Red Ivy

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


6. Harry


My Mother returned early that night and she wasn’t alone. She was walking about a metre ahead of some guy and as she approached the door I could hear what she was saying to one of her icky friends.

‘… told you I’d shag someone soon… yeah, he’s so drop dead gorgeous… oh sugar there’s a light on… yeah, call you tomorrow. Bye.’ She flipped up the cover of her phone, turning around to wait for her new, shall we say, boyfriend. She pressed her finger against his lips, kissing him softly. A pain, greater than I’d ever experienced from her kissing someone, stabbed through my chest and I felt like going out there and telling her to stop and him to bog off.

Mother put her key in the door, giggling at someone hilarious that the new guy had said. It seemed like it was starting again but this time she had a husband to pretend that everything was okay to. My blood boiled as she came through to the lounge, laughing gaily at my attempts to drag Gerry’s cot down. She introduced me to Harry, something she had always done even though I had no interest in knowing these people. She told me that she and Harry would be going up to her room and she’d see me in the morning. She kissed me on the cheek, her powdery cheek brushing against mine. I recoiled and pain flashed across her face, surprising me even more. As she and Harry disappeared up the stairs, already trying to take his top off, I watched her and noticed that she looked happy. I don’t know why but even though I knew she was abandoning any thought of jay and I was sad about that, it was good to be back with the Mother I knew how to act around.

I thought that things would be okay the next morning. I thought that it would be fine and that I wouldn’t have to tell Jay about Harry. But, again, nothing ever goes the way you want it to go, especially with me.

I had woken up Gerry and given her some warm milk, making sure she drank it all before sitting her on the floor with some wooden blocks. While she fiddled around with them, I made Mother a cup of coffee and tiptoed up the stairs, expecting Harry to be gone by then as most of Mother’s boyfriends normally always were. But I walked into the room to see Mother entangled in Harry’s arms, both of them fast asleep. I could not stifle a little gasp, causing Mother to wake up, pressing her finger to her lips. She smiled at the cup of coffee in my hands and I handed it to her before backing out of the door just as Harry started to wake.

Gerry began to whimper in the lounge so I went and played peek-a-boo with her. She was at the age of eighteen months and was just beginning to walk one step. I was practising her walking to me when I heard a key in the lock. I froze, looking up the stairs to my Mother’s room. I plopped Gerry into her cot and was on the second step when Jay stepped in, calling out a cheery hello when he saw me.

I didn’t know what to say, what to do, so I smiled at him, hoping that it was not a grimace. I mumbled something about checking on Mother and hurtled up the stairs to her room. I knocked on the door, knowing I wouldn’t want to see what was behind that door. I heard a sigh and then my Mother telling me to go away immediately and she’d talk to me later.

‘You don’t understand,’ I said desperately. ‘Jay’s home.’ 


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