Kevin spent the first week scared his father would find out and the second week wishing he would. His father had taken him and Nate abroad for the first time and it hadn’t turned out quite as he expected.
For a start he had brought Tammy with him, even though he said he would just take the boys. She was OK but whenever she was around his Dad acted differently. Like he was always trying to impress her and like he’d forgotten he even had children. Kevin didn’t really want 2 weeks of being an afterthought.
Then the villa wasn’t all it was supposed to be. Their Dad had booked it through a mate of a mate and it didn’t sleep 6 to 8 as he’d said. There was only 1 double room not 3, so Dad and Tammy had that. The next room had 2 beds but Nate said, “You’re not sleeping with me, shrimp,” so Kevin had to go into the little room. It was pink. Pink everywhere and not even a nice pink but that horrible pink so bright it’s scary.
And he missed his Mum so much more than he thought he would, alone each night in his pink room. He hugged Donald tight and screwed his eyes up tight to stop tears from coming. In the morning he would hide Donald back in his pants drawer so Dad didn’t find him and laugh at him.
But Tammy had been alright on the trip. Each morning they would eat breakfast together and then head out to the pool they shared with the other villas on the complex. Tammy would rub lotion all over her skin, stick a hat on and settle down with a book. If his Dad tried to chat for too long, she’d smile, suggest he take Kevin swimming and start reading again. So he at least got to spend some time in the water with Dad.
Nate met a girl the second day so Kevin hardly saw him and even when he turned up, he only wanted to talk about stuff he did with Melissa. Most of it sounded revolting and Kevin was sure that in 5 years, when he was 17, he definitely wouldn’t want to do the things Nate said he wanted to do to Melissa.
They usually ate at a restaurant on the complex or near the beach. Dad and Tammy would have a few beers then walk back to the villa with Kevin. If Nate had joined them for food, he would be off again with Melissa. Kevin was allowed to stay up until 10.30 then he disappeared to bed whilst Dad and Tammy sat drinking wine on the terrace. He would count off the nights until he could be back home with Mum and wish tomorrow was the last day.
One night, when he had been in bed for about 10 minutes, there was a tap on his door. Tammy asked if she could come in. He hid Donald under the sheet.
“You OK Kevin? You were a bit quiet tonight.”
“I’m fine,” said Kevin. “Just tired.”
“Really? I thought maybe you weren’t enjoying it here.”
“No, it’s fine. I mean, it’s good. Great.”
Tammy reached out and untucked Donald, who was only half hidden. “It must be a bit weird being here, with me I mean. I hope that’s not why you aren’t having so much fun.”
“No that’s not it. It’s just...” Kevin looked round the room. “I have a pink bedroom. Nate never has time for me now he’s got Melissa. Dad’s great. But he’s not Mum.” His voice had shrunk to a whisper.
From the door, his Dad said “I’m sorry mate, I didn’t think. I thought a big boy like you would get cross if I asked whether you missed your Mum. Why don’t we ring her now, so you can say goodnight.” He sat on the edge of the bed.
Kevin sat up and grinned. “Yeah, that would be good. She’s probably missing me anyway.”
Dad mussed his hair. “From now on, we can phone every night. And tomorrow we can do whatever you want all day.” He glanced round. “Except paint the room. I think you’re stuck with that.”
Inspired by "On Holiday With The Enemy"