Thursday, October 27, 2011
Part one can be read here and part two here .
Da is far from happy, and I can hardly say as I blame him. When he waived us off on the train for England, he (and everybody else, myself included) thought it was only for a two-week jaunt to see Ma's sister, my Auntie Agnes in Yorkshire.
Ma never breathed a word about us leaving Scotland for good.
Mind, if Da's surprised, 'tis nothing compared to Auntie Agnes' shock. 'Twas only on the final day of our second week here, when Auntie Agnes enquired as to what time we should be setting off for the station, that Ma finally saw fit to clue her in as to the plan. To be fair, it's possible Ma didn't even know of it herself, before she happened to wake up that morning.
Ever the impulsive one, not to mention determined, there's no swaying Ma once she takes the bit between her teeth. We're staying, and that's that.
Did I mention Auntie Agnes, Uncle Ray and my six cousins, all live in a two-bedroom, back-to-back terrace house, with no hot running water, and only one (shared by neighbours) out-door loo?
It's not the sleeping four-to-a-bed arrangement I mind quite so much, as us always having to share it with Pee-The-Bed, Big-Bladder-Sandra every night. Besides, I have my darling Bobby waiting for me at home, as well as my mates and me being all set to begin our new school term next week.
Da's yelling so loud, I hear every word. The beeps interrupt. "Hang on, Alec," says Ma, as she thrusts another tuppence through the slot, "Will you shoosh up, and listen to me, now?"
Someone raps on the pane for us to hurry it up, there's a queue of three standing in line outside, all ear-wiggling it in on the conversation. We avoid eye-contact, and turn our backs.
"Aye, happen so," says she, "But you'll need to catch us, first."
I wish she wouldn't goad him on like that, he's mad enough at her as it is.
"Och, okay then, suit yourself, there's the beeps again, I have to go.. What? Eh? Hello? He-llo?"
The connection severed, we walk back to Auntie Agnes' house, Ma smirking all the way.
"So, are they coming down, then?"
She shrugs, "They'll have to, won't they?"
"Ma, where will they sleep?"
May is five years older than me, Ian seven, and they too have their school and their own friends to think about. Da has his job. And what about our house, all our stuff?
I'm wishing we'd never come down here in the first place. Auntie Agnes' house is smelly and damp, there's never enough food in my belly, and nobody speaks right, half the time they can't even understand what I'm saying. I just want us to go on home.
Ma and Da continue to talk, she calls his works office twice weekly, and they fetch him to the 'phone. He has notice to serve, our furniture to sell, and bundles of other stuff to tie up before coming down to join us. May writes she's seen Bobby with another girl, not that I believe her. I just wish I had his address to write to, to tell him why I've gone missing.
My cousins start school again, but I don't go. Ma tells me as we're moving to our own place soon, it's best to wait 'til Da gets here, and she'll enroll the Sib's and me properly into our new school then, one nearby to where we'll live.
Time has never dragged so heavy.