Red Ivy

Red like the autumn leaves, fiery like the summer sun, orange as a fire blaze, sparkly, interesting, fun

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1. Going, going...

 

That’s right. Laugh. My name is Red Ivy. Hilarious right? According to my dippy mother, it’s unique, beautiful. The people at school don’t think so. Their opinion is that my name is strange and weird. I generally don’t like being around them so I hide away in the library, something else that apparently makes me odd. I don’t care, being on my own suits me.

I take after my Dad in personality traits but look exactly like my Mother. Our bright red hair can be seen around for miles and our green eyes often make people feel like we are looking right through them. A smattering a freckles across our noses completes the slightly dippy, idle look we have both acquired. People always mistake Mother as my older sister and when this happens she gets all silly and giggly, blushing prettily and fluttering her eyelashes. I always have to look away at this, a pain bursting like a quick firework in my chest.

My Dad ran away when I was seven. Most people think this is odd as it’s normally the mothers who run away. I am very protective of this secret and only tell those I know well. Those who find out through my Mother often find it an interesting topic of conversation even when I tell them that I don’t want to talk about it, it hurts too much.

I have fleeting memories of my Dad before he left us. Walking down to the river, holding his hand; sitting on his shoulders as we walked down to the carnival, me dressed as a fairy princess and him dressed as an Indian. I remember one special memory from when I was four, the day my Dad went out and came back not with a giant teddy bear, not with a dog but with a beautiful little pony, the colour of tanned suede and a pure white mane. Dad had stuck a feather in its hair and was riding it bareback, his shoes held in his hand. It was amazing.

We named the pony India and my Dad avidly spent every afternoon with her and me, me grooming her and Dad riding and feeding her. He rode her bare-back around the field behind our house in the middle of no-where. I loved India and I loved my Dad and I was so upset when he left.

 My Mother was always in the house, not doing the normal mother-y things like cooking but painting her toenails and calling her friends, going out to parties late into the night, disappearing into bars till midnight. This caused terrible rows between my parents, my Dad yelling that she should be home looking after me and her, slightly drunk, screaming that that was what he was there for. At this point I buried under my covers, blocking my ears and humming the theme tune to Tracey Beaker.

It was on the evening of my seventh birthday that the biggest fight my parents had ever had broke out. I had had twelve of my friends round (I had friend’s back then) and my Mother was meant to be there, playing games with us and  helping me blow out the candles on my butterfly-shaped birthday cake. But instead of being there for me and spending her daughter’s special day with her, she disappeared to a bar with her outrageous friends. My Dad tried his best but I could tell he was furious from the ways he pursed his lips, looking at his watch.

It was just as the party was ending and all the parents were coming to pick up my little friends that my Mother stumbled through the front door, a friend on each side, supporting her with their arms. She was singing a very warbled version of ‘Happy Birthday’, tripping over her own feet as she tried to push towards me, embracing me in an awkward, one-sided hug, her gripping my shoulders for balance and me looking panicked over my Mother’s shoulder, trying to pull away. That was when my Dad burst.

 

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