Will a trip to Ireland solve all Eveia's problems?
|We were silent for a long while. A random radio station called ‘Music Fm’ was playing as I was staring out of the window of the van as we drove along the M56 towards London. The presenter was talking to someone called Ted, who was decorating a room for his new unborn baby. He was saying it was his first baby and that he and his girlfriend had been going by ‘the baby book’ step-by-step. That’s what my mum and dad did; he said he rang into a radio station and told them all about me and that they went by the baby books. They wanted to give me good parents- they did. I loved them to bits, even if they’d ground me for arguing with them. My family may have been tearing apart with me, but they were always there for me. Mum was my favourite, she would be the one to take me to the charity shops and pick out the craziest outfits. I’d wear them though, or make something out of them ‘because I loved mum. Dad was amazing too. He may ‘av bought the craziest things for me like a teddy without a leg which he’d get from the local car boot sale or make something out of toilet roll like a telescope and we’d gaze at the stars or pretend to be pirates, but I loved dad so much. Danny was similar in that way, he was funny and crazy and weird, but I didn’t like it like I did with my dad ‘cause he was still different. Unlike dad, he had a TomTom with a weird volume button, so I couldn’t hear the woman, but he could. Dad’s was crazy, it could do the voice of Yoda from ‘Star Wars’ which was so amazing when he first got it, but after a while it just got boring.
We passed a service station a while ago and I was hungry since I hadn’t eaten any breakfast or dinner and my stomach rumbled a couple of times, which was pretty embarrassing. I hate being hungry ‘cause I’m already too thin as it is- size six. No boobs and I’m thirteen! I don’t want to be flat chested either. I’d eat loads of Big Mac’s from McDonald’s if I could with chips and a doughnut- get up to size 22, y’know. Just joking, I’m one of those people who will eat a lot and not put weight on and as soon as I turn twenty I end up actually becoming size 22. Mum was the same except she had boobs and nice hair and a beautiful face, unlike me. My hair is dyed blonde and my make-up is rubbish. My eyes are coloured hazel and my hair falls in locks around my face. My wind-swept fringe lies messily upon my forehead. I wear bras and since I ‘av no boobs, I stuff them with socks- y’know, get guys looking at me then- well, I wish! It was always Lolita- Lolita ‘Whore’ Richards- I swear girls looked in places they shouldn’t when she was getting changed for P.E. I’d award her bitch and slag of the year, but Sophia has already beaten her to that. She’s one of those girls you wouldn’t want to get the wrong side of and if you did, she’s beat you to a pulp. Sex is everything to her too and in every maths lesson, she boasts that she and her ‘boyfriend’, called Spencer, do it every night they see each other. Her boobs are mahusive, but I think they’re fake to be honest.
‘Are you hungry?’ Danny asked. I snapped out of my own world and noticed that we’d finally got to a sign which indicated that there was a service station up ahead and we should ‘Take a Break’. He didn’t need me to answer for him to pull left onto the road into the station, ‘I think a break should do us good, we can get a drink and stuff.’
When he’d pulled into an empty parking space, for vans, and stopped, we both got out and began to walk over to the service station. He pressed the button on his keys which then locked the door on the van. Inside the service station, there was a Wimpy and Restbite.
‘Where do you want to go?’ he asked and I just shrugged, ‘it’s your choice.’
We went to ‘Restbite’ and I ate a jacket potato with beans and coleslaw and a side salad, as well as a bottle of water. It didn’t even fill my stomach much! Danny ate a ham and mozzarella Panini with a salad and a coffee, but that’s ‘because he’s a posh git. I saw a woman feeding a baby a pot of vegetable, pork and apple roast dinner baby food a few tables away from us- I mean come on how a baby can even swallow a mouthful of that. If I was fed that, I’d probably spit it straight back out at the person who was feeding it to me. The anger inside me was growing as I saw parents with children eating together and laughing when the child said something really funny. I wish that was me in the arms of a mother being cradled back and forth, I wish it was me being fed the disgusting baby food that I once must ‘av liked, but it wasn’t. Mum and dad were gone and I was alone- an orphan with a family already wanting to adopt a girl with a crap life, a girl who tried so hard to fit in, but still was so different than the rest. A girl who’s so selfish that she wouldn’t cry at her parents’ death or wouldn’t comfort her aunt when her sister had just died.
I got up, went to the toilets and stared into the mirror to see a sad eyed girl gazing back at me, her hair messy and uncut. I went into the toilet, closed the door and locked it. I lowered the seat and looked at the door. I made a groaning noise and tried to cry- nothing happened. I thought of the saddest things in my life and tried doing more fake cries, but they just echoed around the toilets. I heard a couple of woman sniggering, but I didn’t care to be honest. Well, I didn’t until the toilets fell silent. There were a couple of giggles from a few girls entering the toilets. I stood up on the toilet seat and saw them, doing their make-up. I couldn’t escape with them ‘because it would be so embarrassing. One looked in the mirror and then turned around; I quickly ducked down and smacked my fist against the door.
