I’ve took two of my tablets, but they haven’t touched the sides and now I’m back down here with a cup of hot chocolate and the gas fire on. I’ve tried to watch a bit of telly but it was the usual claptrap, so I switched it off. I’d put the radio on for the news, but it’ll just be the same stories they’ve been running all day; disgraced politician due for sentencing, heavy snow expected overnight, two lads from Wakefield killed in Afghanistan. She said she’d be home by midnight, but the hands on the clock don’t lie and they’re telling me it’s half past.
There’s no chance of me sleeping. Not yet.
I can hear voices going past the window. People coming back from nightclubs; no, not nightclubs, it’s not time for that yet is it? Pubs stay open longer now. Past one o’clock, some of them. That’s what she told me.
Another cup of hot chocolate.
Ten past one.
I remember the first time we fostered. We’d heard an advert on the radio. It was that actress, that chubby one who was the vicar Of Dibley. She fostered as well. In real life, I mean. It came on while we were sat in traffic. You could really make a difference, she said. We’d talked about it, me and Raymond, discussed it from every angle and then we decided we were going to go for it. We waited for the advert to come on again. I kept a pen and a piece of paper ready and then a few days later I caught the number and rang them up. They come round to do a proper visit, make sure you’re clean living people with proper values.
Quarter to bloody two. What time do nightclubs finish? It’s two o’clock, isn’t it, nightclubs?
She might not be my daughter but she’s my responsibility. Until she’s eighteen years old, I’m held responsible. She’ll come back though. She always does. She’s just trying my patience. Testing the boundaries. I know her game. She must think I haven’t been through this a thousand times before. If Raymond were here she wouldn’t be acting up like this. That I do know.
I’ll hear the key in the door and she’ll creep in with her shoes in her hand and I’ll be sat here with the lights off and the gas fire on and she’ll get the fright of her life Serves her right an’all, the fright she’s given me.
Now then, Madam, I’ll say. What sort of time do you call this?