A Child's Viewby Sulthana Begum, 17
The dollhouse is green. My big sister says it’s blue but I know she’s wrong. It is green. It’s green on the outside with white colour borders around the window, which is made of glass, even though my big sister says it’s actually plastic. She doesn’t know anything. Did Daddy give her the dollhouse? No! She’s jealous, that’s why she makes up stuff.
The door is big and red with painted flowers on the side. Let’s take Bob the Builder and Barbie inside. Open the door. Wooh, red carpet like the roses Daddy got Mummy. And little stairs with tiny, tiny steps. Bob the Builder can’t go up because he’s too fat. But Barbie can.
He’s still very tired so I put him in the sitting room. He can sleep on the sofa like Daddy does sometimes when he and Mummy shout and shout and then I cry. Then Daddy says sorry. He never sleeps in the bedroom and then the next day he gets us a present, like the dollhouse for me, even though he should be saying sorry to Mummy.
Suddenly I hate the dollhouse. It makes me think of Mummy and Daddy shouting and now Bob the Builder doesn’t fit in the sofa. That means he’ll have to move out and I don’t want him to. So I squash him and squash him on the hard, white and plastic sofa but Bob is hard too and he won’t fit.
Crack. The sofa breaks. I throw Bob across the room and Bob breaks, too. I don’t care that Bob isn’t mine but my brother’s. Now I start crying. Mummy comes in.
Next day, I’m in school.
I don’t like this conversation. My Mummy and Daddy shout at each other. Will they get a divorce too? I worry. What is divorce anyway?
When I get home, I look for Daddy. He’s not there. I leave Mummy to put the coats away and run up to the room. I look for Bob the Builder. He’s still in the same spot, broken in two pieces. The bits remind me about Avril’s definition of divorce. I run to the kitchen and the tool drawer. I pull it out, find the superglue inside and take it.
Talk. Not shout. I slide out of Daddy’s arm, grinning and run up the stairs, chortling. It’s going to be okay. We’ll fix Bob the Builder, then Daddy will stay home forever and ever and we will all live happily ever after.
Bob the Builder is still in the same place, still broken. I grab Barbie from the dollhouse bed. I walk her, click-clack down the stairs in her pink high-heels. Then click-clack across the floor, outside and click-clack to Bob.
Bob just sits where he is. I add, “You just take the magic glue and you’ll be up in a tick.” I’m not sure what ‘up in a tick’ means, but my doctor says it all the time. It makes me feel better, so I think it might make Bob feel better, too. Then I hear loud voices. I freeze. It’s Mummy and Daddy.
I cover my ears. I don’t want to hear it.The voices rise and fall. I sit next to the dollhouse, waiting for Daddy to come and fix Bob. I sit and wait and watch the clock on the wall. The long hand moves tick tock, tick tock. And the mouse run up the clock, I think in my mind, remembering what Miss Sondri read to us at Literacy Hour.
Nobody comes up. I don’t know how long I’ve been sitting here but the voices are gone. I can hear my little brother wailing and the TV blaring, but that’s it. And nobody’s come up to fix Bob the Builder. And suddenly, I realise what this means. Daddy isn’t going to come and fix poor Bob. And if Daddy won’t, then all the king’s men and all the king’s horses can’t put Bob the Builder back together either. It’s all my fault. I have a very bad feeling that Mummy and Daddy are arguing again because of me. Because I broke Bob. I cry. Quietly. And this time nobody comes to ask what is the matter. They can’t hear me. Because I can hear Mummy and Daddy shouting again. And then my baby brother starts bawling his head off again.
Dinner is very quiet. I don’t say anything in case it makes them start quarrelling again. After dinner it is quiet too. Even when it is bedtime, it is quiet. I don’t know if this quietness is good anymore, if they made up or if they just sent each other to Coventry like Avril does all the time to anyone she doesn’t like. She says her big sister calls it sending to Coventry but all she does is not talk to whoever she’s sent to Coventry. May be she pretends they are in Coventry and that’s why she doesn’t talk to them although they’re not really in Coventry. It hurts my brain to think this, so I go to bed early. My big sister comes and tells me a story. She doesn’t always tell me a story, just sometimes when she feels like it.
It’s about a prince and his daddy the King and his mummy the Queen and a wicked witch. The wicked witch curses the King and Queen so they think they are each other’s enemies. And the little prince is scared for his mummy and daddy so he finds a good wizard to kill the witch and break the spell.
It starts again. Muffled voices loaded with anger and spite. I can’t stand it anymore. I run to my sister’s room. She’s wide awake. The whites of her eyes gleam softly in the dark. I crawl in beside her. Normally, she will tell me to get lost. Normally, I go to my parents bed when I’m scared in the night.
She lets me. I hold her hand because I am scared. We lie in the silence, listening to World War III start on the room below us. I cry myself softly to sleep.
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