Charlie Barker's life is very dull. Her mums always of on holiday with her latest boyfriend. Her nan is always down the pub with her pals and Charlie is left looking after her mentally disabled little brother. But when Grace walks into her life things suddenly become much brighter.


5. Park

I could tell something was up the moment I got home from school on Thursday. Grandma was buttoning Clyde’s coat up in the hall. She looked up and smiled at me. “Come on Charlie. Put your bag away we’re going to the park.” I wasn’t sure what was going on. Grandma never took us out. I wondered if we were going to the park outside Clyde’s bedroom window. But we took the car to a large adventure park. When we got out Clyde looked like he didn’t know what to do with himself. “Clyde. Would you like a swing?” I asked. Clyde nodded. I sat him down on the swing  and moved it slowly backwards and forwards. Clyde started humming, a sound he makes when he’s happy. I pushed him a little harder and he hummed louder. So I pushed him harder but he started shaking. “Sorry Clyde.” I apologized slowing down. After a little while grandma came over. “Here love I’ll take him. You go off and play.” I wandered of not sure what to do. I’d only been to the park before once. I was five and Clyde was four. We were supposed to stay there all day but after twenty minutes Clyde had a freak out. Apparently a large dog came bounding over and knocked him down. I was a little worried a large dog would knock him over again, but there was a no dogs aloud sign. I came across the kidie playground. A little boy was shouting from the top of the slide for his mum. Who was holding a screaming baby. I went over to the little boy. “Are you ok?” I asked. “No. My mummy is telling me to come down but I’m scared.” I thought about it. “Well. How about I hold your hand whilst you go down?” He nodded. So I held his hand whilst he slid down. He landed on the bottom with a bump, and startled giggling. His mother came over. “Oh thank you dear. I’ve been trying to get him to come down for ages. You were very good with him.”
“Thanks I have to help out with my little brother at home.”
“Well could you watch Peter whilst I deal with Kate?” I nodded and she went off. I ran around after Peter. He was a loud manic little boy. Running around yelling. Pretending to be a dog, a pirate and a cowboy. I joined in, pretending to be a cat, a sailor and a Red Indian. Peter’s mum came back and sat on the bench. After what seemed like no time grandma came over. “Charlie!” She called. “Come on Charlie it’s getting a bit noisy over there. I don’t want Clyde freaking out.”
“Ok. Bye Peter. I’ve got to go now.”
“Bye Charlie thanks for playing with me.” I ran off to join grandma and Clyde, who was staring at a bird. (Well he was looking in that direction). We got in the car and drove home. Grandma took Clyde upstairs and got him ready for bed. I sat watching the TV biting my nails. I’d had a fun day but I still couldn’t help felling something was wrong. When grandma came down she sat next to me. “You’re a good girl Charlie. You’re especially good with Clyde. Beater then your mother. Beater than me with your mother.” She sighed. “Look Charlie what I’m trying to say is. You’ve always been grownup. But right now I need you to be even more grownup.” I turned to look at her. “Why?”
“Charlie your mum isn’t coming home tomorrow.”
“When is she coming home?”
“I don’t know. But it’s most likely she won’t ever be coming back. Not ever.” I stared at her, tears filing my eyes. “B-but why?” She cupped my face in her hands. “She said she was in love. I know she’s said that before but this time it seemed genuine. I tried to tell her she should come back for you and Clyde. But she said you’d understand when you’re older.”
“I don’t want to understand!” I yelled jumping up. I ran out the door and upstairs. I threw myself on to my bed and screamed into my pillow. I was sick sick sick of everything. Sick of having to be quiet. Sick of having to act like a grownup. Yet being treated like a child. Sick of being used and abandoned. “If I fell sick of it all how do you feel?” I whispered through the wall to Clyde.

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