(Write a story with the words dreamer, deception and one-eared squirrel included.)
Tuesday 14 October
My Mum always says that I’m a dreamer, but what does she know? Law, that’s what. Judges, juries, barristers, laws and criminals – that’s all she really cares about. She’s a high-flying solicitor in a successful law firm, and has little time for anything else. Not even me, her only child, or my dad for that matter, who’s ‘only’ a teacher at a local primary school.
To be honest, I don’t even know why she bothered to have a child. I never see her, except at Christmas, when I get showered with ridiculously expensive gifts; and for our annual family photo, done at the most expensive photography studio in town. The only reason we do it is so that she can send a smiley photo to her parents, my Gran and Grandpa, to show them what a ‘family woman’ she is.
It’s a big deception of course. As long as I do well in school and don’t ever break the law, she considers her mothering job done, even if Dad does most of the parenting work. I know I should be grateful. I have healthy parents who love me; I never go hungry; we go on fab foreign holidays every year (when Mum spend most of the time on her phone and tablet.) But still.
So I was telling you about how I’m a dreamer. Yesterday I swear I saw a one-eared squirrel in the big oak tree in our back garden. I was sitting underneath it, enjoying the last of the Autumn sunshine, and reading a sci-fi book. It suddenly appeared in the branch just near me and stared at me for a few seconds before running off. I wonder why it had one ear. Maybe it’s a macho man, and is known in the squirrel neighbourhood for fighting off all opposition. It could have a harem of lovely squirrel ladies that it needs to defend? Or perhaps a cat tried to eat it once, and only came away with its ear. It’s a mystery.
Anyway, I told Mum about it at dinner. She was only there because a meeting had been cancelled at the last minute, so she had no excuses but to join us at the dining room table for once. She laughed and told me that I had an overactive imagination and how did I do on my last maths test? I told her that I did fine, but I only got a C. She would be disappointed if I told her the truth – she expects As from me. To be fair, I used to get As, but have started to lose interest in school work recently. It just seems like too much effort. I want to be a famous novelist when I grow up, and how will maths or science or PE for that matter help me? Not a lot.
Dad knows I’m not doing so well – he is a teacher after all, I can’t fool him – but he doesn’t seem to have been talking to Mom much recently. Oh well. I overheard them arguing about money the other night when I was meant to be in bed. Something about how Mum earns a lot more than he does and how he shouldn’t go spending it all, or something like that. It’s a bit like the typical 1950s house in this place, except with a reversal of the gender roles. I know that my parents love each other though, so it’ll be ok.
Friday 17 October
I think Dad’s in trouble. Two big blokes turned up on the doorstep earlier and took our widescreen telly and surround sound system. Dad answered the door and looked guilty as hell. Something about unpaid debts. Mum and Dad had a huge row when she got home after dinner. I’m worried.
Sunday 19 October
So I’ve found out what happened – Dad has been gambling online every night. Some stupid poker game, and has racked up loads of debts. He lied to Mum about why their bank balance was emptying and when he didn’t pay what was owed, the bailiffs turned up. It’s been going on for for months apparently, and Mum knew nothing about it. I can’t believe he’s done this to our family. He’s gone to stay with his brother, my Uncle Dave, for a while, while Mum cools down. I don’t blame her for being angry- I’m pretty mad with him too.
Monday 20 October
Mum took me out to Burger King last night and we had a long chat. I told her about my maths test and she apologised for not being around so much. She’s going to take a three-month sabbatical from work so she can focus on me and Dad for a bit.
Monday 27 October
Mum has paid for us to have a family holiday in the half-term (she cashed in some shares to pay for it, but we will have to cut down on spending for a while to pay off Dad’s debts), last minute, so that we can spend some time together as a family.
We’ve both decided to forgive Dad, and he’s back living with us. He’s going to start attending GA classes, which is where people with gambling problems can talk and get help.
I never would have thought that a clever, sensible man like my Dad could get into something like gambling, but I guess no-one is perfect. Being an adult must suck sometimes. Dad says he used to do it for fun, when he was bored at home after I’d gone to bed, and Mum was working. He did it more and more until he couldn’t stop. I guess it’s like being an alcoholic, where you lose control.
Wednesday 29 October
We are having a great holiday – went to a retro theme park yesterday and we all had a go on the rollercoaster – even Mum, she says she hasn’t been on one since my parents were dating! Then we had candyfloss – lush. Dad won a stuffed rabbit for Mum from one of those ‘grabber’ machines which I thought never worked. It’s a bright blue thing with too-large eyes, but she says she loves it. And you’ll never guess what, it has an ear missing, just like my squirrel at home!