(It’s Never Too Late For Changing)
By Amanda Maclachlan
Key Themes: fiction, schizophrenia, childhood, learning difficulties, nursing
Henry and Winston are twins. They develop a secret language between themselves which leads to them being misdiagnosed as having learning difficulties. They soon discover that this diagnosis helps them get away with more than their long suffering brother and sister. However as they get older they start to realise that acting daft is not as brilliant as they first thought. Is it too late to come out of the closet so to speak?
About the Author
Amanda has suffered from schizophrenia as long as she can remember. However she remained undiagnosed for years and got through school and nurse training to become a learning disabilities nurse as it is now called. When she was twenty six someone spiked her drink in a pub which led to her capture by the psychiatric dept. Now thanks to their treatment she is on long term sick leave and probably will stay there for the rest of her life. Having experienced both sides of the psychiatric fence most of her fictional writing is concerned with some type of mental health problem.
It was a hot summer day in the middle of August. Fairy dust fell off the cow slips casting a silvery glint across the green grass. Mrs Dora Plantington looked briefly out of the window at a grass hopper rasping it’s legs on a large leaf outside the window. She looked nervously at the counter on the wall, how long was this going to take? The number three hung under the name of Doctor Hanson on the white clinical wall of the surgery. Dora looked at the number that was clenched in her hand. It was number five. That meant there were two people before her. Her palm was sweating with nerves. She knew what everyone was thinking, that she was an unfit mother. She tried her best, but the twins where becoming more and more uncontrollable.
The year was nineteen sixty-five. She was dressed in a mini dress with big orange flowers on it and had her blonde hair up in a beehive style. Her make up was perfect and she had false eyelashes that where in fashion. Dora liked to keep herself nice for her husband despite it was getting more difficult to find time for herself now with four children. She watched as her two twin children ran round the surgery whooping and making noises. They where five years old and hadn’t started to speak properly yet. They had started to speak in there early years but all of a sudden they had gone silent. It seemed about the time Sarah was borne. Mrs Plantington was too embarrassed by her children’s behaviour to look at anybody, she didn’t know what to do except sit quietly not looking at anybody and pretend they where not hers. Her other two kids where perfectly well behaved. She didn’t treat then any different to the other two as far as she had noticed.
‘If they where my kid’s I’d spank them wouldn’t you?’ commented an elderly man to no one in particular. He was sat behind her in a tweed suit with a boater hat perched precariously on his head. He was holding a walking stick with both hands clenched over a horses head handle. He scowled at Henry and Winston. As if they would notice when they where too preoccupied with gaining everybody’s attention anyway. They loved putting on a show and playing up to an audience.