Her tears came, thick and fast, chorused by the occasional sob. 

I knew it was coming. We both did. Her vacant stares, like an indoor cat, gazing out of the window, dreaming of running free. 

She doesn’t want to hurt mum. Doesn’t want mum to be alone, doesn’t want to abandon her. How can a child feel that way? Feel as though they are abandoning a parent. I don’t know. But I understand. I understand because I felt it too. I remember the relief when she was born, thinking that I could finally escape, that mum wasn’t alone anymore now this mewling bundle of joy had crashed in to our lives. 

Almost 13 years on, and here we are. At this point, this utterly expected point, with a devastated and lonely almost-thirteen-year-old, who, through sobs, has told me she doesn’t want to go back there. She doesn’t like France. She hates the school. She’s not popular. Not liked even. She’s stressed. Scared. Bewildered. I just want to scoop her up and keep her here and she will willingly let me because she’s pleading with me, begging me to let her stay. 

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