Participants in the Stories of Care creative writing project responded creatively to stories about 18th and 19th century Foundling Hospital pupils. Here is Helal’s creative writing titled ‘Dreaming’. You can also watch a video of Helal performing their piece at our showcase.

Dreaming

It’s been 20 years since I left the Hospital and I still feel like it was yesterday. The time has gone so quickly. I can’t believe I am not in the Hospital, and I achieved all my goals.

I am 4253. My life starts in Foundling Hospital in London.

Every day I wake up in the same bed with the same people in the room. I don’t see anything new and I’m hoping for a new life, hoping to leave this place one day and be with my family. But do I have a family? All I do is think about my future, thinking about what will happen to me. Will somebody come to meet me? That’s what I think about all day.

Working in the garden with other boys and girls in here who are in a similar situation to me. They also don’t have anyone, just like me, waiting for their family and hoping that one day somebody will come to visit them.

At night when I can’t sleep, I talk to 444, my teddy bear. Since I don’t have a name, I named him 444, similar to mine. 444 is the only thing that I have since I am in this Hospital, the only thing that I share my feelings with. When I’m sad, I cry with 444. When I am angry, I fight with 444 because I don’t have anyone without 444. He is my brother, my sister, my best friend, my mom, my dad and my everyone.

444, I always I am talking to you about things like: what if I lose you, if people see me talking to you they might think I am crazy. But they don’t know you’re my everything. Do you think I am crazy?

I know you can’t answer my questions and you can’t talk but I wish you could to me once. You know talking to you make me feel good. Promise me you will never leave me alone.

I have been here for more than 10 years. I have two best friends now: 4152 and 4154.

4152 is a boy and 4154 is a girl. I have known these two since I came to the Hospital. We spent time together and then we became friends.

We share everything with each other, we trust each other a lot and we always talk about the future: that when we grow older, we will live together and enjoy our life. We are dreaming of moving to Australia.

I think I am in love with 4154. If I don’t see her every day, I feel like I have lost something; I feel like I am lost and my eyes are just looking for her. I don’t know if it’s love or not, but I care about her more than myself.

I do care about 4152, but 4154 is special. I don’t know why. I always wonder what I am going to do if I lose the two most important people in my life.

It’s our 14th birthday in two days. I don’t know what is going to happen.

The staff members told us that we are going to get separated from each other. We are going to a new place and working with new people. We are going to have a new family because we are 14 years old now. So we have to leave and work.

I am lost!

I don’t know what to do, and I can’t even imagine a minute without 4152 and 4154. But I am sure that’s not the end of my journey with them; we promise that we will live together one day.

Today is the day that we are leaving and going to start our new life.

We plan to meet in front of the Hospital in one year’s time on the same date as today.

I arrive in my new place, and I am going to work as a gardener. I don’t know what are they doing and what is their job.

The work in here is difficult and the food is not good, but I don’t have any option. I have to work.

It’s been a few days. I don’t know how my friends are and what are they doing.

One year later…

I am going to run away tonight and meet my best friends and I am so excited.

I was able to run away and I am waiting in the park near to the Hospital, can’t wait to see them. I think I am the first one here because I can’t see anyone here…

It’s been three days. I am still waiting. No one showed up yet. I don’t know if they are coming or not.

I have lost my hope. I don’t know what to do. I am sleeping in the park, and I am running out of money. I need to leave here soon.

I booked a ticket for myself because I can’t wait anymore. I must leave and go alone.

I must pretend that I am with one of the families in the ship and try not to look suspicious to get to Australia.

I made it to Australia. It’s been 20 years since I arrived here and I found work. I went to university and now I am a writer.

My first piece of writing got published last week and I had an event yesterday about my book. The name of my book is “Achieving Dreams”.

One of the people working in the event told me that somebody wants to see me.

I see the same beautiful smile, the shiny eyes that I remember from 21 years ago. But they are in the face of a child. And the people carrying the child are 4152 and 4154: my best friend and the girl that I love. I am happy that I met them again and they are happy and fine. But the only thing that hurts is seeing the girl that I love with someone else.

I am not sad, but I am asking myself why I never told her about my feelings. I only want her to be happy and I know nobody can make her happy more than 4152.

Now I am happy that I achieved my dreams and I got my friends back.

Find out more about the Stories of Care writing project

Copyright © CoramCoram licenses the writer’s text under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 (CC BY-NC).