The Week Off

Entry by: Sémaigho

29th December 2017
The week off.
As soon as I came downstairs I could tell it was the week off. I’m not just saying because it was very dark and I was a bit afraid. It was the smell that came from the dark. It was a smell you could taste too, and a feeling to the dark, just like the feeling from the old velvet jacket that got wet when the dog peed on it after granny gave it to us for dressing up.
But I’m only eight and I don’t know what to do when the week is off. If mam was up she would know. Like the way she takes fish or something from the fridge and says straight away “That’s the fish off”. She would then drop it in the bin, but you can’t drop a whole week in the bin.
I sat on the bottom step to think, and with the week off I think there is a smell on my clothes. I close my eyes and stroke the wet velvet. Then I smack my lips together several times and it tastes like the smell of granny’s house. When I got to eight I was allowed to get my own breakfast. I usually get cereal from the press and milk from the fridge, or sometimes I make toast and I’m sure not to burn myself. But I don’t know now. I should have listened to mam properly. Last night she was talking to dad about it.
‘What are you going to do with the week off?’ dad asked.
‘I’m just going to stay in bed,’ is what she said. But I was busy using “twenty best apps that help your kid get smart”, which mam had downloaded for me, and didn’t ask what I should do with the week off. With the week off does that mean everything is off?
If mam stays in bed who will know what to drop in the bin? I don’t think dad knows.
‘I think that ham is off,’ mam would say.
‘Ah, its fine’ dad would say, continuing to make a sandwich and mam would move her shoulders the way adults do.
Then I started wondering if people could be off.
‘I’ve gone right off her’ mam would say about a friend, and then she would find another friend until she went off.
I am lucky because my bestest friend has never gone off. I wouldn’t like it if she was stinky the way it is now with the week off. Then I thought of my dog Alfie. He is white and mam says he is a Bison. She wrote it down and I learnt to spell it. He sleeps in the utility room and he hasn’t started barking like he usually does when the first person comes into the kitchen in the morning. Maybe he’s just very tired or maybe he’s gone off.
Because I don’t really know what to do with the week off I start making up prayers. First I pray to holy God, and then to the tooth fairy and then to Santa. I sit on the step and wait for the prayers to work. Then Alfie starts barking mad, but with the week off all around me I stay where I am. Mam comes out on the landing and when she looks over the bannisters she sees me sitting on the last step.
‘Milly, what are you doing sitting in the dark at six o’clock in the morning?’ she says, and then she comes downstairs in her dressing gown.
‘Just one week where I don’t have to get up real early for work. When was the last week off?’ she asks me but I don’t remember. She rushes past me to let the dog out so that he will stop barking.
‘Is it just this week that’s off, mam?’ I ask as I follow her.
‘Of course it’s only the one week. Next week is back to normal.’ Mam is very cross but I’m just glad that the week off will finish on Sunday. Then dad comes out on the landing because of the dog barking mad and mam shouting.
‘So much for a lie in on the week off,’ she says up to him when he leans on the banisters and yawns.
‘Is that the best thing to do with the week off mam? Just stay in bed until it goes away?’
‘Yes, unless you get taken off to somewhere the sun is shining all the time,’ she says looking up at dad. Dad moves his shoulders and then goes back to bed, scratching his bum the way he tells me not to.
‘Go back to bed Millie,’ she says as she follows dad.
I pick up Alfie and go back to my bed. When I sniff Alfie he smells fine so I pull the covers over our heads and hide from the week off.