Trust Them, Daniel
I’m too daft to lie, my mother used
to say, and anyway I’m not that kind of person. But I didn’t think you’d like
me if you knew I was older. I told you lots of true things about me,
but…there’s always a ‘but’. They say that, don’t they? Mum used to say I’d
always be ‘the butt’. Two tees, she said. It was her joke.
The snap I sent
was me. Really. I wasn’t cheating. It was a few years ago, taken at school,
that’s all. I didn’t have another. You said I was handsome. No one else ever
said it except you.
You didn’t send
me a photo, but you sounded lovely. Soft. I pictured your wavy hair, green eyes
(I think you said green - green or brown.) And you were kind. So lovely.
It’s the noises
that bother me. Nothing else. The noises – I don’t like them. Just because I
stay in and sit at my computer, that doesn’t make me a weirdo. You understood.
I’ve heard them call me that. Sometimes they shout it through the letterbox.
Kids. But I’m not.
I wanted to
smell your hair. I like smells, nice ones. And to see you in your uniform.
Scrubbed face. Shiny black shoes. Smell you. Somewhere away from the noises.
It’s the tick, tick ones I don’t like. They do my head in. I put the alarm
clock under the bed so I couldn’t hear it ticking. Mum said I was a funny lad.
I don’t know why that’s funny. I’ll tell you what else as well – those
crossings that beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep to tell you to cross.
You can see the traffic’s stopped but they go bloody beep, bloody beep, bloody
beep, bloody beep, bloody beep. Wagons are all right, but they back-back and
then they beep as well. Some of them talk to you. ‘This security vehicle is
reversing.’ I don’t mind the talking though. It’s just the bloody beeping.
When we got the
computer, it was better for Mum. She said it was difficult taking me out; she
couldn’t avoid every damn beep and bang, she said. (Bangs are all right. It’s
just the beeping.) Sometimes she got on my nerves.
You were kind
when Mum went away. I kept the email you sent. I printed it and put it in a
plastic bag and taped it up and it’s in the blue box. It was raining when it
arrived and my pencil had just got broken – the Eddie Stobart one I told you about – because I was mad at Mum for going off. I think I was
crying. Or that might’ve been the day after, I can’t remember. But your email
made me feel better. You said you’d be my friend so I didn’t need to be lonely,
and I just had to mail you and you’d make me feel better. It was lovely. I
didn’t know whether it was okay for it to be lovely when Mum had gone, but it
There were flies
in the room, but you couldn’t see them, from the computer. Pauline, that’s the
nurse who used to come to see me, she said I had to have a home help. So she
sent this man, Peter. I didn’t like him coming to the house. He wanted to get
rid of the flies, and he brought sprays and cleaning stuff. He used my computer
when I was at the lavatory. It’s got stickers on it saying 'Private' and
'Daniel’s Computer', but he ignored them. He said he was sorry and his was
broken, but he didn’t look sorry. I wouldn’t let him in after that. I think it
might’ve been Peter who broke my Eddie Stobart pencil. I liked the flies, they didn’t beep.
have sent me any messages if you’d known about the flies. Mum didn’t like flies
at all. Said no one did, they were dirty, disgusting and had diseases. After
she disappeared I got loads more in the house and I liked them. I’d laugh –
these flies in Mum’s house. She wouldn’t have liked it.
I wasn’t lying.
With the photo, I mean. I wouldn’t do that, especially to you. I thought you
might like to look after me. Mum said before she left that someone would, but
no one did. I knew how to get food: www.tesco.co.uk
After Mum went,
the guinea pig died and that made you sad, you said. Did you mean it? Pauline
looked in the cage one day and said, ‘Do you feed this guinea pig?’ And I said,
‘Yes’, but I didn’t, so I gave him a www.tesco.co.uk carrot while she was there, to show her. And she said, ‘Well, I suppose they
don’t live long, do they? Didn’t you have a rabbit as well at one time?’
And next time
she came he wasn’t moving at all. She pulled a face and put on some gloves from
under the sink and got some newspaper and wrapped him up and took him away. She
said, ‘Something’s got to be done.’ But she’d done it.
You were my
friend, weren’t you? That’s why I don’t understand.
