#YTT Competition winner Ruby-Leigh Smith Presents: Home
This years Big Write 2018 competition was a BIG success. We had a range of poems and stories from young Gypsies, Roma and Travellers all over the UK. We invited young people to put their pen to paper and write an original tale or poem on the theme of ‘Home’ in 500 words or fewer. Award winning author Jess Smith selected the overall winner, 16 Year old Ruby-Leigh Smith from Hertfordshire.
We had travelled to the moors, and were camping in our vardos, on a patch of grass that wouldn’t collect the treacherous rainfall that Granny Clem had said was coming - she was always right about the weather.
My father had offered to take me for a walk across the moors after dinner, and I'd happily accepted - I loved to spend time with Daddy. So we’d walked together, him holding my hand as I skipped along merrily with not a care in the world… but that wouldn’t last long.
He’d taken me down to the stream, and we’d watched the tiny silver fish darting through the water together, pretending that the fish could speak to each-other, and wondering what they were saying. And then it had grown cold, and I'd shivered. I remembered that. Daddy had looked at me, smiling. “You cold, Babby?” I’d nodded, and he had picked me up, swinging me onto his shoulders, telling me to hold on. And that was where I was happiest - to those who didn’t know him, my Daddy might have looked scary.
He’d several tattoos covering his upper body, and one of his eyes was made of glass, to me he was nothing more than a kind, simple man… and one that I adored with every fibre of my being. He’d walked back, being careful of where he stepped in case he tripped, or a tree branch brushed me, him telling me a story about the little black horse he had waiting for me back north that he’d bought the previous year. “Thought you weren’t allowed to camp here anymore, Gypsy?” I turned around, and was met with a snarling grimace from a man.
Daddy turned, and glared at the man. “Leave us alone,” he said, “I’m with my daughter. I don’t want to fight -” He had done this before - avoided conflict because I’d been with him. “We don’t care.” The man snarled as two other men stepped out from behind some trees, “we know what you did, Gypo. You stole two horses -” Daddy put me down, smiling at me, “Babby, go back to Mummy, send Uncle Lee and Henry back here.” “Daddy... will you be okay?” I asked, wearily eyeing the three men.
He nodded, offering me an encouraging smile, “I’ll be fine. Run.” I nodded, pecked his cheek, and sprinted back to the camp, screaming all-the-while for Uncle Lee and Henry. When my uncles returned almost two hours later, they looked lost, and forlorn - and Daddy wasn’t with them. I ran over, “Daddy? Daddy?!” But he didn’t appear. Daddy didn’t come back again.
And as I sit by the stream, a stream so familiar to me, with my son in my lap, I like to think that my Daddy is beside me, and is laughing as I play the same games with my boy as he used to play with me. The moors are the closest thing I have to home - because that is where my Daddy is.