All the Small things 

Blink 182:  Travis Barker

Travis Barker will have to wait. I turn off my iPod to concentrate on finding Dad’s wallet.

“I know I had it,” says Dad. “I remember.” He bangs the side of his head with his hand as if he’s trying to knock the memory out. If only it was that easy. Dad’s forgetfulness is, like, a daily event and I swear he can be the most infuriating person on the planet.

“Daisy,” says Sam, “We’ve only got ten minutes.”

“Plenty of time,” I say, crossing my fingers because it’s a lie.

Sam pokes out his tongue, at me.

Ten minutes to find the wallet, get out of the house, buy some chips for tea and get across town, OR miss the start of the Torchlight Procession. But we can’t go without cash so there’s no choice. 

“Okay, so if you remember having it, where were you at the time?” I say to Dad. “What were you doing with it?” 

“I was dusting and…”

“You were what?” 

                             Dusting + Dad = Unbelievable

“… and I made a cup of tea…” He frowns, and rolls his eyes upwards trying to recall. “… except the milk was off… so I was going to buy some more…” 

“You went to the shops?” I say.

He looks into the distance and nods, slowly. “I think so.”

I take a deep breath. “You can’t remember if you went to the shops?” I say it in my patient voice, feeling more as if I am the mum talking to her kid, instead of the fifteen-year-old talking to her dad. But he’s got what they call an artistic temperament, which means that he’s always got his head in some creative fog and real life has to wait.

“Of course I can remember,” says Dad. “It’s just that I lose track... What did I do yesterday?”

I look at Sam. He’s ready to go, wearing his beloved monkey hat with ears, sitting wonky on his head. It is way too small, but I’m not bothered.

“Help me look, will you?” I say to him. “We don’t want to go without cash.”

And then Dad says, “You’re not letting him wear that are you?” - talking about the hat.

And Sam says, “I can wear what I want.”

And Dad says, “If you want to look ridiculous.”

“You’re not even coming,” says Sam, and then he storms out of the room and slams the door because he Hates, with a capital H, anyone telling him what to do. I wonder where he gets that from, Dad.

“Tell him to leave it here,” says Dad, to me. 

Honestly, I should work for the UN or something because I’m, like, family peace-keeper and chief negotiator all rolled into one. So I follow Sam into the kitchen and I’ve got no intention of laying down the law about hats; I just want him to help me find the wallet so we can escape for a couple of hours. 

But as I open the door, Sam is there swigging milk straight from the carton. “Hey!” I shout. “What do you think you’re…?”

But Sam’s already spitting it back out. “Yeuch!” Milky lumps land on the table. He wipes his tongue with his sleeve. “It’s off!” he says. “See?” and shoves the carton under my nose.

“Oh take it away,” I say. One whiff and it makes me retch. “Tip it down the sink.” 

Sam holds the carton upside down and we watch the lumps of milk drop onto the stainless steel, sperlatt sperlatt sperlatt, and slide towards the plug hole. "Gross!” says Sam.

“That’ll teach you.” I turn the cold tap full on to wash the globs away.

“It’s not me who needs teaching,” Sam says. “I didn’t leave it out. And it’s not fair because he’s allowed to do whatever he wants and no one tells him off, but …”

“All right,” I say. “So it wasn’t you. But you still shouldn’t drink from the carton. It’s dirty.” I don’t know how many times I’ve told him that already. I pick up the dishcloth and some bleach spray, and clean milky spit from the table then rinse the carton and throw it in the bin. I look at the clock. “Just help me find Dad’s wallet, please?” I offer him my hand for a high five and he slaps me hard, laughing. 

When he looks happy with the amount of pain I pretend to be in, he starts looking; in the washing machine, the laundry basket and then the fridge. He’s usually quite good at finding the things Dad loses, as if they’re on the same mad wavelength or something, but I’m thinking he’s way off the mark today. And I’m about to tell him to forget it, when he shouts, “Found it!” 

Dad’s wallet is inside the fridge door, on the milk shelf, nestled between a carton of juice and a can of Mr Sheen. No milk. I raise my eyes, like, totally despairing, but Sam just thinks it’s all very funny. I put the Mr Sheen under the sink with the other cleaning stuff, take a twenty pound note, and slip the wallet into Dad’s coat pocket. We shout goodbye, and leave before he can have a go at anyone about the monkey hat.


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