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It's nearly Christmas. It feels such a long time ago Saint Nicholas arrived with his steamship. I watched him on television. He looks friendly, doesn't scare me it is just I don't like to talk to him. I am not sure if he likes to know how I feel. Perhaps he does. They say he knows everything. It's all written in his book. A thick red book. It's always with him. If the Saint knows how I feel how come he never mentions it and he asks me how I am doing. I know it is not good to lie and that is why I say nothing. It is better not to speak the truth. People don't like it if you speak out. So I keep my mouth shut and hide and if I cannot hide I just look, look from a distance. As I was smaller I hid behind the curtain. They are long and soft and feel warm. My mother never said I am not allowed to sit there. Perhaps she doesn't know or is glad she doesn't need to see me. She doesn't like it if I look at her. She says she can see what I think but what I think she doesn't tell me. She just slaps me into my face after she said that. Not once but several times.
I don't believe she will ever like me and stop. She will never stop hitting me.
If she does I see Monty our dog look. I am not sure if he looks at her or me. She doesn't hit him though just me.
It's Sunday and there isn't much to do. We stay home because my mother needs to work. She always work.
The Christmas tree looks nice with all the lights on, the silver balls and I can smell it. If it's dark outside the 'Star of Betlehem' burns. I don't think wise men will knock at our door and if my mother will send them away. She doesn't like unexpected visitors.
December 20, 2020
Monday... There's no school I have vacation but have to be out of bed at 5:30 a.m. I am not allowed to sleep longer.
It's cold, my skin feels itchy and I have stiff fingers. They are red and I try to move them.
Last night I was not right to my bed. Perhaps my parents forgot or they no longer care if I scratch. I scratch anyway. The blanket feels itchy. I don't like it but the sheet smells nice. I hope my mother won't see the blood spats. It will make her furious again. The rest of the day she will keep me busy, give me tasks to do. Perhaps I have time to read my book if she leaves.
The shoes are waiting to be polished and I need to set the table for breakfast. My dad is at home. Perhaps he gives a hand or hides again? He hasn't much time for me lately. He is busy, everybody is busy. There is no time to play.
December 21, 2020
My mother is angry and my dad is angry too. I think he is angry although he never shouts.
It is about the family. Who to visit when. My mother says they don't like her and it's a waste of her time. My father says it's only once a year. I try to make no sound and stay in my room. The book is on my lap but it is hard to read if my mother yells and screams.
I hope she will leave and the neighbours will not complain.
The front door slammed. I don't know who left. I listened if I hear the car leave. I can recognize the sound of our car and hear it if it's at the start of our street. I always can no matter where I am in our house. If I recognize the sound I know my mother will be home soon.
I wait, listen, keep my book open but it remains silent.
December 22, 2020
There's someone in my room. If I wake up in the middle of the night he stands at the end of my bed. He waits and I wonder why. I say it's a he but I am not sure. I never saw a face and we do not speak but I think it's a man because he is tall. He waits and is dressed in black. Black is a good colour if you do not want people to see you that easily. I like dark colours too but I don't have black clothes except the dress for Christmas. It's black and sometimes I have a dark blue one. The cloth is soft.
He makes me feel save. He wasn't always there but now he is. I think he is a friend. With him around I can sleep.
I don't have friends you know. Francois isn't really my friend and Louis doesn't play with me but I like him. His brother is nice to me too but I never been at their place. I was at Francoise's home and visited Caroline. She lives far away. Perhaps she is a friend. Her mother is nice and so is her dad. He is milkman and delivers milk at people their homes. Her granddad lives next door and I saw him too. There is a door inside the house which you can use to visit him but he is outside with his rabbits most of the time. He likes rabbits and carrots. He has a field of carrots they are white. I never saw white carrots. Caroline gave me one. She took it out of the soil and I ate it. It tasted strange.
December 23, 2020
Tonight we go to church. I do not like to go to church in the middle of the night. Someone made this up and now all people go to church? Over there are too many people. People I don't know and most of them never visit the church. Why tonight? It's cold outside, the wind blows and I only have a dress. It's easy for boys. They wear trousers.
Inside the church, it is cold too. I am always shivering. People wear their coats, hats, gloves and scarfs.
My dad says I have to go to bed early and he will wake me up. Early? What does that mean? I always go early to bed. My parents don't like to have me around.
I don't like it if anyone wakes me up. I am tired and I wish I could sleep for a hundred years just like the sleeping beauty. She is lucky. I don't care if I don't wake up. I don't need a print, I don't want to be a princess. The only thing I want is to sleep in peace and not being tired.
December 24, 2020
It's Christmas but nothing changed. My mother says she wants to eat in a restaurant but we go to my grandmother and my aunt will be there too. If we go to a restaurant my dad calls them. If we go we go to Plaswijck. The food is good. I am never ill if I eat at that restaurant. My parents are not a good company and don't talk to me but I can choose what I like to eat. At times it is boring being there because I am not allowed to speak and I have to sit still and straight up. Some children play or are underneath the table. I watch them.
First I have to help cleaning the house. After that we have breakfast. My mother set the table and there's a bread she calls "clChristmashristmas-stoll". I don't like bread with stuff in it. The raisins en green en red pieces she calls "succades". It tastes weird and leaves green and red colour behind on the bread. I don't want it. I only like the almond paste inside of it. I take the rolls with the tiny black seeds on top. It's good enough. I like those seeds.
We have to take the car to visit my granny. The dogs sit in the back and are not happy. They smell and it stinks. It takes long before we arrive and I feel car sick. The car smells too. I try not to vomit because it will make my mother angry. My dad tied me at the backseat which makes me feel miserable too.
I am not sure if my granny is happy to see us. Grandpa... he died. Now she lives alone in the big house. I think she likes it now she is the boss and can do as she likes. My aunt arrives later and my mother is angry with her and with my dad. I don't know why because I left. I want to find grandpa and hear him play the trumpet but he isn't there. There are only three photos of him. One is as he was young. It is at my granny's side table.
We will stay the night at my granny's home. My room is on the ceiling. I have to walk three stairs to get there. No one sleeps there and there's no heater but I like the room, the small window in the roof and the bed. The bed is old. The mattress is filled with seagrass and there are no blankets but there's a duvet with kapok. If I lay underneath and pull it over my head no one can see I am in it. The bed is nice and warm. If I stay with my granny I don't need to wake up at 5:30 a.m. I don't need to help her and my mother leaves me alone most of the time.
We had vegetable soup and goose for dinner. After dinner, my mother read something in my granny's Bible. She has two. One to use and the other one is in a copper box. It's the one the church gave her as she got married. I only saw it once. There are locks on it. My aunt sneaked into my room and told me a story about the three piglets. I like her but she looks sad, sad and scared.