Mummy and Me


As soon as they saw the front of the train come whooshing out of the tunnel, all the mummies would grab hold of the wrists of their little girls and yank them back to the other side of the yellow line.  To safety.  It was the same for mummy and me, sort of.  The only difference was that, with us, it was always the little girl who pulled the mummy back so as she wouldn’t get slapped hard on the legs by the clanking train.

We used to go on the train to mummy’s appoinkment.  If the appoinkment went well, and if it wasn’t raining, we’d go to Waterlow Park afterwards and mummy would push me on the swing till I could nearly touch the sky.  Else we’d take a bus to the top of the hill and go to the cafe where there were pages from old newspapers on the walls and mummy would tell my fortune from the bits left-over at the bottom of her coffee cup.  Once, a long time ago, the appoinkment went really well, and we did both: the park and the cafe, and when we got home it was nearly time for Emmerdale.

Those times when the appoinkment didn’t go well we’d get back on the train and go straight home to watch Room for Improvement on the telly with the curtains drawn.  And mummy would open a bottle of cider and then she’d cry and I’d try not to move till she was feeling better.  And then she’d say I was her angel and she didn’t know where she’d be without me and would I get two cheese and tomato pizzas out of the freezer compartment and put them in the microwave.

We were all right, mummy and me.  I loved her more than the whole wide world, and she loved me back, double.  We didn’t need nobody else.  And then Mrs Isaacs said I had to go to school.

I didn’t see the point of school, I didn’t.  It wasn’t a nice place.  The rooms were too big and it was noisy and my head hurt cos there were too many different things going on.  It wasn’t like being at home where there was just mummy and me and the telly.  The other children were always racing around the playground at break-time and none of them wanted to play with me cos I didn’t have the right jumper on.  It was supposed to be a pink sweatshirt with a Barbie on the front but mummy and me didn’t know how to get one, so I wore a knitted cardigan with a Scottie dog on the back that looked lovely in our flat but didn’t look nice at school cos the big windows there made the light different.  Everything turned funny under that light.  It was too bright, mummy said.

The other thing about school was that the teachers got cross if I didn’t sit in a circle with the other children and listen to the story.  But I didn’t feel like sitting down when there were toys that needed to be tidied away and dirty footprints that needed to be wiped off the floor.  And I hated the stories cos they were all about things that couldn’t happen, like pumpkins turning into carriages and houses being made out of gingerbread and geese laying golden eggs.





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