After two years at college, Laura was in Tenerife for exam result day, having arranged for results to be posted home.
Earlier, I found a report from college. My last root in her drawer for the trouble it caused. The report was dire. I gave her a chance: ‘Have you been given a report?’ ‘No it’s the failing students who get them.’ I held out the yellow form. ‘Oh,’ she said. Her dad backed his van up the drive. We saw him through the window. ‘Don’t tell Dad,’ she pleaded. ‘No, but you can.’ Laura chose not to. She went out of the back door. She disappeared down the lane.
I told Husband about the report. He demanded Laura leave college and get a job. I took her to the knicker factory for an application form. She walked the factory floor, tasted the clatter of machines. She promised to knuckle down to study. I begged Husband to let her stay at college, he agreed to this request, to please me.
Laura rang from Tenerife, an intruder in the room. Laura had to go to the police station. She had been awakened by a thief, and Laura had punched her. There was another phone call late at night from Tenerife. Laura and friends had been kicked out of their apartment for not making the beds! She said. It was my first taste of feeling helpless on the end of a telephone line.
I brought Laura home from the airport. The results envelope had remained unopened. Her best subject, the one she told me she was really good at, was marked unclassified. For two years support at college: a big fat zero.