Someone came to
the house. Pauline sent them, I think. Usually I don’t answer the door, but
they knocked – knock, knock, knock, knock, knock, knock, knock - like that, for
ages. I thought my head was going to bloody burst so I looked out of the window
and they stopped knocking and shouted, ‘Daniel? Daniel Price?’
The house wasn’t
clean, he said. The garden was a mess. The home help wasn’t able to get in. The
guinea pig had died. (‘Well, I don’t suppose they live long, do they?’ I said.)
There were too many flies.
My mother told
me never to meet anyone I only knew through the internet. She didn’t trust
them. ‘You can’t trust them, Daniel,’ she said. ‘You don’t know what they’re
planning.’ But you told me what you were planning. You were planning to go on
with your family and you were going to university in three or four years and
you liked me because I didn’t tell you off like your mum and dad did. Why did
they do that when you were so lovely?
It was amazing
you lived so near. That made me very happy. I wasn’t surprised you didn’t want
to come to the house, even though I hadn’t told you about the flies. I didn’t blame
you for that. Peter didn’t like the flies. He tried to kill them. The park was
a lovely idea. I wanted to hold your hand but if you didn’t want to hold mine
that was okay. I wanted to look at you. I wanted to know if your hair smelled
The park doesn’t
have any beep, beep, beep noises. Not usually. There’s a crossing on the way
but I crossed somewhere else so I didn’t hear it. I didn’t see any Eddie Stobart wagons and no wagons reversing either so I wasn’t
sweating or anything when I arrived. I wanted to see you. I wanted to know if
your eyes were green or brown. I thought you’d have freckles – you sounded like
‘By the lake,’
you’d said, and I thought that would be good because that’s away from most of
the people and maybe I’d get chance to hold your hand. Maybe you’d kiss me.
It was a lovely
day. There was a little breeze. It was a long time since I’d been out of the
house and the sun felt nice. I didn’t remember that. And it smelled of grass.
The park was bigger than I thought and I was getting excited. I bumped into
someone and said ‘Sorry’. I saw the bench by the lake and you sitting on it.
You were beautiful in your uniform, just beautiful. Long hair – brown and wavy,
like you said. Blue
band. Bare legs. I was panting from hurrying and the sun. I felt shy as I got
close. You were so lovely. And your voice – I didn’t know anything about your
voice before. You talked like you came from somewhere else, but nicely. Soft.
We sat side by
side like friends do when they like each other a lot. And we talked about you
and about me and things we like and things we do. It was wonderful. I reached
out for a photo you said you were giving me and my hand touched your uniform
dress. Just by accident. I liked it, how it felt. And then I put my hand on
your leg because it looked so nice, and I put my face close to yours because I
wanted to see if you’d kiss me.
someone was shouting. There was a phone. Someone’s phone was ringing – ring,
ring, ring, ring, ring. I panicked. Even though you were there, I couldn’t
stand it. It was like beeping. I could see some policemen with batons in their
hands. I didn’t blame you for looking scared – all those police. I couldn’t
stand that ringing, and I just ran and ran and ran. Back home.
Back home the
door was open and inside there were people taking up the floorboards and moving
the computer. I told them to bloody go away and my computer was private, but it
turned out they were policemen too.
Someone had hold
of me. I can’t stand that. I didn’t want them to lift the floorboards. That’s
where the flies come from. I didn’t want them to find Eddie Rabbit. I buried
him under there, see? They found him anyway. He didn’t look like Eddie any
more. I had to look away. They were disturbing my dead rabbit but they were
looking at me like I’d done something wrong. I was getting upset and struggling
and I kicked a policeman, so they took me away, in a different car from the
Mum came to see me last week. She
looked at me and sighed, and said it would never matter how far she went,
they’d track her down to look after me. She wouldn’t tell me where she’d been,
just that she’d been at the end of her tether and had to have a break, and she
was sorry it’d been so long and she hadn’t written. She smiled at me but she
didn’t look happy.
Mum said you
weren’t real. You were just a trick – a trap set up by the police because they
didn’t understand about me. I don’t think you were a trick. You were real. You
sent me all those email messages and I met you in the park. You were lovely.
©2006 Kath Kilburn
Kath would love to hear what you think of her writing - email her now