‘Can’t wait to see Finn Taylor tomorrow- he’s drop dead gorgeous and has an intoxicating voice. Can’t believe he’s searching’ for a normal girlfriend right now,’ one of the girls was saying. FINN TAYLOR! Finn Taylor was searching’ for a girlfriend- a normal girlfriend. I’m not normal, so I wasn’t gonna put my hopes up of ever bein’ asked out by him. I’m not a guy magnet and I’m certainly not normal for sure. Weirdly, it’s like I ‘av an electric piano in my head which I can switch on and play- well, I move my fingers and tell myself what notes I want to play and I can hear them in my head. That’s how I make music via the piano. I can play guitar too, well not in my head. An old friend taught me when I was in primary school, since then I ‘aven’t played. Come to think about it though, Finn Taylor’s not really normal himself- not ‘cause he’s a celebrity, but ‘cause he’s a wanna-be raver. He wears weird florescent shag bands and colourful belts and freakiliscious hats and everything which looks like what a raver would wear. He’s worn one of those tutus before for a ‘dare’. One of his glasses is made different coloured glass. He’s obviously quite camp, but girls fancy him all the same and it’s pretty surprising to hear that he’s looking for a girlfriend who isn’t famous. He doesn’t sound camp, he has a really fit deep voice and he’s a right big ‘Sex God’. Lolita said she got off with him once- what a lie!
I decided to leave the toilet cubicle and pass the girls.
‘She was the one who was crying?’ one of the girls laughed, when I walked passed them, ‘bless her.’
‘Fuck off,’ I muttered and a woman gasped, covering up her child’s ears. As I walked out of the toilets, I saw Danny leaning against one of the walls.
He smiled a little. ‘Who was crying in there? It sounded like a cat had just been trodden on.’
‘Just a baby,’ I answered and walked passed him, ‘scared me a bit too, I thought babies cry in high pitched screams.’
‘Yeah, me too,’ he laughed.
When we were back on the road again, after getting some diesel, we were silent again for another long while. I had brought a book from home to read but I realised I wasn't one for reading in a car because I felt sick. Mum was the same, but it was different for dad- he was one who read a book in the car when he wasn’t driving. You have to be good with your breathing and stuff though, he said- Whatever reading a book has to do with breathing, I don’t know. A bus went passed us- a tour bus. Finn Taylor’s tour bus. I gasped loudly and looked as it travelled on faster than us. I’d never seen his tour bus before ever and now I see what my friends meant by it being amazing. It was an open-top triple-decker bus. The windows were blacked out and the bus was decorated with the picture on his newest CD on both sides. I wondered what the bus was like inside, probably luxury. Flat-screen TV’s, game consoles, Sky, laptops, comfy beds, a big lounge, great food, champagne. As much luxury as they probably do outside of the bus- 5 star hotels, mansions, private jets, passes to probably every after party they want to go to and to get into any club even if he’s only seventeen. Everything! Finn’s fan base is massive too, so there are fans everywhere he goes. He’s got two bodyguards called ‘Bobby’ and ‘Z’ who are real tough. Not like I’d no or anything- it just leads straight back to information from Lolita. Two other tour buses followed behind: The crew. They all had the same design on them except the last bus was a different shape, a lot smaller and only had one deck.
‘Want to catch up with them? See if they want a race?’ Danny asked. I looked at him and he was smiling.
‘I’m not his no.1 fan,’ I answered and he laughed. I put my head against the window and went quiet again.
My mind was off Finn Taylor and his luxurious life and I began questioning what the orphanage was like- whether it was big or small. Whether the other kids were nice, whether the food was nice, whether my room was gonna be big or small, whether I would ‘av to share it with anyone. Pretty selfish really! I bet it wasn’t as luxurious as Finn Taylor’s life- there I go again, Finn Taylor! Finn Taylor! Finn Taylor! But, it was true though, I was definitely jealous of Finn Taylor. Maybe my life would be like that if I had accepted that offer, but I hadn’t. I knew I didn’t want to accept yet because I wasn’t ready for a new family and I was certainly not ready to be living with a rich family.
‘Eveia,’ Danny said. I snapped out of my own world and looked at him, ‘we’re almost at the orphanage, I still want to know if you’re going to accept the offer of having us as your family. It’s taken me a while to get you into the orphanage, but I want to adopt you. I’m aloud to adopt you because I fit the criteria and also I’m your social worker.’
