by Kelly Evans
I don’t speak if I can help it. At school the teachers barely see me anyway so it doesn’t matter if I never raise my hand or ask any questions. Besides, I know that exams and certificates don’t matter in the real world. In the real world I’ll end up working for dad at the yard, fetching and carrying and keeping my mouth shut. No need for clever ideas or backchat there. Dad has made that quite clear. And I don’t fancy another clip round the ear for saying the wrong thing.
Instead I write stories in my head. Fantastic tales of unicorns and tigers and ogres and fair princesses with long brown hair, just like mum’s. I can do magic and fly carpets and rescue the maidens (especially the one that looks like Sally Thomas from 11C with her freckles and her tight shirt that makes me feel all funny down there). I do battle with giants on a daily basis, in my head, sword fighting techniques that a knight from a film would be proud of, jumping over tables and swinging from chandeliers.
Last time I swung from the light fitting at home dad belted me one. Told me off for damaging the cable and what was I doing, pulling on the light like that? I had a pink hand print on my face for twenty minutes after that one and a bruise that I had to brush my hair over or else teacher would have asked me how I got it. So instead I keep the chandeliers in my head and keep my adventures to myself.
These days it’s harder to remember what mum looks like. I can remember the smell of her, fresh and clean and warm like sheets from the line on my bed when it’s just been made. And I remember the way it felt to hold her hand, all soft and safe. But dad took down the photos, said he didn’t want to be reminded what she looked like. He called her “that bitch” again. I didn’t get chance to take one of the pictures and put it under my chest of drawers before dad put them on a bonfire in the back garden. It was the middle of the day and one of the neighbours got mad with dad for making her laundry smell. She complained to the council about it and dad got a visit from a man in a suit. He didn’t like that, not one little bit. Her yappy little dog went missing and now the lady next door is afraid to come out into her garden. I’m not sure why. It’ll stop the dog from trying to dig that spot in our garden all the time, though.
It’s GCSEs next month but dad says I needn’t go. Waste of time he says. I’ll be starting full time down the yard with him instead. I’m looking forward to it; out of the way of all the teachers and away from Sally with her eyelashes and her tight clothes. Just me and dad and nobody else in yard of broken cars to climb on. And I can kill all the ogres I like.
Kelly Evans lives in Reading. She makes a living by working with Excel but really lives for the time she gets to spend with Word.