“Are you ready for school, Deirdre?” Mum asks poking her head around the bedroom door.
“Oh, Mum. Did you get off work early?” I ask, surprised to see her.
“No, I took the day off today.”
“I’m getting married. I have invited Stella to the wedding because it was her birthday yesterday, but you are going to school.” She closes the door.
I’m crushed. I am in shock. How can she be getting married, she doesn’t even go on dates. I hurry and finish queezing into my school uniform. The buttons of my blouse stretch tight over my growing breasts. Mum is cross at me for growing out of the blouse she made new for me at Christmas. But I can’t help it. She promised to sew me a new one at the weekend. Now she will have to ask her new husband first. I probably will have to do without. Maybe she will get some material and I can make it myself.
I rush down the stairs to our messy living room. Stella is all dressed up in her Sunday best church clothes, twirling insanely around to make the skirt of her dress flare out. “Nah, nah na nah na, I get to go to the wedding and you don’t.” she taunts.
“I’d rather go to school anyway.” I reply sulkily, I won’t let her get the better of me.
Mum is drinking Nescafé instant coffee and smoking one of her favourite Craven A filter tip cigarettes. Her ashtray is full to overflowing and the air in the room is blue with smoke, she must have been up for a long time.
“Who are you getting married to?” I ask.
“Not that its any of your business but his name is Ted.”
“Who is he?”
“I work with him at the bank, he’s the night watchman, you met him a couple of weeks ago.”
“I don’t remember meeting him.”
“Yes you do.” Stella pipes up, “Mum brought him to the house to meet Grandma and Grandpa.”
“That old man? You can’t be marrying him.”
“Who I choose to marry is none of your business.”
“But he’s older than Grandpa.” I can hardly believe it. I’m angry with her.
“Things are going to change around here,” she announces tartly, “You will learn to show respect.”
Respect. Is she out of her mind? How on earth am I supposed to respect an old man who, grabbed and squeezed my breasts before I was able to push him away.
As usual, there is nothing I can do about it. I button up my blazer and stomp out of the house where welcoming cool damp presses against my burning face, the thick fingers of fog thankfully render me invisible.