My childhood always left me feeling older than I actually was, it was in part due to biology and circumstances. The first time I felt truly grown up was when I was 14.
I had left my parents home, with the help of one of my older brothers, he set me up in a little bedset. I can remember looking around this tiny flat and thinking I was a millionaire as it looked so huge. It had everything I would ever need to live and feel safe, the first time ever in my short life.
My brother bought a week supply of food and some cleaning stuff. He reminded me off our deal I had to keep it tidy, attend school a bit more regularly and also work in his shop when not at school and in exchange he wouldn’t tell my parents where I was living; only that I was safe, and he would make sure I never went without.
As good as locking the door after he left felt, I didn’t feel grown-up then, but rather a month later when my brother gave me this little brown envelope. I can remember tearing it open to find £50 in it, looking at him rather confused I asked him “What is this for?” He said “Your wages, silly.” I reach for my brother’s hand and put the £50 back in his hand; remembering our deal. He shook his head “No, that is all yours as you work harder than anyone else you are the last one to leave at night and the first to arrive in the morning, you have worked more hours than I thought you would. So I have decided you deserve some wages.”
That day more than anything made me feel so grown-up and rich; giggle. I remember going to a local Chinese take away that night and ordering my first take-out with that money. I can’t actually remember what I did with the rest of the money now, but I can remember how grown-up I felt having money in my pocket, ordering a take-away and then going home to own flat to eat it. I can tell you I can’t remember take-out tasting so good since.