I was ten years old when Dad said we were moving house.
Tea time were sitting at the kitchen table eating bacon and potatoes when it was first mentioned. ‘What do you think then would you like to move house?’
‘We’d be living near your nanny, and there is a school right across the road from the house!’
‘My school is across from this house’ I reply.
I carried on pushing my bacon round my plate, without speaking, there’s a family that I know they want a house swap with us but if you don’t want to go we won’t go’
Yeah right i thought. ‘But my school is across the road here Dad’ I say again.
I like my school, and our Pam and the kids live here’
‘Well it’s only a bus ride away.
They can sleep over.’
What he forgot to mention is it was across the road from the labor club he drank in.
I put my fork down and stood up. ‘Come here and give your Dad a love.’
He held his arms out and pulled me onto his knee ‘Come on smile for your Dad’. I smiled weakly and so it was we were moving away from everything I knew.
On the day of the move Mam was still packing boxes old yea chests with sharp metal edges I sat in the back garden with my dog lady listening to Dad and his brother Frank laughing in the kitchen. I don’t remember a van there but must have been one.
I remember uncle Frank’s Mk 1 pale blue scruffy escort stuffed with bags the bird’s cage on the back seat with all the old cushions of the sofa. The yellow topped Formica kitchen table tied upside down on top of the roof rack. I remember staring at the paint stained legs of the table as the rain started to fall.
Our old house was across from the woods, ponds with tadpole’s.
Fields with horses and the pig farm and apple orchards everywhere there was green.
I couldn’t believe the difference.
‘Dad I want to go home’.
’Don’t be so bloody daft we are home’ he said taking my dog from me.
Then with a slam of the door he locked her in the outside brick shed!
I screamed I was near hysterical ‘Please Dad please don’t lock lady in there she’ll be scared.’ I pulled at his jacket but he pushed me off and snapped the lock shut on the bolt! I could heat lady scratching to get out and she start to whine. I hung onto his coat.’I’ll look after her Dad’ I continued to plead ‘She doesn’t know were she is!’ He grabbed my arm.
‘STOP IT NOW! he road back handing me with a slap knocking me onto the wet soggy grass.
‘She’s bloody staying in there until I get back all the doors are open in the house and your Mam is sorting out she’ll get out and run off.
‘Now go help your mammy unpack and I’ll let her out when I get back from the club. I’m going for a pint with our Frank.’
That’s when I realized why we’d moved. The labor club were Mam and Dad drank was across the main road. I could see it from the back door. I sat against the shed door sobbing in the rain watched him walk away over the club to get drunk again.
Lady cried inside and I cried outside. Mam opened the back door ‘Get in here and help me unpack.’
‘No!’ I screamed I’m staying out here! Until Dad comes back.’
‘I hate you I hate you both I shout.
I hated her, hated Dad!
But most of all I hated this house. I stood at the window looking over at the club all lit up by spot lights around the car park.
But eventually I do.
Daylight comes through the window and I jump up still wearing damp clothes from the day before looked out of my window to the back garden, the shed door swinging to and fro in the wind. I run downstairs Mam stands stiring tea in the tiny kitchen.
’Ask your bloody Dad!’
I run into the living room were he is lying on the sofa propped up from the night before. ‘Well tell her then!’ says Mam from the kitchen.
I feel suddenly sick.
’She’ll be back’ he said with a false smile and a tear spilled from my eye. ‘Where?’
I asked again
‘He let her out last night pissed bastard, and she ran off.’
I’m sobbing now. ‘Lets go find her now!
She might get run over on that big road,’
‘Dad please, please get up she doesn’t know were she is!’
‘I’ve looked’ he is saying. But he’s lying he is still drunk.
I pulled on my shoes and run out of the house. I’m crying so hard I can’t see.
For hours I call her name, walked up and down the big main road, over to Nanny goat park then up and down the back streets every corner I turned I expected to see her. She isn’t just my dog shes my best friend
The lady from the flying horse pub comes out and asks if I’m okay?
‘Have you seen my dog her name is Lady she’s a whippet, we just moved here she doesn’t know her way home, my Dad let her out last night and I cant find her’ I looked up at her still sobbing.
‘No my darling were do you live?’
‘Does your mammy know your out, where’s your coat?’
I cant answer her.
‘Poor doll’ I hear her say as I walked away. Eventually it goes dark and I walk back to see if she has found her way to the house. She hasn’t.
Every day for a week I refuse to eat or go to look at my new school I want lady back and I wanted to go home.
Everyone else carry’s on as normal.
Then one afternoon Dad comes in with a letter he sits me on the stairs and gives it to me to read he tells me it is from the vet.
Who would look after me now?
Years later in one of their many arguments Mam shouted out that Dad had some girl from the labor club type that vets letter out to stop me from looking for her.
The night of the move Dad had come back drunk he’d opened the door of the shed lady had run from him and in front of a car on the main road. She hadn’t been killed