By Joe Peters
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Extra resources for Cry Silent Tears
He’s not good enough for a room of his own. ’ They were happy to oblige, kicking and punching me all the way up the stairs before pushing me into their bedroom. The house was four storeys high, as tall as a tower to a small, frightened boy. It had a railway line running directly beside it, the trains making the sturdy walls tremble every time they rattled past. I crouched by the window, shaking, and gradually my fear was turning to anger. The only thing I wanted was to see my dad again and the frustration at not being able to do that was building inside my head like a volcano waiting to erupt.
It was soon after this event that Marie sat me down and explained to me about the root of the problems between Mum and Dad. First of all, she told me that Mum (whose name was Lesley) came from a very strict family. Her father was in the army and her mother, a factory worker, had been a strict disciplinarian at home, so Mum must have thought it was normal to bully and beat up children. Maybe she thought that was how all children were brought up. As Marie spoke, I remembered the times I’d visited my grandmother’s house with my older brothers.
He had never had to raise his hand to me in my whole life because I never gave him cause to. I would have followed him to the ends of the earth and never questioned a single thing he told me to do. Through the windscreen I watched Dad lying down on the greasy garage floor in his overalls like I’d seen him do a hundred times before and sliding under the car to see if he could spot where the petrol was leaking from. It was just another normal day at work for all of them. I heard the phone in the office ringing, the giant bell in the workshop going off like a fire alarm to make sure that it could always be heard above the revving of engines and the clanking of tools.