Dad had been on tenterhooks all afternoon. He’d taken time off from work (unusual) showered and shaved, and was wearing his best trousers and a clean shirt.
Gran had been over to help him tidy the house and prepare the small bedroom for ‘a special guest’.
The boys weren’t sure what was going on, but sensed that whoever was coming was important.
The doorbell rang at 6.35, and Dad rushed to answer it.
Ushering their visitor in, he announced ‘This is Jenny.’
She was dressed in a pleated blue skirt and matching sweater, standing some foot shorter than their father, wore glasses and had a head of bubble blond curls. She looked nervous.
‘Hello,’ she said.
‘Hi,’ Jim said. ‘Er, shall I make some tea Dad?’
‘Good idea,’ he replied, rubbing his hands. ‘Let’s sit down.’
It was awkward until the sitter arrived.
Dad never got a sitter, he relied on Gran when he went out, so something was definitely going on.
They were packed off to bed at 7.15. The sitter plonked herself in front of the telly and got her fags out as the two adults left.
The next morning, Jenny was cooking breakfast for them all on their old cooker.
Only two of the four rings worked, and both the oven and grill were iffy, but the smell of bacon was mouth-watering, and there seemed to be a lot of it.
She said hello and asked how they liked their eggs.
They spent the day as a family, going into town and up to the local club in the evening, Dad introducing her to his friends. She even tried her hand at playing pool which was funny as she either missed the ball completely or it shot off the table.
The following day, Dad went up to the club as normal, but Jenny stayed behind and prepared a full roast dinner (no chips!), apple pie, and she even baked a cake.
In the afternoon, they watched TV together.
She left that evening after bath time and tucking the boys in bed, saying she hoped to see them again.
Dad asked them if they liked Jenny, and would they like her to visit again.
Davey wanted to know why. Jim said he wouldn’t mind, and so over the next few months, Jenny came to stay practically every weekend.
Davey rushed in one Sunday morning and found her sharing Dad’s bed.
He ran out again in tears.
‘Go after him,’ she said.
That was how they came to understand that Jenny was Dad’s girlfriend, and if they wanted, she would come and live with them all the time.
Jim was really happy about it, but Davey had a tantrum.
‘You’re my Daddy! I don’t want to share!! It’s not fair!!!’
‘Well, it’s all arranged now and she’s moving in next month.’
She was waiting for them at the school gates one November afternoon.
‘Are you sitting with us tonight?’ Jim asked.
‘Yes, and every night from now on.’
He’d flung his arms round her. Davey glared.
Jenny seemed surprised when Dad got ready to go out later though.
‘Oh, something came up with the lads at the last minute. You don’t mind do you?’
This struck Jim as odd, as Dad had been on about this stag do for ages.
At New Year, they were all invited to a party.
Jenny drove so that Dad could have a couple of drinks, but he got plastered, and on the way home in the early hours, she had to stop three times for him to throw up.
The following day, she was washing sheets and towels though being Sunday, Dad met up with his father and step mother at the club as normal.
Some things changed after Jenny moved in though.
She took them all shopping and they came home with new clothes. Thereafter, every Christmas, birthday and start of a new school term they had new trousers and shirts, their older ones being allocated as ‘play clothes’. They were always measured for shoes, and these too were renewed on a regular basis.
The kitchen was painted and old appliances replaced, and instead of watching TV wrapped in blankets when it was cold (both the gas and TV were on meters, but Dad thought TV was more important), she rented a different TV and later a video, and had both electric and gas meters changed to standard billing.
Pocket money was introduced, but it had to be earned, and extra was up for grabs for washing the car, more if they used the vacuum cleaner and polish.
She was a great cook and took them on outings, even if it was just a ride out in the country. Gran was included too in the holidays when Dad was at work, but at weekends their trips had to include a pub for lunch or a quick pint. Jenny always paid for meals out.
For all this though, Davey didn’t like her.
Sure, he liked all the good stuff but he played up and went whining to Gran or Dad if he didn’t get his own way.
They were seeing their mother now on a regular basis, and he started to play one against the other. Once, Jim heard him tell Mum that Jen didn’t give him breakfast before going to school, never bought him anything new, and had thrown away his toys.
In truth, Jenny bought the cereal he said he liked, but he didn’t want it, just once he’d been given a pair of Jim’s trousers that he’d grown out of, and he had been scribbling with his felt tip pens all over his bed sheets and the furniture, so she’d confiscated them.
Mum took his side, had words with Dad, who in turn had an argument with Jenny.
Dad was going out with the lads three or four times a week now, plus his Sunday sessions leaving Jenny at home. She had been living with them for eight years.
One weekend when Dad was away with his drinking chums, she had a visitor.
Tom was a friend from work and he was in a right state.
It seemed his wife of three weeks had left him, and he needed someone to talk to.
Jenny invited him to stay for dinner, and when the boys went to bed, Tom was still there.
He was asleep on the sofa when they got up in the morning, but after breakfast, he thanked Jenny for listening, kissed her on the cheek and left.
The shit hit the fan when Dad got home. He’d just put his feet up in front of the TV waiting for Jenny to bring in his coffee when Davey told him that her boyfriend had come to stay while he was away and he’d caught them kissing.
Jenny couldn’t believe her ears, Jim was shouted down before he could say anything, and Dad laid into her about carrying on ‘with my kids in the house!‘
He ranted at her for over ten minutes, finally calling her a slut and slapping her face.
The coffee she was holding was thrown in his face, and she rushed to their bedroom.
An hour later, she was still there so Dad sent Jim up.
Jenny was sitting on the bed, rocking herself.
‘Go away,’ she said quietly. ‘I’m alright, honestly, but please, go away.’
For the next few weeks, Dad slept in the spare room.
They didn’t talk much, and when they did, Dad always ended up losing his temper.
Jim overheard one argument about the time she’d gone down to see a sick friend some months previously.
Dad said he didn’t believe it was a ‘sick’ friend now, and how funny that she didn’t talk about it very much.
‘That was because she died!’ she shouted.
Dad stormed out, practically spinning Jim off his legs as he went past.
Then one day they came home from school and she was gone.
There were two letters on the table, one for them and one for Dad.
Jim opened theirs.
‘ Dear Jim and Davey,
I’m sorry, but it’s not right for me to stay anymore.
It’s not your fault, it’s mine.
I can’t be someone or something I’m not, and it’s not fair on either of you to grow up in such an unsettled environment.
Please don’t think too badly of me for not saying goodbye in person.
I love you.
‘She’s gone! She’s gone! Hurray! The bitch has gone!’
Davey was still doing his jig when Dad walked in.
With tears in his eyes, Jim said ‘She left this for you’, and went upstairs.
Several years later and after passing his driving test, he and his best mate took a trip.
Finding her house wasn’t easy as it was tucked behind several others and not visible from the road.
He was nervous knocking on the door, and although the woman who opened it was thinner, her hair long and straight, and wore different glasses, it was definitely Jenny.
‘My Little Jimmy, all grown up! Come in, come in!’
© Copyright 2015 Author Pensitivity101 All rights reserved.