Like a rat up a drainpipe, I shot oot that school gate lik’ the devil was on mah tail. This wasnae mah gig, an’ ah wasnae unpacking. If ah was gonnae engage in education anywhere, it wasnae here. Ah totally had the fear, an’ the battle lines between me and mah maw were drawn. Day in, day oot, ah was frogmarched through the gate. Opposing the forces at play, ah shot right back oot it.
'Get back here!' Gangly Gibson with the protruding teeth stomped a path towards me.
'It’s no happenin!'
'Come at me tin-opener teeth ya absolute howler!'
Gibson snatched mah arm. In the tussle she somersaulted backside over elbow an’ splattered spread-eagled on the concourse lik’ an upturned turtle.
Thirteen years an’ a prolific school-refuser, ah was a gob on legs wi’ a tongue that held enough spark tae light a match. Filter less, mah thoughts tripped out mah mouth. Focused and fearless, ah thought they were justified. If there was ever a Holy Grail ae rebellion, then ah wrote the book. Defiance, not compliance that was mah motto, there was no taming this free spirit. Why, because ah matter.
'School…, or ah’ll get the jail!' mah maw was at her wits end.
'Orite Greta Garbo…, curb yir melodramatics!'
At war wi’ society, ah rolled wi’ mah posse, much tae her disapproval. Ah wasnae caring, they were mah pals, ah was accepted an’ ready tae roll wi’ whatever.
Pals or nae pals, ah was a one wuman yippin’, chippin’ nightmare. Regarded the family disappointment, ah acknowledged ah was an organic pain in society’s rectum, but debated ah was a product ae the soil she’d fertilised me in.
The day the Polis chapped, her mania skyrocketed.
'Get yir carcass tae school!' PC Bobbin roared on his unannounced visit, 'yer maw’s demented wi ye!'
Blanking him, ah gaped oot the windae an’ scanned the expanse of Jubilee Crescent.
'Whit’s she doin’?' he squinted.
'Lookin’ for who asked you!'
'Shift yirsel’ lady!'
'Eh, that’ll be a naw ya absolute fraggle!
Faking bravado, I darted away an’ locked myself in the lavvy as Bobbin pounded the hallway in hot pursuit.
'Ya cheeky wee….. !'
'Gon yirsel’ ya mutant!' I called fae mah hideout, 'remove your boggin’ breath fae mah maws keyhole wi’ immediacy, it reeks like a hogs butt!'
Shots fired, the stench of fear rose as Bobbin and mah maw battered the door dementedly.
'Sorry officer!' mah maw squirmed, 'ah’m affronted wi’ her!'
'And thar she blows in 3-2-1…, gon’ yirsel’ maw!'
'Your jaikets on a shoogly peg!' she went from a steady simmer to near explosion in point four of a millisecond, hammerin’ the door lik’ a wuman possessed.
'Hawd yirsel’ together!' I cranked it up a gear, the door bolt ensuring mah safety, 'yir embarrasin’ yirsel’ in front ae the constabulary!'
A stilled silence ensued as the stand-off continued.
'She’s disturbed!' mah maw sighed.
'Aye…...pot, kettle hen!'
'Well, yir brothers no lik’ that!'
'Aye, ah’m totally killin’ the whole family disappointment thing!'
The rebellion held out as Bobbin admitted defeat when his radio crackled, an’ his Gaffer ordered him elsewhere. Nane the less, rebel was trending, an’ like an infection, ah took hold.
Exiting mah hideout, ah prepared for the onslaught. In an ugly incident, if looks could have killed, ah was a goner. No the height ae nonsense but famed for her signature daggers, mah maw drew her eyes aff me, the look penetrating my soul.
'An’ that’ll no be happenin’!' I winked.
'Naw…., tally-ho maw!'
'You’re a pure riot!' ma posse chuckled as ah relayed rebel events.
Ah was a complex kid but so was mah fear. Life had torn cracks in mah maw cos ae her poor choices and she wasnae getting away wi’ tearing any more cracks in mine. A victim ae circumstance, mah rebellion rose fae frustration from our midnight flit tae Edinburgh, and being catapulted without warning, intae a life ah didnae fit intae. Mah broad Glaswegian accent made me the subject ae ridicule. So did the clothing grant shoes and jacket, indicating ah was a welfare wean, that made me the subject ae playground humiliation. They were bouffin’, they compromised mah dignity, an’ ah wasnae wearing them.
Wi’ the dreaded chap fae Peacock, the Education Welfare Officer, trouble brewed. An imposing character, he terrorised weans, no this wean though. The standoff continued until he put me before the Children’s Hearing.
Sat in silence, the glare of the opposition was slicing.
'Awkward!' I blurted out amid disbelieving gasps.
'Show some respect!' the bigwig peered over his spectacles.
'Bolt you ya fossil!'
Fit to explode, mah maw feigned patience, well she had tae, there were too many witnesses.
'You poor woman!' the bigwig sniffed.
'Hawd on…, how’s she the victim…, ye havnae asked mah side ae the story!'
'Just go to school!'
'Aye… so an’ ah will!'
Losing the battle, a Compulsory Supervision Order was imposed and ah was appointed a fangly dangly Social Worker. Let me tell ye, that was never gonnae work. Somethin’ in mah soul cried an’ ah rose in resistance.
'Ram yir Social Worker, ya bampot!'
Ah didnae fit intae the new world, an’ they wernae gonnae make me.
Life never gave me lemons, it turned me upside down an’ smacked mah backside, leavin’ scars naebody noticed. Social Worker or no, ah never returned tae school. It’s changed days though. Although the hardliner rebel still bubbles within, ah turned failure intae success, an’ made peace wi’ mah demons. A practicing Social Worker, ah support weans lik’ ah was, the difference, these weans have a voice.
Lookin’ back, mah maw had her misgivings, but so did ah. Throughout the battles, her patience was commendable. What she didnae see was that ah had inherited her fighting spirit.
All misrepresented rebels, salute yirself’s, live fast, rebel hard, regret nowt an’ stand up for what ye believe in, even if yir standin’ alone. Why, because ye matter!