Ellie was nine and didn’t want to go. She never liked going there. The dog always smelled and was continually bothering the cat. All that meowing, hissing, growling and barking made her feel anxious. Surely, keeping two animals in such a tiny flat is cruel, especially with six children there, too. No wonder the cat and dog are so discontented and fractious – hardly surprising.
Ellie’s aunt, Lily, was strict and unkind. Ellie never liked her. She was harsh and emotionless, or so it seemed. She had a wicked streak in her, always telling off her young niece for biting her nails. She would rub nasty Germolene* onto the ends of Ellie’s fingers, so every time Ellie started to nibble her nails, she got the disgusting taste of the ointment. Why didn’t Lily understand how traumatised the child was? Ellie was always crying – she was missing her mum, naturally, with her being in hospital again. Why didn’t Lily see that?
Ellie got on reasonably well with her two older cousins and one of the twins, but the other was domineering and a bully. Ellie was scared of Amy, who always made a point of saying she was twenty minutes older than her twin, Kate. She was glad to have her own sister, Jill, there with her. Although her sister was one year younger than her, she was a fair bit bigger and would often stick up for Ellie if there were arguments or a lot of bossing going on.
Ellie hated going to the twins’ school. She was in a different class from Jill, and she also didn’t understand the language in Hebrew classes, as her own family didn’t use it, not being religious. She had no friends and always stood alone in the playground corner during break times. She felt so isolated and very much wanted to go home. She wondered how many weeks she’d have to stay at the flat. However long it was going to be, it was far, far too long.
*Germolene is a strong-smelling antiseptic ointment.
I’m suddenly so busy; I don’t know where to start I decided last week to try my hand at art Monday morning came, and I trotted off to town Got soaked on the way as the rain thundered down
The art group was crowded, taking turns with the paint and I really do not have the patience of a saint I left rather early as I didn’t want to wait with half a piece of work that I didn’t think was great
Tuesday morning is my own; perhaps time to write I’m short on ideas, so will my piece be trite? My imagination frazzled; do I really want to try, or shall I stop here and now and simply say goodbye?
Tuesday afternoon, I’m at the gardening group It gets pretty chilly; I was glad I’d taken soup But nothing’s really growing, and the flowers are dead I’ll wait till the spring and do something else instead
Wednesday night, I’m drumming; I have a brilliant time I’m really in my element and feeling quite sublime Thursday afternoons, I pick litter in the park We walk around in twos like the creatures in the Ark
Friday comes around, and I have time for myself I just cannot settle like the Elf on the Shelf* I ought to read or write, but my concentration’s poor not helped by the postman who is knocking at my door
Saturday at last, and I am seeing my best friend I hope that our relationship will never, ever end We’ll have lunch together; dip our biscuits in our tea We think so similarly, and we rarely disagree
And finally, Sunday comes, and I’m free to lie in bed I sleep too heavily and wake up with a sore head The shopping comes from Tesco; now there’s food to eat I snuck a bar of chocolate in; my happiness complete!
*Elf on the Shelf (for those who don’t know it) is a classic game that children get involved in at Christmas. There is a toy elf, and the parents/carers place it in different places around the home every night, so delighted children think the elf is moving around itself. My youngest grandchildren are sure that the elf is magic because of this!