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  • Writer's pictureJ.M.

Punch A Nazi

A crocheted rainbow

I chuck my book bag on the bed. I wanted a red one but Mummy said blue is better for boys. It still makes a nice dent with a little flump of air. Rosa always smooths the duvet out so there are no wrinkles at all. Mummy says she doesn't know how long we'll be able to keep Rosa. It all depends on how soon Mummy can find a cheap enough flight.

The books slide out in a mess. The Day it Rained Colours is on top. I've read it before. It's a very old book that I found in the library box. I read it at school then pretended that I hadn't so I could bring it home. The cover is soft and floppy, like a blanket. I love it in the story when the town goes from grey to all rainbow coloured. In my old school, the library was a whole room not just a box in the classroom. Mummy liked that.

There are rainbows in our town, all over the place now, even the railway station has a rainbow sign. Mummy always holds my hand a bit tighter when we rush past. I always have to run to keep up with Mummy. She really likes to be in her car so she always wears her dark glasses if we have to get out. I don't wear dark glasses, just my hat, which is nowhere near as big and floppy as hers.

I'm lying on my belly on the bed. It's all rumpled up now and I'm reading my favourite page – the 'day it rains' page. Mummy's downstairs on the computer while Rosa's cooking supper and singing one of her songs. It's all right; Mummy always wears her noise reducing headphones.

My tummy rumbles, Rosa might be able to bring me up a little taste of something but otherwise I have to wait, Mummy doesn't like to be disturbed when she's tweeting. I shake my bag to see if anything's left inside and Kylie's picture falls out. She drew it for me at playtime when we were eating our snack sitting under the arbour. The picture is of the house she'd like to live in when she's older. She says it's her dream house. It's only a bit wobbly. Kylie held her pencil really tight and concentrated hard so that when her arm or her leg wanted to kick or jerk, she managed to take her pencil off the paper.

Kylie's dream house actually looks a bit like ours. So I write our house number on the front door and the name of our road at the bottom, next to her name. Then I have an idea. I get up off the bed and sit at my desk. I choose the right colours from the crayon box, line them up in the right order and draw my best rainbow over the top of the house. Rainbows are tricky for Kylie. I'd really like to invite her to tea one day. Perhaps I could give her the picture back as the invitation but then I remembered Mummy doesn't like children called Kylie.

The next morning Mummy says, "I'm taking Rosa to the airport after I've dropped you at school today, darling, so I'll be picking you up this afternoon as well, so don't dawdle."

She always calls me darling. Sometimes I think she's forgotten my real name.

Rosa is standing by the sink with her back to us. Her shoulders shake when she sniffs. I can see her suitcase in hall.

I feel a bit grey inside, like the town before it rains, and only remembering that I left the book under my bed makes me feel a bit gladder.

But that gladness goes away when I get to school and Kylie isn't there. I sit on my own at playtime. The other children are all busy with their friends. I had friends at my old school, sort of. I used to stay there all week and sometimes Mummy came to fetch me at weekends. But when the trouble happened I had to leave and come here. All the other children had already made their friends when I started, except for Kylie.

On my first day, just after the dinner lady put me by the Friendship Stop sign, Kylie staggered up to me with a smile that showed off lots of white teeth. Her hand reached for me. Her fingers stuck out all spidery one minute then all tightly curled the next like she was squeezing a juicy orange. She pushed her hand gently it into mine. It was warm and only a bit sticky.

Today though, I have to eat my banana on my own and watch the children play. I try to work out what I'll do at lunchtime when the dinner ladies are here.

But at lunchtime, Kylie runs across the play ground in that funny wobbly jerky way she has with her arms and fingers wide open. She wraps them round me and lays her head on my shoulder. I feel a warm glow fill all my insides. I want to know why she wasn't at school in the morning but she's just as glad as me and won't let go to tell me. Her mum is still there in the playground talking to the dinner ladies. Kylie's mum is quite fat with really short hair and long laces round her boots that don't reach the bottom of her leggings. Mummy's always talking about fat people in leggings. Kylie's mum has a rainbow shopping bag on her shoulder. I'd like a bag like that.

Every now and then Kylie's mum and the dinner lady look over at me and Kylie. The other children look a bit too but mostly they've got used to us by now.

All through the afternoon Kylie clings to me. Our teacher, Mrs Hodge, doesn't mind. Kylie pushes her easel right up next to mine and as long as we're touching she's ok. It makes it a bit difficult to do my painting. When Kylie paints it's always a bit splashy. Which makes Mrs Hodge frown a bit but she doesn't really mind.

At the end of the afternoon, Kylie's mum comes into the classroom and talks to Mrs Hodge. All the while Kylie, is pulling on my sleeve, not letting me go even though I can see Mummy on her phone, away from the other parents. She's wearing her

floppy hat.

All the other children have gone home with their mums and dads and child-minders and grandmas and granddads, aunties and uncles, but Kylie's still holding on to me.

I see Mummy put her phone in her bag, look round then march up to the classroom door.

Kylie holds me tighter, my sleeve is screwed up in her fingers. She says 'Mum! Mum! Ask him! Ask him now!'

"Hang on a minute love, we have to ask his mum, when I've finished with Mrs Hodge here." Kylie's mum picks Kylie up so Kylie has to let go of my sleeve. There's a lump where she held it so tight.

Mrs Hodge smiles and picks up the register off yellow table.

Mummy is standing on the classroom doormat. She looks over the top of her dark glasses at me.

I have to go.

But Kylie screams. 'Waaaait!'

I'm stuck. I don't know what to do.

Mummy marches through the chairs and tables to us. Her heels click clack on the classroom floor. She looks at Kylie's mum from her bristly hair to her purple lace up boots. She looks at the rainbow bag and presses her lips together and breathes out through her nose. She tries to pull me away but I do want to go to Kylie's house for tea.

Mummy slides her dark glasses a little way down her nose and opens her mouth to speak.

But Kylie's mum speaks first. "It's you!" she says and screws up her nose. She screws up her fist too.

Even though she's still holding Kylie, I'm scared that Kylie's mum wants to punch Mummy.

Mummy closes her mouth, but changes her mind and shuts it again.

Mrs Hodge steps back a little way.

"Well," huffs Kylie's mum. Her fingers uncurl. "I can't blame your boy for the sins of his mother so, as my Kylie has been very brave today, I'm going to ask. Would your young man like to come home with us for tea?"

Mummy's mouth stays shut. She still doesn't know what to say.

But Kylie does. It's one long scream of joy!

Mrs Hodge steps out of the way and covers one ear with her hand and the other with the register.

Kylie's mum leans her head back as Kylie's arms and legs fling about and her hands stretch and squeeze.

Mummy's too slow.

Kylie's fingers, curled tight into a fist, shoot out like a machine and hit Mummy's face.

Mrs Hodge drops the register.

Mummy's glasses fall off and blood trickles out of her nose. She fumbles in her bag and finds a tissue. She presses it to her lip and click clacks out of the classroom.

I hear her say, 'back by seven.'

"Well, that's a yes then," says Kylie's Mum. 'You'll show us where to go, won't you?'

I pull Kylie's picture of her dream house out of my book bag. One day, I hope there really will be rainbow over our house. I try to imagine Mummy underneath it.

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