Ice Cream In Summer And Chip Butties In Winter
You wipe the knife on the grass. Then you stand up and push her over the cliff. She gets jammed on a tussock at first, arms and legs like tendrils. On her chest, a dark stain like a map of Australia. Then you give her another shove with your foot and she disappears. I hear rocks tumble down with her. Then a crack. Then a splash. The knife follows, glinting as it twirls. So pretty. It doesn’t splash, or make rocks tumble.
I see you do it but I don’t shout out. Don’t jump from my hiding place, don’t shout stop it. Why should I?
We had a cat once. It got sick and kept crying and running round in circles. She drowned it. This wasn’t so different. And the cat wasn’t even bad. Didn’t hurt anyone.
You always said when you got bigger you’d put a stop to it all. Now you have.
It’s been a long wait, but never mind. It’s done now. Strange to think of the days ahead without her. Days of summer and swimming and ice-cream. Days of winter and snowball fights and chip butties. Days without being scared and hurt and running away.
If I hadn’t run this time she wouldn’t have chased me. She doesn’t usually bother. Just waits till I come home hungry. Today she did. I don’t know why. But then you run after her. I hear her, and I hear you.
I dash to my usual place; the old tree, all twisted and broken, with that cosy hollow inside, just big enough for me. I crouch down amongst the woody, leafy smells. I hold my breath and peek through the hole, like always.
Then I see her. She runs as fast as she can but it isn’t fast enough, is it? Isn’t fast enough to catch me; isn’t fast enough to get away from you.
I peep and I see her standing there looking round. ‘Where are you, you little shit?’
Then she sees you coming at her.
You were out-of-your mind cross. You said ‘That’s enough. I’ll do for you this time.’
And you did, didn’t you. And now we can have ice cream in summer and chip butties in winter.