The Journey

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic

A semi-fictional piece about going on long journeys as a small child

I am shaken awake. It is dark outside.

“Time to get up,” Mum whispers, pressing a soft kiss to my head.

She leaves, propping the door open to let some light in without blinding me. I stumble out of bed and pull on the clothes that have been carefully folded on my desk. I put my shoes on. I walk downstairs. The lights are on in the kitchen and Daddy is finishing a bowl of cereal. It is still very dark out. I drink a mug of orange juice that he pours out for me. I shiver a bit. It is very early.

I go back up to my bedroom and this time I turn the light on. I pick up Baa from in my bed and check round the room for any other last-minute things. There are a couple; I pick them up too and go back down the stairs, closing my bedroom door gently behind me. My room is finished. No one can go in now. I place my things in the top of my bag sitting on the hall floor. Mum rushes past with a list.

“Do you have Baa?” She notices him. “Good. Don’t forget to put your toothbrush in the bag once you’ve done your teeth.”

I nod. I go back into the kitchen to brush my teeth. Daddy isn’t there anymore. The front door bangs.

When I go back into the hall, toothbrush and paste clutched in my hand, the bags are gone. Only one small bag remains. All the bedroom doors are closed now, and I can hear toilets flushing. Mum appears again.

“Have you gone for a last wee?”

I shake my head. “No.”

“Go in the utility room. Daddy’s checked the bathroom already.”


I am standing outside the car. It’s cold. It’s still very early. Mum bundles me into the car and wraps my blanket around me; that’s a bit better but I am still cold. Daddy gets in and starts the engine. Mum gets in too, the last bag by her feet. We start driving.

“How many cars do you think we’ll see before the motorway?” Daddy asks. I guess three. Mum thinks two. Daddy says twenty-seven because he’s silly.

We don’t see any.

“Go to sleep. It’s very early and we’re going to be driving for a long time.”

I snuggle under my blanket and try to fall asleep. The radio is playing quietly. The lights on the car’s dashboard are very bright in the dark. I drift off eventually.

I wake up at a petrol station. There’s lots of lights. The sun hasn’t quite risen yet but it’s trying.

“Do you need a wee? Come and try anyway.”


We get back in the car. We drive onto the ferry and everything smells like petrol. We climb stairs until we reach the nice part of the boat, the part that has seats and carpet and doesn’t reek of diesel. We get a table near the play area as usual. I play there for a while then I get bored. I go for a walk with Mum - Daddy is trying to sleep. We wander round the shop then we go up outside. There’s water as far as I can see. It feels a bit lonely. It’s very windy too.


The toilet doors bang when I go. They’re very heavy; Mum has to help me open them.


We get back in the car. The sun is bright in Wales.

We drive.

Mum pulls out food from her bag. We’re always hungry, just not at normal mealtimes.

I read. I draw. I colour. I make up a whole story about Baa and Little Nelly going on an adventure. I start to write it down but then we stop. It’s a little café place. We use their toilet and buy bacon sandwiches. It’s tasty – and warm – but there’s lots of fat. I look out the windows. Time seems to have stopped, or maybe running at a different speed. The journey never ends.

I pull out a different book. Mum puts a Saw Doctors CD in and we sing along for a while. We get hungry again. We play I Spy. Mum’s Mary Poppins picnic bag supplies another snack; a bag of jellies, a pork pie, a piece of cucumber. We drive.

The sun starts to go down and I struggle to see my page, but I refuse to give up. I have to admit defeat when I can’t tell my red pencil from the blue. We stop for another toilet break.

I watch the streetlights flash by. Other cars whizz past. I play another game with my teddies – Little Nelly is Mary and Panda is Joseph. Baa is grey so he’s the donkey. I tie some pencils and a rubber onto Baa with my hankie. Mary and Joseph are going a long way, they must have had luggage. I stop playing that when the pencils slide out and Panda drops on the floor. My arms aren’t long enough, and Mum can’t reach. I can’t think of anything else to do so I look out the window. All I can see is cars and lights and signs. I think about asking Mum to put The Cowboy Song on again, but I fall asleep before I manage to.

When I wake up, we’re still driving. I look out the window for a while. Signposts start to have place names I recognise. Then we drive down a brightly lit high street and even though it’s shut up I know I’ve been to that Oxfam before.

Then we take another turn and all of a sudden I know exactly where we are. There’s the church and the library, the RSPCA…Barnardos…Wimpy…the station…and at last Remo’s Village. We turn there. I can almost taste the freedom. We go around the poncy roundabout, drive past Windermere Avenue and…there! Warren Drive! Daddy edges past the cars parked all along the curb and reverses into the driveway, stopping between us and Mark and Jane’s house.

I unclick my strap and get out when Mum opens the door, careful of the side of the house. My legs are stiff and I need another wee. I head towards the front door but before I make it, it is thrown open by an old woman with fair hair. I run into her arms and she holds me close.

“It’s so lovely to see you, Granny!”

Submitted: December 15, 2019

© Copyright 2021 MxB. All rights reserved.

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