Things just aren’t the same anymore, since Dad died. The biggest shock was how it wasn’t the same for me, but time still marched on for the rest of the nation. I’m sitting at home trying to focus on the news, and I don’t care if there’s been flooding or we’re out of favour with Bush. I’m waiting for the announcement that there’ll be a one-hour programme on his life and his achievements, with his best friends speaking and Stephen Fry narrating, and a minute of silence across the whole country.
But everyone keeps doing the things they do every day. They don’t dress in black, and shed a tear. Mrs. Wilson, my form tutor, said she was ‘sorry for my trouble, dear,’ obviously thinking about how all my exams are down the bog now. She offered me a jelly baby—when I feel like there’s a lump in my throat the size of Wales—and then hurried along in her ugly old-lady shoes to tell off a group of Year Eights who soaped up the mirrors in the loos.
My friends tried. They were all ‘Oh, Milly, we’re so SORRY,’ but after a week or so they were back to normal. Even Jessica’s fine, and she’s been my best friend and known my dad since we were kids. They’re sitting there joking about who they’d do out of some stupid band, and I’m curled up on the green seats in the library, staring at the covers of the ‘B’ books without actually reading any of the titles.
Mum’s another story. I want to be the one to crumble under the pressure. I want to hide under my duvet all day. And instead, I’m the one walking the dog, trying to keep stuff tidy, trying to stop her smoke so much—weird, huh, what killed Dad is what Mum’s stepped up on—trying to produce some semblance of normality.
It has been four weeks since my Dad died, and nothing will ever be the same again.
For those confused: 'loo' and 'bog' are English synonyms for 'toilet'.
Inspired by a Paul Cookson poem.