When Daddy parks by the White Hart I want to know why he’s not taking us all the way, as normal. He says Nay-me’s got to get back, and tell us to ‘hurry up now girls.’
Helen begins to cry. She always does. I push the handle down, open the door and climb down.
When I am standing on the pavement I look back through the open door at Helen. She’s sucking her thumb and hugging Bun-Bun. Daddy tells her to cheer up and Helen smiles – a bit. ‘Come on,’ I say, ‘you heard what Daddy said.
‘Here you are,’ says Nay-me, ‘one each.’ I reach forward as she turns and leans over the front seat to give us two half-crowns. That’s five whole shillings. ‘Thank you Nay-me,’ I say as I put the coins away in my pinafore pocket.
‘Naomi’ corrects Daddy, whilst Nao-o-mi gets out of the car and opens the door to let Helen out of her side. She quickly slides towards me. Nao-o-mi shrugs and gets back in next to Daddy.
My little sister’s heavy, but I manage. I put my arms under her armpits and around her chest and lift. I set her down on the pavement and grab her hand. I slam the door hard. ‘OK?,’ says Daddy. I bit my lip and nod. I lean forward and kiss him through the open window. ‘See you in a month. Be good for Mummy.’ We watch as Daddy starts the engine, waves and drives away.
We begin to walk up the hot road and I cheer Helen up. ‘We can buy the Bunty Summer Special now. Better not to tell Mummy about the money. But we can tell her about Nay-me’s long red finger nails and her yellow hair; and that she smells like a bunch of flowers.’