My Happiest Day

By Ealga, Age 12 Co. Offaly

I was walking home from school on the 7th of May. I remember that day well. I will never forget it.

As soon as I opened the door, I could smell it. My favourite dinner was cooking - pasta with melted cheese and bacon. I could smell the bacon. It was pulling me inside, entrancing me. I dumped my bag inside the door, hung my coat off the stair banister. I ran straight through the hall to the kitchen and saw Mum and Dad both there. This was strange because whenever Dad was home early, Mum would go out. They looked happy for the first time in a long time.

Mum turned around, saw me and said, “Hi lovie, will you set the table?” I set the table and then they smiled at me.

“How about you go and watch some Netflix before dinner?” Dad suggested.

“I’ll send in a note about homework, lovie.” Mum said.

This was strange, but I took advantage of it.

“I dropped my phone yesterday, and I saw the new iPhone is on sale…” I wheedled. I wasn’t lying, I had dropped it but the new iPhone wasn’t on sale.

“We’ll see.” Dad said. Okay, something was definitely going on here, but this might be my happiest day, because Mum opened the computer and went to an electronic shop website.

I walked into the living room, turned on the TV and pressed play on the next episode of Friends. After maybe five minutes, Mum and Dad called me into the kitchen. There had been no shouting yet today. I know they had been seeing some counsellor, so maybe things were going better. Maybe it would be like this every night! Man, I hope so.

They said they had something to tell me. “We’re going to Disneyland!” I said. This was definitely going to be my happiest day.

“Erm, no chickie,” Dad said. “I knew it was a bad idea to butter her up in advance,” he said in an undertone to Mum as she placed a plate of pasta in front of each of us.

“What? What’s going on? We’re not…moving are we?” I was beginning to get worried. I knew moving wasn’t the worst outcome to come from this conversation.

“No lovie,” Mum said, looking upset as she told me. “Your father and I, we’re separating.” That was the worst possible outcome.

I felt sick, so very sick, like never before. I had no clue what was going on. That had been my nightmare for months and now it was reality. Or maybe not. I pinched myself. Hard. Several times. It didn’t work, I wasn’t dreaming.

Then they started asking me who I wanted to live with and a whole other bunch of rubbish. When I didn’t answer, they decided I’d stay with Mum all week and go to Dad’s on the weekends, but I could go there anytime I wanted after school. Dad left soon after that. Mum hugged me, said it would be all right. But I knew in that moment it wouldn’t be the same again, no matter what.

I thought that was going to be my happiest day. It was my worst day and I will always remember it.