Mum didn’t talk about what Ms Norman had said; I got the impression that she had forgotten which was fine with me. She drove slowly and talked about the gossip that had been circulating around her gym for weeks. My mother went to the gym religiously, and has made friends and enemies with almost every other member of the gym.
“Debbie tried to talk to me again today...” she moaned, picking up her mobile that started to vibrate. She read the text as I thought of what to say to that statement, she was going to tell me what happened whether I asked her or not. Not that I cared in the slightest, she had refused to take me into town claiming she wanted to have friends over later and needed me to look after Josh. I was upset, I wanted to see Luke. I stared out into the green blur of the fields as we entered the first village before ours. There was the ripe smell of rape everywhere, I wrinkled my nose and tried not to breath.
“So anyway she was being all miserable and pathetic so I ended up ignoring her” my mother laughed with effort, I turned to see her texting – her hands barely touching the wheel.
“Mum!” I snapped, taking the phone from her
“Check you out Mrs. Safety” she snorted and turned the radio on before I could explain that our lives were more important than a text message.
We arrived at our house and without another word I went up to my bedroom. I wondered whether I could say Luke’s name and he would come. Would he know where I live? It couldn’t have been that hard for him to find my school, it was the only one in the tiny town of Bury St Edmunds.
I had to see him; I needed to satisfy this ache that Tom’s laughter had left me. How could he have laughed like that? What if I was crazy and he humoured me for it? When I checked my mobile there was a text from him, “ghosts” was all it said, there was also a smiley face which looked a lot like his own goofy grin. I could understand in a way why he was incredulous and unable to fully believe me, it wasn’t like I could show Tom who Luke was. I wanted to find some substantial proof that he existed, but I did not know how...what I wanted more than anything was to see him but I wasn’t sure how I could make that possible.
I pondered upon different scenarios whilst playing with Josh. I brought him up into my bedroom where he was watched Pingu, lying across my bed. His blonde curls had been flattened by my mother who wanted him to look smart as her friends arrived before I took him away from them all as they sipped their white wines.
I lay back on the bed after eliminating the thought of calling Tom. I wanted to convince him to come to the library with me tomorrow, he would come just to humour me but what if I could find some way that Luke could pick something up or walk through Tom the way he had me. Tom would surely feel the cool air that surrounds him. I heard my mother call goodbye to her friend whose car I heard crunch against the drive as she left. It was around seven o clock, ready for Josh to go to sleep.
Usually he went to bed without a fuss but as my mother watched desperate housewives, Josh squealed and kicked as I wrestled him into his pyjamas. He took his warm milk gladly however, and fell asleep before the bottle was empty. As I watched it up, my mother resumed her story of “Debbie at the gym” stopping every few seconds to rewind desperate housewives so that she didn’t miss any of it.
I excused myself from her quickly, her superficial mind annoying me more than usual in the quiet of our house. During her rant, I had thought up a brilliant plan - one that would get me into heaps and heaps of trouble – but well worth the trouble if successful.
At ten o clock my mother called up to me that she was going to bed, I was fully dressed. Wearing Jeans and a turtle neck jumper as it was still very cold outside. I had my tennis shoes on and my mother’s car keys in my back pocket. I waited for three quarters of an hour, until I was very confident that she would be asleep. I checked Josh twice before slipping out of the front door and gently unlocking the car.
I stared up at the house, waiting for lights to come on and my mother to catch me. But the house remained silent and dark. I didn’t dare turn the car lights on, but the engine was an unavoidable noise. I knew my mother would be sleeping with the hairdryer on and had no doubt that she heard nothing as I started the ignition.
Just because I had not got round to taking a driving test, did not mean I could not drive. I reversed slowly, wincing as the tyres crunched the gravel drive. I couldn’t believe that I had done it as the car sped along the long road before I joined the junction towards Bury. I had never done anything to spite my mother, or anything that could lead me to get grounded or even told off. My mother remained nonchalant to everything – this I doubted that she would.
The experience of driving by myself was more than I had ever imagined. Even in my mother small Renault Cleo I felt free. I accelerated to 40 and concentrated hard on keeping the car straight on the road, I was never very good at keeping to a certain speed – my foot would always apply to much pressure or not enough.
I turned the radio on quickly, not liking the sudden swerve of the car as I took my hand from the wheel, my heart pounded hard in my chest. I had forgotten that there was always the chance of getting caught by the police. I turned the radio off, suddenly more worried than before – why had I not thought of the police? I thought stupidly. I knew that with a few more minutes driving I would be within the town centre. I turned left slowly at the junction, thankful that the car ahead let me pass without a second look. I glanced behind the wheel registering the car was low on petrol.
“Dang it!” I shrieked, so annoyed I could hardly breathe. I knew that I would have to stop and get some more petrol. My mother would be curious and suspicious as to why the car was suddenly full but I knew that I wouldn’t have enough to get back home if I didn’t fill up. I stopped at a red light, taking deep breathes in and out. The driver in the car next to me was watching me anxiously as my cheeks filled in and out with air. The relief was instantaneous and I remained calm.
Pulling into the petrol station was no problem at all, I paid and the petrol assistant did not give me a second look as I slipped my debit card into the slot and waited anxiously for it to be returned.