Chapter 6

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I had found it extremely difficult to actually fall asleep that night in the care home. I had been taken to my room by Jayne, and it was obviously not meant for a long stay.

Pure white walls, curtains and bed sheets made it feel clinical and the wooden floors made the walk over to the bed even colder and more sinister.

The single bed itself was situated in the middle of an otherwise empty room that severely lacked in personality. Everything about it screamed mental institution rather than children’s care home.

I deduced from my logic that the children were never allowed in this room either – no way could it have ever possibly remained so pristine if they had.

After settling down and shivering until the bed felt warm enough to roll over in, there was the blatant scream of a small child awake, and soon I could hear the rush of footsteps commuting outside of a door near to my temporary room.

From the mutters I could hear, it seemed that Imogen had had one of her frequent nightmares as it was described. I felt sorry for her. She was adorable and the only person here, including the adults, who had shown a strong liking towards me.

And then after all of that had settled down, and before another one of Imogen’s night terrors woke her up howling, I began to ponder on what my actual family would be like if I had been in fact swapped.

I imagined a rather conventional family who were on holiday to England or something at the time of an early labour.

My birth mother would have been rushed to the same hospital as the woman who had raised me and as the babies were taken away for sensory testing and a bath and whatever else they did, we would have been switched because we would have had the same initials and first name.

Well, that was my hypothesis anyway.

I imagined a middleclass family. For some reason I hoped my dad would do something decent and rewarding like a doctor, or a fireman, and that my mum would be more glamorous in her job.

If they lived in California, the chances were that they were going to be rather well off with great physical appearances and fantastic pay checks each month.

I knew that I was being rather presumptuous and clichéd with my imaginations, and that the chances were that none of it was even remotely similar, but I guess I could still dream about it all.

I wondered if I would be an only child. I hoped – and therefore imagined – that my real parents would be a lot older than the ones who had raised me. It seemed more natural, and they then had a greater chance of still being together.

I guessed that I would be the oldest, but hoped that my younger siblings weren’t completely stuck up and closed off from any form of change. I hoped that I even had siblings.

It would have been nice to have ones that were young enough so that they would be unable to remember the circumstances in years to come.

I don’t know for how long I had been lying awake, but as I woke that morning, everything began to catch up on me.

I had woken up and seven, along with all of the other children in the home. But Jayne didn’t realise that I had done so. They all had to get dressed for school, but I stayed in bed and I hadn’t been able to drift back into sleep.

My thoughts were rife as I began to think through everything that had happened and realised that I wasn’t as prepared as I had originally thought.

I was actually going to find out if I had really been switched at birth. It was all well and good thinking about it all, but when I actually had to face it I felt afraid.

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