Ginnie’s Diary, 14th September 1974
Thank God it’s Saturday today. I couldn’t face school. This is bad, so bad.
The phone rang every bloody hour last night. Mum hasn’t slept a wink. She had black rings under her eyes when she came into my room to tell me she was driving over to Cathy’s. Mrs O’Kinnear is very upset, Cathy still hasn’t come home.
I knew it, I told her, I knew something terrible was going to happen when she let Henry into the house. A total stranger, it’ll be him who did something bad to Cathy. She kept shaking her head, tears welling up in her eyes. Much as I’m mad with her, I can’t bear to see her cry. She is in a worse state even than in the days after dad left us. I said that to her.
“You’re not helping, love, we don’t know that something bad has been done to Cathy,” she said.
I heard her talking to Mrs O’Kinnear on the phone just before she went out.
“She’ll turn up, Brenda, you’ll see. You know what girls are like at that age, they don’t think about us worrying. She’ll have gone home with the boy and stayed over at Ger’s. Ger doesn’t have a phone and even if she did have one she likely wouldn’t have thought to call you anyway. She’s not used to dealing with kids like we are, only took the poor lad in last week.”
“No, I don’t have an address for her, but she works in the library. It’ll open in an hour. Why don’t I come round to your place, we’ll have a cup of tea and then I’ll take you over to the library and we can ask her?”
So she doesn’t know much about him, and she doesn’t know Miss O’Reilly that well either. Only got chatting to her when she was taking some books out to read. She’s strange, well it’s strange when you’re as old as my mum, even older maybe, and you still want to be called Miss, isn’t it? Wouldn’t you just let people call you Mrs even if you’re not married?
“Can’t think the boy would have done her any harm. Soft-spoken he is, and so frail looking. Poor thing lost his mother to cancer only last year and now his father seems to have done a runner on him. Doesn’t seem to have any other close family except Ger. And she’s not that close either I think, she mentioned that she never got on with her brother and they hadn’t kept much contact. The wretched waif is only 15, imagine that. He seemed to enjoy himself at our house yesterday, and the girls adored him. I tried to feed him up a bit, he’s skin and bones he is, skin and bones. Such sad dark eyes, broke my heart to think how lost and lonely he must feel. Okay Brenda, tell you what, you put the kettle on and I’ll be over in a few minutes.”
How Mrs O’Kinnear didn’t hang up on her rambling on about that oh so poor boy, I don’t know.
I don’t think he’s sad at all. He’s bad. And Cathy, oh God, please let Cathy be alright!
© Ash N. Finn, 2016