"You're sure you're going to be all right?" That had to be the thousandth time she had asked me, though this time it was a surprise because I didn't know she had come into my room and I thought she'd left already. "I don't want to leave you here on your own, you know that."
"Where are you?" I said. Talking to people when I didn't know what direction to face in irked me. I felt her hand in mine and I swivelled so that I was facing her. "Look, Mum, it's about time you had your own life. You've been looking after me for so long, haven't really had the chance to get out and about. Besides, we need the money."
I heard the rustle of her clothes as she shrugged. "I know. But without your father here to look after you ... I mean, won't you be lonely?"
Dad was still in hospital after being hit by a car about a week ago. We thought he was going to pull through but his injuries were bad and we were still waiting on the news. Only thing was, he was paid by the hour for his job, so our income had plummeted dramatically.
"I'll listen to some stories or something. Maybe tinker with the piano." It was harder than I'd expected to keep my voice light even though I knew Mum needed to go back to work so that we could pay the bills. "You can't always be pandering to my every need. I have to learn to live my own life." For some reason the words came out much harsher than I had meant them to, so I apologised.
"No, don't worry. You're right, as usual. Call me if you need me and I'll come straight home." Mum told me her number, again, as though I didn't know it well enough by now. She stood up, releasing my hand, and as her footsteps retreated towards the door I too got up. Something inexplicable was driving me forward, recklessly urging me.
"Mum," I began, a question in my voice, and her clothes rustled again. She must have turned back to look at me. "Can I have a violin?"
"Well, maybe," she said, totally baffled, and finally left. I would like to say I could imagine the look of confusion on her face but it wouldn't be true, since I've never seen a look of confusion and couldn't tell you what it's like. I don't even know what my mother looks like.
People say she looks a lot like me. Maybe that's truth, but as a description it's a fat lot of good to me, since I can't see either of us. Still, they told me I've got dark hair and pale skin, meaning that if I knew what dark hair looked like I'd have a pretty good idea ... I think.
I'm blind, you see. I probably should have said that straight away, but I'm not used to this whole 'telling my story' thing and I'm only doing it now because they told me to. In fact, I probably should have also said that my name is Mark, and I'm fifteen years old, going on sixteen. Because of my blindness I've never been to school. Well, they tried to send me to a special school for a while but I hated it and after about a week refused to go back. I'm still pretty good at some things, but most subjects are pretty difficult without sight. I can do history. I always did like it. But it's one of the few.
Take Biology, for example. I was following until they went on about diagrams. Or maths. I can do mental arithmetic but beyond that I'm stumped: long division doesn't come in Braille. ICT was a bit tricky; I can type if someone opens the word processor or whatever for me, since I taught myself how, but I can't brose the web since the screen doesn't do Braille and it won't talk.
Most of the time, therefore, being blind absolutely sucks.