Neutiquam Erro - Chapter Two

Based on a true story, this work has been in progress for 10 years. Alongside the stories are the poems, songs and artwork that have accompanied the journey of a child.

Neutiquam Erro is Latin and translates in English to “I am not lost at all”.


“This is my daughter, Neen”.

Accompanying him to his office to collect something, the child was in awe. He was important - he worked for the council but not like the council workers who drove the trucks each day, bringing the rubbish to the tips her parents had salvaged from - he had an office behind the foyer where all the shiny, famous people like mayors were, and he called her is daughter!

Driving home he bought Neenish tarts at the bakery, the corny nickname they had christened her with when she arrived making the black and white treats a little family joke that made her dare feel she might belong.


Drawn by the shiny pearl nail polish the child watched as the hands moved across the steering wheel. They suited the owner; well manicured, graceful, gentle. All the qualities she saw in this woman who opened her home and her family to someone else's child. The car stopped and suddenly the child remembered where they were.

The operation to repair the malformation in the roof of her mouth would would have to be done under anesthetic because it meant removing all her top teeth and stitching them into their proper place and the child was terrified.

Her past experiences - her mother holding her down, the sounds of bone and flesh tearing, drowned out by the child screaming for want of anesthetic because it was too expensive - were in stark contrast to the gentle teasing on the woozy drive home with a mouth full of stitches and a prescription for jelly and ice cream.

Everything about this woman was in contrast to what the child knew of a mother. She even smelled beautiful.


When it ended the child wasn't really surprised but it also signaled the end of her childhood. Survival now meant independence, she was on her own. Christmas is never forever.

It wasn't her foster parents fault, they had no way of knowing how broken the child really was and they did all they could to include her, involve her, support her and encourage her but in the end her conditioning; her belief she could never belong, won.

She had come to them with nothing, but she left with a glimpse of how it could be, how it should be and how she wanted it to be for her own family.


Taking her children to see the Myer Christmas display, she marveled at the little girl's confidence that the beautiful princess bed was meant for her because she was really a princess. It wasn't a selfish statement, the little girl was otherwise generous and caring, it was simply that she was confident as she was beautiful and she had no doubt that beautiful things were meant for her too.

How different to her mother, the child who came to that foster family so long ago and stood, nose pressed firmly against an invisible barrier, desperately absorbing all the colour and magic and delighted by the wonder of fairy tales bought to life, knowing she could never step into that world because she was dirty.


“Her voice was ever soft, gentle and low, an excellent thing in a Women” - Shakespeare

BIGFOOT! Must you walk like a baby elephant?


Voice like a foghorn! LOOK AT THOSE HUGE HANDS! You are so clumsy! BIG TITS!

The child went on to sing professionally but still at the back of her mind her voice was like cats fighting.

It took years to accept she wasn't a monster, that those entrusted with her nurture, had very carefully trained her to believe their lies. It would take a man with a heart as gold as his fiery mane and a vocabulary even more colourful than the tattoos adorning his body to shock her, love her and take her children to his heart, before she would ever see any good thing in the young woman looking back from the mirror.

Years of believing that all good things were outside of her. Other people were good and beautiful and clean. The constant reminders of just how unwanted she really was throughout her childhood had left their shadows and she knew she would never be clean like other people.

He taught her she was wrong.

At 19 she had joined the church, actively participating in a community and lifestyle that allowed her to accept her fate, to be broken and to serve.

At 24 He taught her to play and to love.

At 18 she married in resignation.

At 25 she married for love, and for the first time in her life, from the corner of her eye she saw herself as he saw her.

Just there, to the edge of the mirror, an image in her mind whispering to life a woman from her past: serene, beautiful, Goddess.


Angel of Love - Pastel on board - MelodieM

short_stories | literature

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