read red wash and odd wrong sequence?