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sad as it seems, the only memories that stand out are not very happy
ones. I am 17. I was born in Gloucester. Both of my parents raised me,
and at the beginning of my life we definitely didn’t live in luxury.
We moved up to London when I was about 4 years old where my father
started up his own business which grew to be very successful. That’s
when all the problems started for us. Because of trusting someone that
was supposed to be a very good friend my father ended up in prison.
This friend actually set him up to try to save his own skin. In doing
so he took away a father of two, and a loyal and loving husband.
Shortly after my father was sentenced, my mother, sister and I moved
to South Wales where we had close family. I was 11 years old and I
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The mountains were huge, powerful and beautiful, the trees stood tall
and strong. There thick, bushy, deep green branches stretched overhead
as we drove through the old winding lanes. I opened the window halfway
down and allowed the wind to ruffle its fingers through my hair and
felt the hot sun beat down on my face and legs, making them stick to
the leather of the car seats. This place was secluded. The only people
I could see were the few driving past in their old battered cars.
There were no pavements, shops, or even traffic lights, it was
beautiful, but where were we really?
“What do you think love?” my mum asked, with a huge grin spread across
“That depends on what it is!” I answered in a mocking tone.
“Well, Wales! Were not there yet anyway, go back to sleep for an
And sleep I did.
When I awoke someone was shaking me repeating my name over and over:
“Charli, Charli?” I opened my eyes, squinting as the sunlight stung,
making my eyes water. For a second I forgot where we were. To my left
I saw a large patch of grass, which I later learned served as the
village rugby pitch. To my right I saw a row of old looking terraced
houses, and a disused church that appeared to be about a hundred years
old. Just behind the row of houses I saw a huge field. I didn’t quite
believe it, but there were cows. A whole heard of them, and horses
too. “Mummy? Are you serious? Is this really where we are going to
live?” I asked.
My Mum just smiled at me.
“You’ll get used to it!” She was now actually laughing. Did she really
think it was funny? I couldn’t even see any shops. Not even a corner
shop! After collecting the luggage, we walked through the little Iron
Gate into the house.
It really wasn’t that bad, quite nice in fact. The walls were all
painted in burnt oranges, gold’s and creams, and my Mum was quick to
point out that this was the result of her hard work and dedication. I
put the bags down to have a look around my new home. The living room
at the front of the house was a substantial size. The kitchen was
exceptionally long and narrow and the garden was huge. Upstairs there
were three bedrooms: one for my mother and sister, one for my cousin
and one for me. I sat down on my new bed and decided that maybe it
wouldn’t be so bad here, away from the constant hustle and bustle of
London. School was due to start for me on Tuesday. Today was Friday,
so I had plenty of time to settle in.
For the next year or so, life in Wales was quite normal. I went to
school and was an A grade pupil most importantly for me at that stage,
I made lots of friends. Maybe this wasn’t the best thing for me,
because I fell in with the wrong crowd: The crowd that stayed out
late. Drinking, smoking, taking drugs and joyriding. The popular
It all started with a girl called Bethan. She was a very pretty girl
that was in my class. Bethan was clever and took school seriously. One
day in class, it was English if I remember rightly; we started talking
and found that we had very similar personalities. Soon after we were
hanging around together every day and sitting next to each other in
every class. I guess you could say we were inseparable. One Thursday
afternoon she asked me if I wanted to come to a village called
Maesycwmmer. I replied that I would ask my mum and get back to her.
Later on that evening I did ask my mum, and although I can’t remember
exactly how the conversation went, I do know that there was a lot of
persuasion involved and finally she gave in on the condition that she
would drive me to and from the village.
“Go on it’s a laugh!” one girl slurred at me pushing a lit cigarette
into my hand. Not really sure what to do with it, I looked to Bethan
“Put it in your mouth and suck it!” she replied, making the other
girls shriek with laughter. “Dirty cows!” she cackled at them.
“Ugghh! What the hell are you doing to me!!?” I spluttered and choked.
My lungs were on fire, and my eyes were streaming with tears. “You’ll
get used to it love; wash it down with this.” Another girl said while
handing me a bottle of something. It tasted nice. I kept drinking it,
and then I wanted my own. “Cory! Go in the shop and get a couple of
bottles of cider.” Bethan demanded. We drank them all between us. The
last thing I remember is getting home, crawling up the stairs and
being sick all over my bedroom floor, my head spinning.
This is what every weekend suddenly became. I did get grounded the
first time but it didn’t stop me. Almost overnight I had turned into a
horrible, disrespectful brat going completely against the way I had
been raised. There was nothing anyone could do. One year after my
first drink I started to go to pubs. Now we had a wider variety of
drinks on available to us. We consumed more and more only stopping
when we passed out or could not stand. I saw young girls stumbling
down the street, making lewd suggestions to passers by, shouting and
screaming, not caring what anyone thought. The saddest thing was that
I actually thought this was funny at the time, even though they, like
us, didn’t have any self respect or self worth. My friends and I soon
started going out Saturday and Sunday of every weekend without fail.
Most of the time we would each go through about 8 pints of beer or
cider, 4 or 5 cocktails, 4 or 5 vodkas and cokes, and around 5 shots
of spirits each weekend feeling like we hadn’t had the best of times
if we drank any less. Those were the dark days, as I now call them.
That is really all there is to do in Wales. Alcohol is seen as a large
percent of the populations’ best friend; it is seen as normal. Of
course not everyone in Wales is already or is turning into an
alcoholic but as you tend to know everyone in your village and don’t
really go far outside of it, you don’t know much better. But I should
have. Soon enough, all I lived for was the weekend. I didn’t care
about anything or anyone else. I didn’t go to school because I didn’t
see any point if I wasn’t going to college. I couldn’t be bothered
anyway. To my poor mum, I was a hopeless case. We didn’t argue much,
just silently excepted the silent fact, that if I didn’t stop I would
completely lose myself, my culture, heritage and respect for myself
and others. That is why; five long years after we moved to Wales, my
mum sent me back to London to my dads’. I didn’t want to go. I was
crying and shouting, but deep down I new it was the right thing. And
just look at me now, I am working and in full time college course and
am happy with my life. I can finally see what my mum had been telling
me all those years, but then, I didn’t realise my mum would save me
from self destruction.