‘Adopting doesn’t just happen in a click of a finger,’ I said, even though I didn’t know that, ‘it takes a long time.’
‘Maybe,’ he replied, ‘but-’
‘But nothing, you’re not adopting me!’ I said and looked back out of the window.
‘Eveia, listen to me,’ he began, but I just blanked him. I did want him to adopt me, but I also didn’t for the reason that he was my social worker- who would be adopted by their social worker, though? I still had to thank him though for sticking up for me against my aunt, ‘Eveia.’
I looked back at him.
‘What?’ I shouted, ‘do you not know what no means? Can’t have your own way?’
‘Eveia, you're not going to get anywhere at the orphanage, are you? It's like you've hit a wall and you won't climb over it because you're scared of what’s behind it.’
‘Shut up, right?’ I replied, ‘I think I’m aloud to live my life how I fucking want, don’t know why you think you can fucking rule my life.’
‘Eveia, will you stop with the bloody language?’ he asked, smacking his hand down on the steering wheel, ‘I’m being serious, you better drop it ‘cause your just gonna make it worse for you.’
‘I… don’t… give… a… FUCK!’ I shouted, ‘there you go again thinking you can fucking rule my life. I don’t care how bloody perfect your fucking life is, mines shit, and you can’t even see that, can you?’
Finn Taylor’s ‘Leave Me Alone’ was playing in the background on the same radio station, but on a show called ‘The Rock and Soul Show’. It was really setting the mood since it was a proper metal song. It was funny that about twenty minutes ago we were fine with each other and then as soon as he mentions something about me being adopted, we end up ‘avin’ a massive argument.
‘Eveia, give us a chance,’ he said, ‘please. You'll really like Middlegreen and your school won't be that far away from there either. You'll make good friends there. Jake's girlfriend will be in your class, she's very nice and I'm sure you two would get on just fine. She's like you, she has a dream to be an actress in the West End, and you want to be a singer, right?’
‘I’m quite capable of picking out my own friend’s thank you,’ I answered, even though picking Lolita to hang out with wasn’t really being capable of picking my own friends. Danny obviously wasn’t gonna agree to that.
‘If you call Lolita a friend, I’m pretty shocked,’ he said. I fell quiet again. He was right though, I could ‘av found some better friends and ditched Lolita, but I was scared. As we drove down Bounds Green Road, we past a sign by the side of the road pointing to ‘Maidstone House Children’s Home’. I didn’t ‘av a clue where we were, but I knew we were near the orphanage. If we’d just passed an orphanage, how far away could the one I was going to be?
‘Why would you want to adopt me anyway?’ I asked, playing with my pink-painted finger nails. I was beginning to cold now and it was beginning to turn dark outside. I had an old hoody on, which wasn’t keeping me very warm, ‘you hated me, and you still hate me.’
‘No, Eveia, I never hated you- you hated me. You never gave me a chance,’ he answered. Maybe he was right, I ‘av never really given him a chance at anytime of my life.
I fell silent again. I felt sorry for him and guilt was building up in my body. I looked back out of the window as we drove passed a lot of houses with beautiful gardens- better than ours. Mum loved gardening once, she used to plant the most beautiful flowers and I’d help. We grew a little vegetable garden in the back with tomato plants and when they’d grown, we’d wash them and chop them up and eat them with little salads. That was back then though everything became overgrown and weeds grew in the cracks of stones. We finally pulled into a driveway and he stopped the van.
‘Danny,’ I said before he was about to open the door. He looked at me with a hopeful face, ‘I’m not accepting your offer… just yet, ‘cause I’d want to get to know you first- you, your wife and your son.’
He smiled and opened his door. ‘Ok, if that’s what you want, that’s good.’
We stepped out of the van. I saw lots of children staring out of the windows, wide-eyed as if they’d just seen a ghost. A woman came out of the door with a beaming smile on her face.
‘Well, hello, Eveia,’ she said, walking down the steps and over to me, giving me a huge hug. She turned to Danny, ‘good journey?’
‘Yeah, it was good,’ he replied. The woman turned to me again.
‘Eveia how was the journey for you? This place must be a lot different from Manchester, right?’
‘S'pose so, I guess,’ I answered, looking down at the ground. I was feeling home sick and I felt like I could cry because I was that scared, but I couldn't and I didn't want to either.
‘I'm sure you’ll settle in just fine here, you’ll make lots of friends.’
And I did settle in. After a few days, I’d made created rough versions of songs with piano backing. I had my own room too- totally luxury and I had the comfiest bed ever. The first night was horrible and I couldn’t sleep because I felt homesick. I’ve slept at other people’s houses before so I didn’t get why I felt homesick. For a few days, I didn’t eat much because I didn’t like the food, but I had to get used to it. Danny came the week after and I was woken up at ten o’clock just to go and speak to him. I went down with a massive mop on my head- attractive. I was in my pink small-but-comfy PJ’s.
