What is your breaking point? Perhaps it is not a point for you. Do you bend under adversity, then slowly bend again, then again? Until the world appears upside-down?
Ben found his mind so contorted by what others did to him that he was not certain of reality.
It took the simple nature of a garden, finally, to heal his lifetime of deep wounds.
Here is an extract called Fairies and Little People
One day, crossing the footbridge, I saw an “enormous” fish and ran home to tell my dad. The next morning, the fairies left a packet of fishing hooks in one of their circles in the garden.
My dad helped me dig for worms. Off I went to the bridge, pole and string and baited hook in hand. Before long, a sudden tug pulled the rod from my hand. The enormous fish swam off, line and pole in tow, never to be seen again.
The little people were elves, gnomes and leprechauns who sometimes played tricks like hiding Daddy’s watch or Mommy’s lipstick. When they came to play with us in our bedroom under the eaves, our parents sometimes caught us out of bed. I’m not sure about my dad, but Mother didn’t believe us when we told her about the fairies taking things. She couldn’t see them, of course, and smacked our bottoms really hard for lying. When my sister and I came down with German measles, Mother hired a nurse to look after us. Nurse kept the fairies away. I still looked for them when we went for walks in the woods. I looked for them at the bottom of the garden. But they never came back.
I can still picture the elves. They were smaller than my sister and me. Though they didn’t look like the pictures of fairies with wings we’d seen in books, we knew they were fairies. They seemed older than we were: much older. Their clothing was ragged and colourful. They all wore tiny cloth shoes with pointed toes and hats with small feathers.
The fairies laughed and chatted in happy, bright voices. They sang nonsense songs in a strange language. We tried to join in and ended up falling down in fits of giggles.
Their laughter was high pitched, like Christmas bells. Sometimes, they flew to the window to see if grown-ups were coming. When they danced around Naomi and me, we danced with them. Then they would spin in a circle and disappear in a puff of sparkles. Sometimes, they got really small and slipped through the crack under the door.
Childhood was an adventure in all kinds of weather. On winter mornings when we woke up to snow, we went on long walks and got buried in enormous drifts. Then the snow melted and we got stuck in the mud. In summer, we went with our parents to pick mushrooms in the cow fields. Or we picked blackberries and wild gooseberries. Then on a most exciting day, Dad hitched the caravan to the family car for our trip to the seaside.
Oh, how I remember my first view of the ocean. When we reached the top of a hill I felt such wonder at the beauty of the blue sea, and miles and miles of long, sandy beaches. With spades and buckets, we dug in the sand. Our dad helped us build gigantic castles. We got sunburns that blistered and peeled and Mom had to rub our backs and legs with Vaseline.
The fairies left money in a wishing well in Wales. Naomi and I bought ice cream and liquorice all-sorts with it, and Dad bought petrol for the drive home. I sensed, even then, that it was bad luck to take pennies from a wishing well. Our lives would change because of it. Of course, Naomi and I never did tell.
But things did begin to change.