Dad’s picking us up from school, because he hasn’t got a job anymore. He’s stood at the back of the playground and is dragging his foot along the tarmac to try and get something off his shoe.
I walk up to Dad; he’s really red and angry and is blaming standing in dog crap on Margaret Thatcher.
We get in car. Dad gets pooh all over his hand when he tries to take his shoe off. He tells Jenny she’ll have to do the gears while he sticks his hand out of the sunroof. Jenny’s used to doing the gears. Sometimes she sits on Dad’s knee and helps drive back from Nanny Pam’s house, when I’m eleven I’ll be allowed to help drive too.
I love it when Dad picks me up from school; he plays his tapes really loud in the car and everyone looks at us. Even though Dad’s got his hand stuck out the sunroof with dog crap on it, I pretend I’m in a music video by resting my arm on the window and looking moody, just in case Tom from my class walks past.
When we drive up to our house we notice that Grandad’s car is parked outside, Dad says, ‘Bollocks’. Sometimes when we see Grandad’s car parked outside we drive off until he’s gone. Last time, we hid round the back of the Happy Shopper eating crisps until it was safe to go back. This time, Mum’s already let him in, and Dad needs to wash his hand, so there’s no escape.
When we walk in Grandad looks at Dad who’s holding his hand in the air and trying not to touch anything.
Grandad says, ‘Is that shit on your hand, you bloody idiot’.
Jenny whispers to me, ‘Grandads a bloody idiot’.
Dad tells her off for swearing.
Grandad and Candy have come round to talk about my Aunty Mandy’s wedding tomorrow. He says he’s written a speech that will help him get a few things off his chest about this family. Mum has her head in her hands.
Grandad gets up to leave, Dad shakes his hand and says, ‘Good luck tomorrow, mate’. When he’s gone, Dad tells us he used his dog pooh hand to shake Grandad’s. Me and Jenny laugh our heads off.
My Aunty Mandy has come round, and Me and Jenny are spying on her and Mum in the kitchen. Mandy’s smoking and crying, and Mum is eating a Penguin.
Mandy says she doesn’t think she can marry a man who eats a McDonalds on a plate with knife and fork, and say’s, ‘Sorry, love’ every time he farts.
Mum asks, ‘What do you call a happy penguin?’
Mandy says, ‘Fuck off, you’re not even listening’
I whisper to Jenny, ‘A Pen-grin’
Jenny says she’s happy that the wedding might be off, because she hates wearing dresses, and says being a bridesmaid is child labour and against her beliefs.
I tell her that I’m happy too, but I’m not. I really want to be a bridesmaid tomorrow. Nanny Pam has even promised to come round in the morning, and curl my hair with her hot rollers.
I go into Mum and Dad’s room and cry while looking in the mirror like they do in music videos…
Read more of Holly’s stories by checking out her blog ‘the Coventry Conch’
Artwork by Davide Della Casa