The result of two years at college: Bella arranged to be in Tenerife for results day, arranged to have the results posted.
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 not 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.’ She chose not to, and went out of the back door, as we sat out front. She disappeared down the lane.
I told him of the report. He demanded she leave college and get a job. I took her to the knicker factory for an application form, made her walk the factory floor, taste the clatter of machines. She promised to knuckle down to study. I begged my husband to let her stay at college. And it was so, for he’d do anything to please me.
She rang from Tenerife, an intruder in the room. Bella had to go to the police station, she had been awakened by the thief, and she had punched her. There was another phone call late at night. She with her 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. ‘What do you want me to do?’ Nothing she said, they would get help from the rep.
I brought her home from the airport. The results envelope remained unopened. Her best subject, the one she told me she was really good at, was marked unclassified.
For two years support: a big fat zero.