I could never wish for a moment
to capture, yet I tried to encapsulate this. Alie swaying at my
garden gate, one hand combed halfway through her dirty blonde
hair. I could only stare, and look on in awe. She grinned, and
gave a giggle at the way I looked, her head dipped, when I saw
her face again, she had dimples, and freckles dotted over her
She reached for my hand and
gazed into my eyes; an excited beat broke off in my chest, it
tickled. She brought to me a peace, which flourished in my
stomach and gave the caterpillars wings. I broke the gaze and
looked straight down to my feet. She softly jolted my hands; I
looked back up, and she kissed me.
"I'll see you, tomorrow," she
said, pushing back from my hands, and letting go.
"Yeah," I breathed, the air
jittered in the back of my throat. "Go then, before it starts to
She smiled once more, before
rushing off down the cobbled alley. I savoured that kiss, and
kept the picture of her bright eyes smiling into mine. I had it
all in a capsule now, but I knew I would never mention
I turned to see Rheon stood on
the doorstep, he grinned.
"I don't think they know," he
"I just don't understand why
you don't want them knowing about you and Alie."
I gave him the look. The look
to say, 'I'm not going through this again', and left it
"What time are you coming
over?" I asked.
"Half nine, so we can make it
there for ten," Rheon replied, he pulled his hood up over the
back of his head
"I'll see you tomorrow then.
When I'll be sixteen," I smiled.
Rheon laughed, and then left
through the back gate.
I couldn't take the smile from
my face. The thought of Alie, and how she'd held my hands. Her
wholesome smile and how they created perky indentations. I tilted
my head with recollection, and the only thing I recollected, had
been the colour of the clouds; the shift from shades. A droplet
of rain christened my face, and I rushed indoors, making it in
time to watch it pour.
I teased the back door shut,
making as little a sound possible. I touched the frame of the
dining room door; a tickle mustered in my stomach, and then a
shiver. Ah, the dining room. I paused. Then in casual manner,
trying not to look all too out of place, I walked in. I was
privileged to be allowed to eat here, again. Oh, and wasn't I
just fortunate enough to endure 'the family' torture, I
The other children, the ones
that my dad had after remarrying, were sat at the dining room
table. I joined them, trying to blend in. Jeez, I was sat at the
table, with four borderline obese children, and no sign of my
It had been ages since my last
encounter with this table, all because I was removed from it. A
joint decision, so they told me; for my presence to steer clear
of the dining room - and grateful to do so - but I blamed it on
his wife; all of it.
The thought of a family meal
knotted my stomach and seized my throat, while I realised why I'd
been banned daunting on me; her cooking and as I remember came in
the form of saturates, a plate full.
I didn't want the meal, in fact
I feared it. I could've betted that my dad had begged her; his
wife, to allow me - his own flesh and blood, his eldest son - at
the table, and all because tomorrow, I turned
I sighed, then collapsed my
arms onto the table, and burrowed my head within. A smell knocked
me, and I wasn't sure if it was a pleasant surprise, or not. So I
lifted my head, and in the centre of the table my dad's wife laid
out her cooking.
One thing rattled my brain; be
nice. I am nice, when people are nice back that is.
The other children talked
across to each other. I sat up straight in the chair and rolled
down my sleeves. I wrapped each arm around the other, and tried
to keep my glances to myself. The one time I had looked ahead,
his wife had caught it. She glared back; her icy eyes and stern
face may as well have punched me.
"Children, your dad is running
late, I'll dish your dinner out now though," she spoke. I'd
watched as her lips moved, yet expressionless. That's what my
dad's money was going on.
Several minutes later, and she
came to me, and coughed.
"Yes?" I asked. I turned to
look at her, and she eyed the food on the table; so I took the
hint. "A bit of everything," I requested, purely for
She grabbed my plate, and
scooped up some mash, then carrots, peas, roast potatoes,
dumplings, and then stew. Under the circumstances that would have
been delicious, yet she'd cooked it, so I thought twice. I gulped
making sure my throat was still working, but for how long? I
tried to guess.
"When will my dad be home?" I
asked before she left.
"In a couple of minutes," she
I saw her turned and up-curled
lip and the rise in her brow. It didn't do her any favours for
the model housewife look - even though I supposed she had known I
was being polite on purpose.
