Participants in the Stories of Care creative writing project responded creatively to stories about 18th and 19th century Foundling Hospital pupils. Here is AC’s creative writing inspired by the story of Ann Watson, titled ‘My Adventure’. You can also watch a video of AC reading their piece at our showcase below.
Taking a couple baby steps, I heard a loud slam from behind, this was it I was free, but what was freedom? All I ever knew was a number, not even a name, but that number wasn’t even mine anymore. Feeling lost, I continued onwards cautiously and feeling very lost, consumed by all my thoughts, but this was it, the start of my new adventure, the start of me having a family again.
As I walked down the dark and dampened path I could feel the water sloshing back and forth within my soles, my teeth chattering and the bitterness of the morning’s early hours creeping in. I would tell myself in my head to just keep going, after all I’d been used to poor living conditions all my life. I carried on until I found a large tree to shelter under until sunrise. I was petrified but it was the best option for me.
After two treacherous days of fighting my way through all sorts of weather conditions and all sorts of emotional and physical pain, I was so close to giving up on my adventure. I found an old shelter cover and decided to bed down for the night. I don’t remember much more of the night, it was all a blur. Assuming I’d passed out from extreme exhaustion, when I woke up at 5am the next morning I grasped onto my doll and tried to set off again.
My doll was special, it was the only thing my mum left for me 17 years ago when she left me at the Hospital. It was my only companion, my only hope and my only reassurance that one day we’d be back together. Suddenly, something caught my attention. A shadow, I thought I was alone? Maybe just a tree blowing in a light direction I thought to myself, but as I closed my eyes and told myself over and over it was just tiredness, I felt a cold and boney hand upon my right shoulder.
I slowly opened my eyes and turned around, terrified as sweat dripped down my neck and my nobbly knees shook. He introduced himself as Mr Blonen. After chatting for a while, I told him what I was doing out here alone. He offered to help me cross the now close-by river to Sierra Leone. I couldn’t understand why a complete stranger was being so kind, let alone why he had a name and I didn’t, but despite all this I cautiously accepted.
After what felt like forever, the boat docked at the edge of a seemly abandoned town in Sierra Leone. I thanked the man and hugged him out of an urge to show how grateful I was. After al,l this was the first time I’d truly been helped. Now in my final destination I walked around for a bit trying to find help, but as it went, no one could be found. I was so exhausted and every part of my puny body hurt but I wandered on with my mind filled with thoughts, excitement and apprehension. I was so confused about why my life looked so different to Mr Blonen’s? Why did he have an identity and I didn’t? How did he know where I’d be? Why was he being so kind? I approached a quiet street that appeared abandoned, one foot after another I made my way down the cobbled path, my feet red raw and bleeding, soaking wet and freezing cold. Then suddenly a women’s voice quietly from about a mile behind me. ANN? I once again slowly turned to see a random woman now facing me. It took me a minute to realise what was happening, but then gazing into her eyes I seemed to recall a memory, a very faded one but a memory, then I knew it was her, it was my mum. I’d travelled so far and been through 17 years of pain and suffering to get here today but here I am once again finally in my mum’s arms being held so tightly.
This last week has been so much to handle both physically and emotionally, I’ve not only been on an adventure myself but I’ve also learnt a lot that I wouldn’t have had a clue about coming from inside the Foundling Hospital. But anyway, time for new beginnings and hopefully a happy future. I am writing this with a massive grin on my face and knowing I am one of the luckiest 17-year-olds in the world.
This is my adventure and my story,