Ever since I was a young child, I adored reading, as I do now, sometimes more than my own life. I would sit in the dreary classroom of Rossgate Primary School, at break and lunch, immobile whilst reading. Everyone else was out playing blind man’s bluff, tag or some other childish and brutal game, yet I would read the kind-hearted pages of the thing I craved… an escape from my lonely and soul destroying childhood. When I reached the place I can only describe as a house, because it was definitely not a home, I would not be able to bring out a book. I would get my older sister to read to me at bedtime and then move further myself into the infatuating storyline under the duvet with a torch once she had gone into her own dream filled slumber.
My sister and I were utterly dissimilar, but we shared a room. Small and shabby, the room had a squeaky bunk bed taking up the majority of the limited space. In the corner, there was a dirty bean bag chair that we used to battle to sit on. Against the wall, underneath the window, the bag sat like a drunken slob, with Styrofoam leaking out of the side like blood from a wound. It was an obscure burgundy colour that had a brown muddy tinge that smelt nauseating, but it was one of the only safe havens within our bleak and less than innocent lives. Plus there was the fact I would sit almost anywhere, including a haystack of used heroin needles if needed, if it meant I could read.
When my sister was out with her friends, I would take the rare opportunity to sit in the clammy broken bag, and look through my vast collection of ‘Rainbow Magic’ books. The front covers were atrociously girly, glittery and generally pink or purple, which I hated. I used to tear the front covers off or wrap them in black card.I was there for the story and the story only. As soon as I turned the page my world was transformed completely. From the words and letters on those crisp yellow pages, I would be transported into another person’s life and leave my monotonous reality of school, hideous bullies and an intensely depressed mother, behind.
My family wasn’t one of the closest, particularly when it came to nurturing good habits such as reading or writing, and I knew better than to ask my mum to read to me. Down from my bunk I would carefully climb, to snuggle up to my sister once the noises of glass bottles clinking, and my mother’s perpetual drunken singing downstairs, had stopped. Reaching for one of the books off the book shelf that was hanging on to the wall as if its life depended on it, my sister would read to me in her special voice. Her voice would have had me captivated for hours, if she hadn’t refused to read for more than half an hour. Were it possible, I would have sat for days, under a blanket, and read book after miraculous book with her. The fact that someone’s voice,my sister’s voice, was able to create feelings and visions just as a film or a TV could. It enraptured me, and I couldn’t get enough of it.
Princesses never engrossed me, nor did the sparkles. It wasn’t the fact that the characters were beguiling or magical, because from a young age I knew that magic was just a fairy tale told to try and keep us children quiet and busy. The fact was that someone on the other side of the country, or even the world, who I would never be able to see or meet, could make pictures dance across my mind in such a way that it would produce pure happiness in my unpretentious little mind. When I found out the author’s name was Daisy Meadows, her first name rhyming with mine, I was besotted with her books instantly, even if they were pink. I could forgive femininity for her talent with words, and a piece of black card.
Most people read in a certain voice. Usually it’s in the accent that you speak, or if you imagine a character to have a certain accent. For me, it is in my sister’s voice. Even if I’m reading game of thrones or Stephen king books, it always warms my heart. She may be far away now, but her voice lives within my little head.