I stared at the food on the
plate then picked up the fork beside it. I drove it into the
mash, and then hauled it back out, keeping a small amount on the
fork. I constricted my mouth open and shoved the fork in. Not all
that bad. I thought, before I'd tasted it properly. The mash
swashed around in my mouth, lumpy bits touched the roof, as did
the salty granules pop on my taste buds. I didn't know what to
do, try and swallow it then heave buckets of sick, or maybe spit
it back out onto the plate, right in front of his
The front door blew open; it
banged against the radiator. Wind wailed in through the house,
and the sound of rain stampeding on the doorstep burst. My dad,
he came in with a collection of sneezes and wheezes. I watched
the dining room door from the corner of my eye, and how his wife
had rushed to his aide.
I made a move and took a
napkin. I spat the food inside and folded it up, placing the
napkin on my lap.
"Oh, it's c - c - cold out," my
"Well, if you were home fifteen
minutes ago," his wife giggled.
My dad walked into the dining
room, with his wife clung to his side. He smiled at me like I
owed him something. I didn't, and I didn't deserve being kicked
out in the first place. Its called being too analytical, or is it
too critical? Maybe both, but wasn't that what my dad did on a
daily basis anyway; as a surgeon.
He took the chair opposite me,
and his wife fetched him a plate. I knew he was watching me from
the other side of the table, so I wore a look of enthusiasm. I
caught a spoonful of peas, and precarious tossed them into my
mouth. "Mmm." I expressed. They made my mouth water, also because
of how much a salty taste they had. I chewed on them, and hoped
two things; the first thing was that I would be able to keep them
down, and the other, to be able to taste
"Nice?" my dad asked, he smiled
then eyed my plate.
"Um, yeah," I lied, my words
were not all that assuring.
Right now, I would have done so
much to have a cold or stuffy nose, in fact anything to be unable
"There you go darling," I
overheard his wife speak.
I glanced over to them both.
She leaned over my dad to place his plate. I watched as she
waited, my dad shoving his nose into her neck; bringing about a
deep inhalation. I didn't know why he had to go so close to her,
I could smell the over primped perfume from over here, and she
applied it in a routine, of every hour.
The woman moved, and I could
see my dad's face returning to a fleshier colour, how lucky was
he, having a cold and being all flared up like
"Loem," he called from across
the table, catching me from the annoyance that he had
"Yes?" I questioned trying to
"I have a question," he
announced. Pausing, and scoffing a forkful of food then beginning
again. "So, what is it you want for your birthday?"
"Why, what can I have?" I
"Anything." He smiled. "Well,
within reason of course," he chuckled.
I wanted to ask for my mum's
address, once more. I didn't know why he'd give me it now after
keeping it a secret for so long; if he even had her address in
the first place. Besides, the first time in several months, and
I'd sat at the table. I didn't want to spark an
"Can I move?" I asked. My
vision fixated on the fraying cloth on the corner of the
The clash of metal on his plate
shook me, I looked up. My dad had stopped eating; now I was sure
he'd been prepared for me asking about my mum.
"Well. You're going to be 16,
not 18, or even 17," he indicated.
From the tone he spoke in, I
could tell the rest of the conversation would follow to be
condescending and quite patronising. So I stopped him before he
went ahead of himself.
"I know you can put the rent up
for one, I'm sure Roane can live without one Botox injection,
and, and, I can even try and get a job," I
It was spontaneous, and my
stomach twisted harder. I had just said something spiteful about
his wife. Bad tongue. They were the first things to come to mind,
and I figured that I would be a happier person if I didn't have
to live with the family I'd already distanced myself
I could see something in my
dad's eyes. I knew he didn't want me to move; considering me
being the eldest, I guessed he didn't want me to grow up faster
than I needed to either. A primary reason why Alie hadn't been
mention, because he would have told me I was too immature to
handle a relationship, or even gone through some sort of sex
"We'll discuss it when we come
back from America," my dad being blunt, closed the
"America?" I questioned. "Wait,
I don't want to go."
"Sorry?" he discouraged the
fork from his lips and stared at me.
I looked around to the rest of
the room, and made sure his other children were all doing what
they were supposed to.
"Well it's my birthday
tomorrow, and I get my results. And Ash has organised a party," I
said. A thought then stuck me; I didn't know a lot of people, not
a lot for a whole party.
"What, a party? So what about
family?" he asked.
I didn't know how to tell him
about my 'they're not just quite family' feeling, and the people
in America, they were relatives, but not close enough to be
"We go to America at least
three times a year, and I'm sure that it's always the same, at
first, when I was eight, it had was amazing, now I'm nearly
sixteen. Couldn't we go to New York or, y'know someplace
different?" I argued. The whole, me not sparking an argument idea
"So this party, did I give you
permission to go?" he asked with a swift change in
"Yeah, I asked you the other
day in your office, and you said 'yes' or something," I
explained, ending in a quieter tone.
