The Girl Without a Voice by Casey Watson

The Girl Without a Voice by Casey Watson

Author:Casey Watson
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Published: 2014-05-11T16:00:00+00:00

Chapter 13

What was it about Gerri Hinchcliffe? The question vexed me. She had been unfailingly nice, unfailingly polite, unfailingly … what? Unfailingly correct. Yes, that was probably the word for it. Correct, neat and tidy – if a touch Stepford-Wifey – and though self-pitying enough to be ever so slightly irritating, not so much that I felt justified in holding it against her. After all, she had never even been ‘the other woman’ in this scenario. She hadn’t ‘stolen’ Imogen’s dad away from her mother, as Imogen herself might have seen it. She had just walked into an already unhappy family situation. Imogen’s mother had left her father long before.

Of course, it could have been that, unbeknown to everyone, she’d been having an affair with him all along, but the facts didn’t fit and, well, even if they had, it wasn’t for me to pass judgement on Imogen’s father’s love life, was it? My role was quite specific but at the same time quite general: to try and help children to reach a place where they could thrive in their new circumstances, whatever they were. And there were many children in situations like Imogen’s, after all.

Oh, but what was it about Gerri Hinchcliffe? It was a question I took home with me and pondered all that evening, eventually falling into a fitful, erratic sleep; periods of wakefulness punctuated by half-realised dreams involving wicked step-mothers, witches and other fairy-tale staples, all of which berated me for venturing opinions about them – damned if you do, as Gerri Hinchcliffe had said, and damned if you don’t.

It was almost four in the morning when it hit me. I’d woken up for what must have been the third or fourth time, and turned over, as I habitually did, to see what the time was, so I could calculate what the chances were of getting back to sleep before the alarm put an end to it either way.

The display read 03.57, glowing red in the darkness, emitting enough light to illuminate something else. It was as familiar a thing to me as everything else in my bedroom – a double photo-frame I’d had sitting there for quite a few years now, from which Kieron, to the left, and Riley, to the right, grinned goofy, self-conscious school-photo smiles.

I’d bought the frame years back – and chosen the photos to go in it – to take away on a residential course with me, back when I was working with vulnerable young people. It had been a big thing for me, going away on that week-long course, because it was the first time I’d spent so long away from my children since either had been born.

I looked at the kids’ faces now, in the darkness, and that was when it hit me. That was the thing about Gerri Hinchcliffe, I decided. That in her home – in the home she shared with Imogen’s dad – I didn’t see a single photograph of Imogen.



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