‘Eveia,’ Danny said, with a smirk on his face- my hair.
‘It’s fashionable,’ I lied and messed round with my hair a little.
‘How’ve you been?’ he asked, ‘have you made any friends?’
I shook my head. ‘I’ve been busy moving in and stuff; I don’t ‘av time for friends at the moment.’
Danny took out a pen from the pot on the middle of the table and opened a folder which had the usual ‘check-up’ sheets in. He wrote a few things down and then looked at me.
‘Eveia, I want to take you out on a trip, there’ll be others too your age,’ he said and then rooted around in his ‘man-bag’ and brought out a leaflet.
He then passed it over and it said ‘Lough Derg- Ireland’ on the front of it and a picture of tents around part of a large lake. I opened it and it had a brief description about what it was about and a picture of the founders. The next page I unfolded was about the prices and about more information, ‘it’s been an idea of mine for a couple of weeks now. We’ll be going next month on the 13th and that’s where we’ll start- at Lough Derg.’
He took out a piece of paper from his bag and handed it over. I took it and looked at a map which had a blue line going round in different directions. Until it reached a point in Dublin.
‘That’s the route we take,’ he said, ‘Lough Derg to Dublin, it’ll take us a couple of weeks, but we’ll be able to do it if we all keep together, which means no running off.’
‘It shouldn’t take long on the bus,’ I said, ‘so no need to say it’ll take a couple of weeks, right?’
‘Eveia, it’s a camping trip. Where the dots are on the map, that’s where we will be camping,’ Danny answered.
‘You’re joking?’ I said, ‘seriously, I’m not walking around Ireland and I’m seriously not going with you. Bet you’re bringing your wife and kid too.’
Danny laughed a little. ‘Jake’s seventeen, he’ll be staying at home, but my wife is coming with us, along with a few other social workers, they’ll be about fifteen teenagers going too.’
‘I have a problem with my legs, they collapse if I walk for a long time, I can’t walk for more than an hour or I’ll probably end up lying on the floor.’ – I demonstrated the wobbliness of my knees, wiggling them a bit.
‘Eveia, don’t be silly, I know you better than you think I do,’ Danny said and looked at ‘Miss’, ‘even Maggie agrees.’
‘Yes, I think it’s a very good idea, it’ll do you good, Eveia,’ she replied.
‘Oh well, Miss, it’s my decision, right?’ I said, looking at her, smiled and then looked back at Danny, ‘and I don’t want a tag if I go ‘cause I hate them things, my mate ‘ad one back in Manchester for beating a kid up, they’re mingin’ things.’
‘Eveia, you won’t have a tag, but I will be keeping extra eye on you ‘cause knowing you you’ll run off,’ Danny responded.
‘Where would you expect me to go? It’s Ireland, isn’t it? I’ll get lost and probably starve to death,’ I stated, now fiddling with a strand of hair.
‘True, you’d probably like that though,’ he smirked and I know he was only messing about, but that set me off.
‘Who do you think I am? Some fucking suicide fanatic?’ I shouted, chucking his stuff everywhere and standing up. I could tell ‘Miss’ was scared, but I carried on anyway, ‘I don’t know who you think you are, but you certainly know how to upset someone, no wonder I hate you so much, you think that you’re all that living in your big fancy house while I live in a dump which, although was shit sometimes, it was my home until you pulled me out of it and now you want me to adopt you or go on your big fancy trip? This is a joke, you think you can just replace my family ‘cause that’s what you want, not what I want!’
‘I hate you so much, I want a new social worker ‘cause I’m sick and tired of you,’ I cut him short and then stormed out of the room. He tried to call me, but I didn’t answer- I went to my room and remained there.
Days went by after that and it drew closer to the thirteenth of April, on which I was meant to depart and go to Ireland on a big hiking trip. It took guts to apologize to Danny and they were the guts I hadn’t got.
I walked backwards and forwards beside the phone wondering whether it would be the right thing to apologize to him. When I finally did, I apologized.
‘Danny, I’m really sorry,’ I said, sounding like I was gonna cry, ‘I must really piss you off sometimes, I piss myself off sometimes too. It’s not your fault, I promise, it’s just-‘
‘Eveia,’ he interrupted, ‘don’t worry about it, I should apologize too. But, I need to know if you’re still coming to Ireland.’
‘Only if that’s ok with you,’ I said.
He laughed. ‘Yeah, I want you to come remember. So don’t get upset, ok?’
‘Ok, thanks, Danny,’ I answered, ‘bye.’
‘Bye, Eveia,’ and with that we hung up. I leaned against the wall and sighed- oh, what do I get into?