"Maybe that something, maybe it
was a 'no'?"
You could never tell by how he
spoke to whether he was being serious or not, sometimes he could
be having a laugh at my expense that is if I think he's being
serious, so I continued.
"No. Plus if you go away for a
week then I can look after the house, if I take good care of it,
then you can get me an apartment or something." I hadn't planned
on saying that. Besides I didn't know about going to America
I caught contemplation flicker
in my dad's eyes, then he gave me a subtle nod. My stomach
wrapped itself harder, and a cold tickle touched my
"Hmm. May I be excused?" I
I glared back down to my plate,
and feared my dad may have too. I tried to eat a lot, but then
again, when I've been used to my own cooking, I needed some
I looked up to my dad's face.
His lips pursed, and his brow furrowed. I continued to watch as
his face changed; it eased away from any thought contemplating
against my request.
"Yes," he responded, in a low
I could've waited behind and
listened in on any argument I'd caused. The sulking of his wife
was funny. But instead I rushed off to my room, and locked the
Being sealed off from my dad,
his wife, and their children made me happy. Privacy created
boundaries, and boundaries meant just a little bit more
independence, and I liked independence.
However the positive of my
privacy, went against the negativity of my room; the four walls
created the smallest room in the whole of the house, and I spent
most of my waking hours in there.
Dark blue wallpaper covered the
walls, and I learnt if I stared at them for too long my brain
would hurt, blissfully nonetheless. No pictures hung, or posters
pinned. I kept everything basic, well to the basic needs for me;
I had a bed, a desk and a computer, a wardrobe, a chest of
drawers, and on top of the drawers stood a small bedroom
Scrunched up papers littered
the keyboard of the computer, and dirty clothes pitied the small
surface of floor. The curtains hung thick and covered most light
coming into the room. Being in the room, the room where all the
mess reflected the state that my mind was in.
I slumped into the computer
chair and then pushed the power button on the tower. Nothing
happened. I pushed it again. Then again. I gritted my teeth, and
pushed it again. The light flickered, and stayed. Add to list;
get a decent computer. Another thing in my life, trying to wreak
havoc had been the mental notes that flitted around in my
I brushed away the crumpled up
pieces of paper from my desk, I felt quite lucky to have found my
phone, with three new messages. I read them, each one of them
from a different person. The first from Alie; how did the family
meal go, okay? If not you can always come to my house and have
tea (kisses) see you tomorrow. I smiled and replied with; its
okay, they're going away tomorrow, so I guess I'm going to have
the house all to myself (kisses).
The next message I read, a
chain message, I read the first part then deleted it. I read the
last message; you best still be coming to the party tomorrow, and
Rheon can walk up with me and Carri, before you ask it's a
surprise and Alie's brother knows where it is, so you're not
going to see us before you get there, I'll see you tomorrow at
My computer loaded and I
directed it to the internet. Social networking sites could eat up
all of my time. With every holiday, including the summer that was
close to finished, I found my time spent in the most constructive
of circumstances; playing simulation games over the net. The one
good thing to come out of this summer, has to be the memories,
and that person who gave them; Alie. I'd never known her until
she got my phone number from a friend, and I'd not noticed her at
school before then.
I observed the clock in the
corner of my computer screen. It was almost midnight, almost my
birthday, and I was almost sixteen, a couple more minutes to
'00:00' flashed on my screen.
Should I make my wish now? I didn't know, and what I could wish
for, I had 60 seconds to do it in. I struggled to think of
anything. I wished that I could find my mum. Seconds later, the
clock flicked to '00:01'. I exhaled, and then
A knock at my door made me
jump, so I rushed over. I unlatched the lock and opened the door.
My dad stood in front of me.
"You can go down and make
yourself something to eat," he stated in a whisper.
"Yeah, I'll be down in a
minute. Is everyone in bed now?"
My dad nodded, and then looked
me in the eye, before walking away. He stopped, and turned. "Oh,
and happy birthday, I don't think I'll be awake when you get
"Thanks." I smiled to
I pulled my door to a quiet
"Try not to make any noise, or
mess," he whispered from down the hall.
In the kitchen everything was
spotless, nothing out of place. I made scrambled egg on toast.
The pan I used kept a tough residue, I realised that it would
have to undergo some violent scrubbing. So I left it, on