Tuesday 22 August 2023

dashed by Hannah Retallick, cold water with a bitter pill


uncle peter said hed take me to the zoo on friday to see the tigers – we tried months ago when i was really really little but the zoo people at the door said there was an accident in the elephant pen and it was shut that day sorry – even the tigers – when we got home uncle peter told mummy our hopes were dashed – he said next time it would be open and i could buy something from the giftshop and even have cake in the cafe if i was good and it wasn’t too close to dinner time and how did that sound – it sounded very very good

then he couldnt for ages and ages – he kept being too tired – i told him to sleep more – he must have listened to me because he got better and said fridays the day michael – ill make sure he eats lots in the cafe – hes got skinny – ill have four pieces of chocolate cake to help him be squidgy again


i thought hopes could only get dashed one time – im always right mostly – now im wrong – they can get dashed two times – i know that because its happening


mummy says uncle peter cant go to the zoo on friday – she says hes gone to A Better Place – i wish hed taken me too – it must be very very good if its better than the zoo – mummy says we can go anyway but doesnt seem happy about it and starts crying and saying im sorry michael im so so sorry – now shes snotting on her sleeve like she always tells me not to do – she knows how excited i was to go with uncle peter – now shes leaning on the table with her elbows like she always tells me not to do – i touch her arm – now shes shaking and feels like uncle peters shaver that i wasn’t meant to use on my eyebrows – i told him he shouldnt have used it all over his head either and he said I was a cheeky little and then stopped

i think mummys upset because she really really doesnt want to be near the tigers – i tell her she shouldn’t be scared because there are fences to keep people safe and if we don’t climb over them we wont get hurt and make our hopes dashed – now shes crying more – i give her a bear hug and tell her its okay and she doesnt need to take me if she doesnt really want to – now her nose is dangling a snot tail so i pull lots of tissues out of the box for her before it can drop – she says thank you – it sounds like ank ooo –

its okay its okay i tell her lots of times – i can wait until uncle peter comes back from A Better Place if she doesnt want to go to the zoo – maybe hell be back by Saturday


About the author 

Hannah Retallick is from Anglesey, North Wales. She was home educated and then studied with the Open University, graduating with a first-class BA (Honours) Arts and Humanities (Creative Writing and Music) degree, before passing her creative writing MA with distinction. Her work has been placed and shortlisted in several international competitions. https://www.hannahretallick.co.uk/about 


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