The trouble with being the youngest of three children is that whenever we travel anywhere by car, I always have to sit in the middle. It’s bad enough when we’re just going somewhere near home, but what’s the worst thing in the whole wide world is when we go to Grandma’s house. I get so squashed by my big brother Ben and my big sister Sarah that I’m as thin as a skittle by the time we get there.
It’s always the same. We get onto the motorway and Mum says she’s seen a sign that says something like “A hundred and thirty five zillion miles to Grandma’s house”. She thinks she’s being funny, but actually it just reminds us that we’ve still got to drive about as far as the moon.
So I spread out a little bit, and Ben and Sarah start shouting to Mum about my elbows. Then Mum says something that’s got nothing to do with it, like “Think how pleased Grandma will be to see us, darlings, so do be good”. You have to wonder sometimes whether she really is in the same car as the rest of us.
Of course, that makes Ben and Sarah dig their elbows in me even more but without making any noise, so I have to start kicking them. It isn’t my fault when my foot slips and kicks Dad’s bum through the back of his seat.
Then Dad says “Right, that’s it! I’ve had enough! I’m turning round and going home!” and swerves the car really hard so that Ben jerks sideways and his head hits Sarah’s, over the top of mine (so I’m squished again) and it makes a big noise like dropping one of my wooden bricks on the kitchen floor.
Ben and Sarah go really quiet and go to sleep straight away, which surprises me, but Mum and Dad are too busy arguing to notice. I don’t mind because it means I can now spread out as much as I like.
“Don’t be so childish, Derek,” Mum is saying, and Dad makes a grumpy noise and goes back to proper driving in a straight line the same shape as the road. He mutters something growly about “the trouble with your mother”, and I’m not sure whether he’s talking to us about Mum or to Mum about Grandma, but it makes me feel very sad.
By the time we get to Grandma’s, Ben and Sarah have woken up again, though they look a bit funny and are very quiet. We all get out with our arms and legs not working properly, as usual, but I run about and laugh and joke because I’m really pleased to see Grandma.
Grandma says, “Ooh, you sound like you’ve had a fun journey!”
Dad rolls his eyes, and Mum slaps him on the arm to stop him saying anything. Then she gives Grandma a big hug with both arms, just like I hug Mum when she comes home from work and I’ve missed her ever such a lot, and I know we’re going to have a lovely day at Grandma’s after all.
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