I’m very glad to leave the place of my week-long solitary sojourn and return to the vibrant vivacity if M2’s house. Before that, M2, J and I have arranged to meet at Waterloo for a day out. We all know each other from uni. Planning to meet people from uni has none of the apprehension that meeting people from school does. At uni, I fitted in, joined in.

So I leave my suitcase at the left-luggage office, which is between platforms 11 and 12. (Sort of 11¾?)

I finally get my ploughman’s lunch, so I can tick that off on my list:

Eat shortbread
Drink cider
Eat ploughman’s lunch in pub
Eat fish and chips
Eat salt and vinegar crisps
Eat scones with jam and cream X
If summer, feel rain
Buy underwear in M&S X

Unfortunately, the food in the pub we choose is not wonderful – maybe that’s why it’s empty – but at least the company is good.

We visit a museum called “Enchanted Palace” at Kensington Palace. It’s a bit strange but interesting. Then we walk around the gardens and take tea in the Orangery, a very posh-looking place. And I finally get my scone with jam and cream. Mmm. So this is the final table:

Eat shortbread
Drink cider
Eat ploughman’s lunch in pub
Eat fish and chips
Eat salt and vinegar crisps
Eat scones with jam and cream
If summer, feel rain
Buy underwear in M&S X

The underwear isn’t essential; I bought some quite recently. Back in the gardens, someone is feeding squirrels:

In the evening, I finally give M2’s husband the answer to his question. It was day 22 when he asked me what I learned in my life that I wish I’d known earlier. I haven’t really been thinking about this question ever since, but I haven’t had the opportunity to answer – or that’s what I tell myself. This is the last opportunity, so I take it. “I wish I’d known before the age of five how children treat each other. That would have made all the difference.”

You see, on my first day at school, through no fault of my own, I missed the first part of the day. At the end of the day, the teacher gave out drawings to the children. One girl said to me, “You won’t get a drawing because you didn’t do one.” It’s a perfectly normal thing for one child to say to another, but the mocking tone of her voice made me think I was being singled out, that there was something wrong with me. That feeling stayed with me. I expected to be treated differently and the other children picked up on that and did as I expected.

The next post will be the penultimate one in this series.

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