A reflection

photoShadow Tree Silhouette. The shadow of a tree reflected on a wall of a building on the National Mall in the sunset light.  H/t  the duke in japan

A reflection: I was looking at the bedroom wall last night – as I lay in bed – and on it was a lighted up reflection of the window facing opposite. It was a surreal sight. The silhouette branches of a tree outside were swaying gently to and fro on the ‘reflected’ wall window. It looked magical. Not only had I one window to look out at the moon, but another one that lit up the dead centre of a wall and gave off a delightful glow.

Well – for a while anyway. That was until my mind was suddenly transported back to Goldenbridge industrial *school*, and the Sacred Heart wet-the-bed dormitory. I saw a re-occurring image of a long window with four panes of glass, that looked out onto the convent orchard, and the branches of the tree that always swayed at the dead of night during cold stormy winter weather. As child lying cold in my iron bed – covered in a grey army blanket with holes – the shadow of the tree reflected on the window panes used to frighten me a lot. I also thought of another inmate who used to sleep-walk in the dormitory.

However, one memory that never fails to leave me cold, is the image of small children being woken up – by tired-out hostile staff in long dressing-gowns – at 2am every night and made go to the three tiny loos at the end of the dormitory. The staff screamed and roared and rushed and pushed the tiny children along the urine drenched floor. ‘Get a move on! Stop dilly-dallying will ye, for crying out loud.’ The crying voices of children echoed throughout the long Victorian dormitory. The half-dazed tiny tots were forced to sit two to a tiny loo to speed up the whole process. Children were beside themselves with fear. The floor was always flooded in urine. The lavatory system could not handle the amount of flushing. Children with gooey-running eyes subsequently slipped on the urine flooded floors. The bullying and yelling of the staff was so uncalled for, as it was clear that the children were traumatised with being suddenly aroused and roared at by cruel staff. There was no such thing as toilet paper, so the walls were covered in excrement. Life in Goldenbridge was one big drama scene after the other. The following morning the same children – who were dragged to the loos, were up in front of the head-honcho nun for a flogging for having wet the bed. The Sacred-Heart dormitory was the pits. I hated sleeping there with a venom. As an older girl I was sent to sleep there by Sr. F. for having being found in Carmel playing a pretended scene from a fairy tale. I was called out of my bed in Carmel .

I then found my bearings, and was back again in the bedroom at Donnybrook, with the warm amber glowing reflected window, and the gentle swaying of the branches.


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