• Childhood,  Family

    Sailing Sundays

    Every Sunday afternoon, as a young boy, Father would take me out to the hills where we would set our boats to sail on the lake. It was the only time we were alone together. We never spoke much, and when we did, it was like talking to a stranger. When he won, he gave a solid nod of his head. When I won, he gave me a firm pat on the back. I remember a warmth spreading through my bones, particularly wonderful in the height of winter when the wind blew so fierce, all I wanted to do was cling tight to Father. We never did much hugging in…

  • Childhood,  Family

    Egg and Spoon Race

    We were sitting on a metal spoon like an egg, unsteady, any sudden movement about to finish us off. We weren’t going to reach the finish line without smashing on the ground, congealed and ruined. Dad was about to leave, he was ready to go. Mum was packing his suitcase. Maisy and I kept quiet as always. We couldn’t do anything to stop it. And then something happened, that to the rest of the world was already an egg and spoon race gone horribly wrong. But to us, a second chance. A virus had broken out. People were dropping like flies around the world. The news was on in the…

  • Childhood,  Friendship

    A Drop of Kindness

    I heard the shouting through my bedroom wall one night. It was a woman’s voice. She sounded like how my mum did when my older brother had done something stupid. I fell asleep to the sound of her slurring words. The next night, as I was drifting off, I heard a small, soft voice. It was a girl. She sounded like me. Her sad singing, like a lullaby, sent me off to sleep. Smash. Thud. Bang. I got used to the shouting and crying after a while. I thought we’d have decent neighbours when we moved like our last ones. It was all Dad’s fault. He didn’t lose his job.…

  • Childhood,  Friendship

    Goodbye, Friend

    My brother, George, never had many friends. It wasn’t that he was shy, he was just direct, a straight-talker, and people didn’t like that. He knew when to speak and when to observe. He raised his hand in class when he knew the answer, but if a teacher ever picked on him at random, he’d say, “obviously, I don’t know the answer or I’d have raised my hand”. Teachers didn’t like that. They said he had an attitude. Anyone under the age of eighteen who says things how they are has an attitude. George never had many friends, but he did have Zippy. A treasured pal he received on his…

  • Childhood,  Family

    The Captain

    Rugby was my stronghold, my fortress. It was rugby that gave me escape when Dad called again to say his business trip was going to be extended by another week. His whole life was a business trip. It was rugby that transported me to another world when Mum accidentally knocked the cork out of the wine bottle and accidentally slugged the contents down. And it was rugby that took my mind off my whimpering little sister that wanted her daddy and mummy back. The game gave me protection, hope. It let me blow off steam, it allowed me to talk to people whose only problem was where to go and…