The Visit

I don’t understand why Mum and Dad always argue about where to go for Christmas
because Granddad Joe and Granddad Pat are both really nice. They never ask me
what I want and they keep saying that I’m not a baby anymore I’m a big boy but sometimes I think they are fibbing because all the labels in my clothes say 6 -7 years  and I am eight and three quarters. When Dad says that we are going to Granddad Joe’s again this year, Mum looks really cross and I know that she will tell me off later for no reason at all.

       I like going up to Granddad Joe’s because I can watch all the lorries on the motorway and I like seeing the giant red man who Dad says is called the Angel of the North which is a stupid name because everyone knows that angels are girls. The last time we went to Granddad’s we played I Spy and who could see the most red cars in two minutes and other games but this time Mum keeps telling me to be quiet and when I ask Dad he doesn’t even answer.  I wish Jeff was here but Mum says he is too busy at college and although he isn’t my real brother I don’t like it when Dad calls him names because I know that Mum will get extra cross then.

       It takes ages to get to Granddad’s and Dad tells me when the car clock says fourteen we are nearly there. It gets to almost fifteen before I see the purple door and when we go in Granddad Joe is waiting and he lifts me up almost to the ceiling and shouts, ‘hello my little pickle.’  He smells of cigarettes and tar soap and I like the way his whole face smiles. After that he shakes hands with Dad and nods at Mum. I think I asked Dad once why Granddad never shakes hands with Mum and he said it was grown-up stuff which didn’t really answer my question.

       Granddad’s house always smells funny like my trousers did when Mum left them in the washing machine for three days because she forgot about them (which Anna my nanny never would).  And his house isn’t like ours at all because it’s really small and only has three bedrooms and there is another house right next door and we can hear people talking if Granddad’s TV is off.  Every room is a different colour too and I want my bedroom to be blue like Granddad’s but when I ask Mum about it she says no. Granddad also has loads of pictures of animals and birds on the walls and I wish Mum would let me put some up in my room because they make the rooms at Granddad’s feel happy. Aunty Josephine lives in the house too but she doesn’t look like Dad, she is really fat. Once I overheard Mum tell her friend Chloe that she wouldn’t be seen dead in Josephine’s clothes and so I asked Aunty Josephine why she wore dead people’s clothes and Mum’s face went all red when she asked me what I meant. Mum told me off in the car on the way home which wasn’t fair because I told the truth and Mum is always telling me not to tell fibs.

       On Christmas Eve Granddad Joe and I do lots of things not like when I visit Granddad Pat who only wants to play Scrabble which I never win because it’s really hard.  We play cards and Cluedo and Granddad Joe draws some funny pictures which I copy. He is really good at drawing people and buildings and things like that. Then we go for a walk and I talk about the shops and we visit the bakers and I eat two buns and promise not to tell Mum. When we get home he lets me talk for ages, which Mum never does, and I tell him about school and my friends and my favourite computer games. When I ask to watch TV a bit longer Mum just looks at me over her glasses and I stamp my feet really hard on the stairs when I go to bed.

        The next day Mum is cross again because I want to open some presents and the clock only says five ten but Dad lets me open two and then he says I have go to back to sleep.  Later Granddad says he loves the purple socks with skeletons on them and I think Aunty Josephine likes the pink and purple scarf but she doesn’t smile so I don’t know for sure and Mum chose that anyway not me. After bacon sandwiches with brown sauce, I watch a cowboy movie with Granddad and when I ask him lots of questions he gets a bit cross but he hugs me anyway.

        We eat Christmas lunch at one o’clock because Granddad says it is his house and why should things be different just for one day.  We eat in the other room and first we pull the crackers then we put on the hats and then we read out the jokes. I don’t understand my joke, ‘Why does the skeleton go to the New Year’s Eve party? He has no body to go with’ and when I say that it’s wrong because my science teacher Mrs Baxter says that a skeleton isn’t alive, Dad and Granddad start laughing and my face feels a bit hot and Dad leans over and ruffles my hair. When Mum doesn’t put her hat on Dad whispers something and when she comes back from the kitchen her eyes look funny and a bit red.  I like the roast potatoes the best and the gravy second best and I really like it when Granddad puts something on the Christmas pudding and makes blue flames dance all over it.

       After lunch Granddad says we all have to watch the Queen speaking and Mum sighs really loudly. The programme is boring but when Granddad suddenly shouts out ‘No Anne, the Queen Mother wasn’t married to Charles’ he makes me jump and Dad touches his arm and Aunty Josephine says, ‘It’s alright Dad.’ A few minutes later Granddad shouts again, ‘I’ve done it Anne, isn’t that great?’ and when I ask Mum who Anne is Granddad tells me to be quiet because Her Majesty is speaking. When Mum whispers that she was my Grandma I feel confused because Dad told me that she is in a place called heaven and not in Granddad’s house.

       After that we have some mince pies and Dad puts something in his coffee which smells really horrible like the stuff in the bathroom at home and Granddad says it is called whisky and that I will like it when I’m older. Then Granddad laughs and says ‘I know you hate it Anne, I haven’t forgotten’ and Dad’s face scrunches up and he asks Aunty Josephine if Dad has seen a doctor and she says that he wouldn’t go anyway which Dad would know if he visited more often.  I hate it when they shout at each other and Mum makes them go into the kitchen and then I can hear her shouting too. Granddad Joe doesn’t seem to notice though and he smiles at me and pats the sofa and I am happy when he puts his arm around me though his body sticks through his big jumper which isn’t very comfortable but then he starts humming a song which sounds really nice. 

        When Mum pulls me off the sofa my eyes feel a bit sticky but I can see that Dad has his head on Granddad’s chest and he is shouting, ‘call an ambulance Josephine’ and I try to go to Granddad but Mum’s arm is really strong.  Then she takes me into the other room but I want to stay with Granddad and she says, ‘you can’t honey’ and I know something is wrong because she hasn’t ever called me that. I hear someone at the front door and then footsteps run down the hall and I really need to see Granddad and Dad but Mum won’t let me leave. Then I hear voices outside the door but I can’t hear what they are saying and I struggle really hard and run to the window. Granddad is on a funny bed in  a white van with a flashing light and Dad gets in with him and I hear the ‘de-dah, de-dah’ sound as it drives away.  Mum says that it will be alright but I know she is fibbing because she isn’t cross and she looks a bit sad.

        It’s almost dark when I hear the front door open and I rush out to see Granddad but only Dad is in the hall and his mouth looks funny and his eyes look smaller and they are all red and then he hugs me so tight that it hurts a bit and I am scared because Granddad isn’t here and when I ask Dad where he is he just looks at Mum and I don’t understand why but I start to cry.

[This is my latest University assignment (got a great grade too!).  Let me know what you think!]

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Categories: Just Stories

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5 replies

  1. This is great! I agree with Samuel, not a word felt out of place. You deserved the good grade 😉

  2. Great story Sall, not a word feels out of place. Have you read ‘Room’ That was all written with a first person child narrator too. Not an easy thing to do. You nailed it !!

  3. A very touching story, you certainly were inside the childs head

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