To mark National Day Against Child Homelessness Day today.
My name is Orla,
Today was a great day. I went on a play date with my friend Lisa. Her house is like a mansion. She has her own bedroom and even has a TV in it!
She has a puppy called Ben. He’s a Cockapoo. She said that her dad told her that means he’s half dog and half poo. We played with him in the garden and I gave him some of my popcorn. He puked it up.
Lisa has an older brother. He’s the same age as mine. But he doesn’t have a wheelchair like Jack. He has his own room as well. Lisa says it’s like an evil lair, and that her brother spends all his time on Youtube looking at videos about ninjas and swords and fighting. But when I looked in it looked clean and he has one of them beds that are like bunkbeds but have a hang-out den on the ground part. I’d love one of those.
Lisa’s mom is brilliant. She even let us make our own pizzas. Mine was with ham and pineapple. The ham was lovely, but the pineapple was gross. Lisa had hers plain and then we had ice cream and apple crumble.
We played Pie-Face and I won lots of times. Lisa wiped the cream up with her brothers Dublin jersey. I’d say he’ll go mad when he finds out. We had so much fun.
I wanted to show my mammy around when she came to collect me, but she said she was busy. I know she had time but she sometimes gets in a mood, even when there’s no reason to. Lisa’s mum wrapped up some apple crumble for me and my brother.
When we got home Piotr had to help carry my brother upstairs cause the lift was broken again. Piotr is cool, he’s from Poland and always puts on this deep voice pretending to give out to me, but I can tell he doesn’t mean it.
Some of the other people in the hotel were there, but they didn’t help and Mam had to carry Jacks wheelchair up the stairs. I took the schoolbags and the milk. Because our room is small we have to keep Jacks wheelchair outside in a tiny room with the hotel cleaning stuff.
Mam was very tired but she still made us both her famous hot chocolate. Jack has cerebral palsy but he’s very clever and really strong. I’m always worried that he will grip his cup so strongly that it will smash.
Because we only have two beds, I did my homework on mums and she helped Jack do his exercises on ours. Jack is so funny doing them. He always makes fart noises just to annoy Mam.
I hate homework, especially the Irish reading. But Mam is very good, she always tells me these little tricks that she used to do when she was a girl. She even helps me with projects. One time we went over to Aldi and Mam got a cardboard box and we made an aquarium for my project about the sea. I remember spilling blue paint on my bed and uniform. I had blue tracksuit bottoms for a month. Mam just said they were all the fashion!
There was one bad thing and that was when I asked if Lisa could come to the hotel for a play date. Mam went quiet and in that same mood that I said about earlier in Lisa’s house. But I really wanted to show Lisa the hotel so I kept asking. Mam kind of shouted at me a little and I began to cry and it upset Jack. He rolled off the bed a dragged himself into the bathroom. Jack hates it when anybody fights.
I really hate when this happens, but sometimes I can’t help it. I don’t mean to be bad. I just want to bring my friends over and we wouldn’t even play in the room. We’d play chasing in the corridors or in the lobby, if Piotr is on. But not if the other cranky fella is.
Mam was talking to Jack, so I got the apple crumble from her bag and Jack came out and we all had some. I could tell mam was still sad about what happened, so I told her that I wouldn’t ask anymore and said I was sorry. She said it was fine and that everything was okay. But I know it’s not. Not really.
After we go to bed I always hear her crying in the bathroom when she thinks I am asleep. It always gives me this pain in my stomach and I get cross at myself for making her sad.
I don’t know what to do. But I just tell myself that tomorrow I will be better and that it will be okay then.
My Name Is Orla…
— Anthony Flynn (@AnthonyICHH) August 28, 2017
At the media launch of the My Name Is campaign at the Academy Plaza Hotel, Dublin 1.
From top: Carly Bailey, who lost her family home to a vulture fund in 2013; and (left to right) Rory Hearne, of NUI Maynooth; David Hall, CEO Irish Mortgage Holders; Anthony Flynn CEO of Inner City Helping Homeless; and Michael Caul.