I suppose it's time to talk about my dad now. I know I said earlier he was an alcoholic, but that's not strictly true.

  It's not that he drinks, it's just that he's out a lot. Sometimes he goes out in the evening, and doesn't get home until late, or the next day. I don't think he drinks. Well, not in a way that he's always drunk, but I think he goes to the pub quite often. He has a job too, he's a bin man. Yeah, glamorous. But he doesn't mind, and he gets paid for it, so It's okay I suppose.

  The rumors that he was an alcoholic started when people saw him staggering out of the pub in the early hours of the morning. I don't know who started it, but it was probably one of the people who were too young to be in the pub, but just paid an older person to buy them bottles of vodka from the off license. They're the only ones up late enough to see that, I suppose.

  Anyway, it was unusual for my dad to be home when I got back from school, and he wasn't today. Closing the door, I stood in the hall, thinking about what had just happened. I had spoken to a boy, who was my age, I would see again, and wasn't bullying me. It's not often that happens to me, you know. And he seemed to enjoy my company.

  I walked into the kitchen, vaguely thinking about food, but more about Jared. I opened the grimy fridge, noting in the back of my mind that I should probably hoover the kitchen, and pulled out some microwave rice. Did Jared like me? I don't mean in a girlfriend way, just as friends?

  After putting the rice in the microwave, I briefly rinsed a plate that was already in the sink, and got out some cutlery. What would happen if me and Jared were friends? Would we get bullied more, or less? They pick on both of us, so it might stay the same, but they say there's safety in numbers...

  The microwave pinged. Yes, I said pinged, not beeped. It's quite old and pretty filthy. I pulled out the rice quickly so I didn't burn myself, and poured it onto my plate. Walking back through the house and over some piles of rubbish, I sat myself down on the armchair in the living room, and turned on the television. We don't have sky or anything, just channels one to five, so I had to make do with CBBC.

  I couldn't really summon up much of an appetite for my rice, even though I hadn't had any lunch, so I just prodded at it with my fork, only eating a few mouth fulls.

The End

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