Break The Child: Chapter Fourteen: Mum's Been Sitting Next to Old People
Chapter Fourteen: Mum’s Been Sitting Next to Old People
I got sent to bed early last night. Dad said that I needed an early night after the shock of the accident, but I wasn’t sleepy at all. I think he wanted to get rid of me so that the adults could talk. He got three bottles of wine out of the wine rack, three! And mum can’t even drink. I know we’re lucky to be alive but it’s no excuse for a party. Getting drunk was their treat, what did I get? Sent to bed, that’s what.
The sound of Mum being sick woke me up. And then I got in a huge panic because it was half past eight. I should have been up for school ages ago. I couldn’t get in the bathroom because Mum wasn’t using her bucket, so I ran downstairs. Imagine my surprise when I saw my dad sitting at the table. He hadn’t gone to work, and he said that, after the shock of yesterday, he’d rung in and told the school that I wouldn’t be in either. I was dead excited until I looked at my dad properly. He looked awful, he hadn’t had a wash yet and his hair was all messy, but that’s just like every Sunday morning when he has a lie in. He always looks like that, then. But this isn’t Sunday morning it’s Thursday. There was something else. He seemed very sad. I got in a huge panic because, for a minute, I thought he’d been crying. He told me not to be daft and that he’s just woken up, that’s all. What a relief that was. I’ve never seen my Dad cry and I think it would be really horrible and awkward. And anyway, he’s got a day off work, so what’s he got to cry about?
Mum went back to bed and didn’t get up until nearly lunchtime. Dad took her some breakfast up on a tray. He cut a rose out of the garden and sprayed it with water. When he took it upstairs and didn’t come straight back down, I was horrified. I thought they were going to have sex. I would just die if my parents had sex while I was downstairs, and I could hear the bed banging. Oh God, I don’t want to think about it. I think I’d rather hit a truck again. They didn’t have sex though, they were just talking lots, I could hear them, but it was only like a drone, I couldn’t hear many actual words. I did hear my name twice, but of course they’re going to talk about me, because I’m wonderful. I went into the lounge with my cereal and watched Jeremy Kyle. Flipping heck, you just wouldn’t, would you? Those people are nuts, thank God we’re normal, well kind of, until Mum goes off her rocker.
In all the excitement yesterday, I forgot that she got her test results. They were going to find out why being pregnant has sent her doo-lally. I forgot to ask how she got on. I hope she’s okay.
Right got to go for a bit, Dad’s calling me.
We had a family meeting. It was horrible. Mum has got early onset dementia. I don’t understand. I thought that was what old people, and dogs like Kali, get. How did my Mum catch it? Was it because she sat next to an old person and they breathed on her? Or is it because the baby gave it to her? I wish she hadn’t got pregnant because she was all right until then.
It can’t be that bad though because Mum didn’t cry. We sat at the table and Dad said that she’s poorly and told me what she’s got. When they told me about the baby, Mum cried buckets and that turned out to be a happy thing. Well it still is, if she got her dementia off an old person and not off the baby. Dad said that we are going to have to make some changes. When I asked what changes, he said that he didn’t know yet. Mum has to have some more tests and stuff. He said that the first one is that Mum isn’t allowed to drive anymore. I said, ‘But she can when she gets better, right?’
Dad just said, ‘We’ll see.’ That means no, but he’s just being a drama queen. They’ll give her some pills and in a couple of weeks, when she’s better, she can start driving again and everything will be back to normal. How am I going to cope for two weeks or more with Mum not being able to drive?
Dad said that we have to be very supportive of Mum and help her all we can. Well of course that means that I have to do more around the house. If she gets a headache, Dad says it’s because I don’t help her enough. But I will, because I don’t like her doing crazy things. It was funny at first, I thought it was a right laugh sometimes. but then it got worse and it got really scary. I’m going to do lots of housework, and I can iron now, too. So hopefully that will help her to get better quickly.
Mum said, ‘You won’t tell anyone, will you, Kate?’ and dad said that I had to keep it to myself and that, at this stage, the fewer people who know, the better. But Mr Hunter says that mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of and that we should talk about it, so that society accepts it.
Dad shouted at me when I told him that. ‘This isn’t a game, Kate.’
‘I know it’s not a game. I was just saying, that’s all, Flipping heck.’
I’m not even allowed to tell Sal about the baby yet. but lot’s of people know, even other mad pregnant ladies who smell bin bags and stuff. They say they want to keep it quiet until they’ve been for the scan tomorrow, but they can tell people--it's just me wot can't. I’ve known about it for ages now and I keep almost blurting out about names and stuff and then I have to shut up and Sal says, ‘What? What?’ and then I have to make something up, that I was going to say, really quick if the others are around. Now I have to keep this quiet, too. I think my parents are on a mission to explode my head by keeping too many secrets in it.
So, for my part, I have to do more housework. Check. I have to stop giving cheek. Check. I have to remember to take the bins out on a Monday. Check. Stop mum sitting next to old people so that she doesn’t catch any more dementia, check. And I have to take over feeding the cats. This was my idea and I’ve already started doing it since Mum forgot that time. Dad said, ‘Good Girl.’ Check. He said that Mum’s under an enormous amount of pressure and we have to help her as much as we can. I made them a cup of tea. Check.
But it’s not all bad news, because in two days, Mum goes for her scan. We are going to get a picture of the baby. I’m going to actually see my little brother or sister. I like Ben for a boy, don’t you?