I once had a pet fly called Buzz. No, really – I did. He was a boy fly. No, don’t ask me how I knew that.
I used to keep him in a jar by my bed. He used to make this really great buzzing noise that I could hear through the holes I had made in the lid of the jar. It sang me to sleep in the night and woke me up in the morning.
I used to let him out of the jar every day so that he could stretch his wings. He would swoop around the room like my very own stunt-plane display. Landings and takeoffs were his best thing.
Sometimes he would come and sit on my arm but mostly on the back of my hand. I guess he wasn’t keen on being on the hairs on my arms and so he zoomed in on the smoothest flesh. Plus, I used to put honey on my hand.
He was an iridescent blue. My mom helped me to find that word in the dictionary. Actually, she told me the word first and then we looked it up together. It means ‘showing luminous colours that seem to change when seen from different angles’.
I asked my mom what kind of fly is mostly blue because that’s what Buzz was, and she said a bluebottle. I was a bit confused my that because Buzz didn’t look anything like a bottle.
Kids in school used to say ‘you’re stupid’ and I used to say ‘no, you’re stupid’. One of them tried to hit me once, which kind of proved my point. I’m big now and I haven’t grown much since then. I nearly got suspended for what I did to that kid. But Betty said that I was provoked. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but it meant that I got let off.
I liked Betty after that, but I still preferred spending time with Buzz. That is, until the accident.
I heard it happen, but I wasn’t in my bedroom at the time. Mom was there cleaning. And Buzz was there too, in his jar, on the window-ledge, next to the open window, getting some air. When I asked her if she did it, she said ‘probably’, but that could have meant anything. It probably meant that she didn’t care either way. She was a bit mean like that sometimes. Particularly the day after the nights that Dad came home late.
She used to mutter ‘working late at the office, my fanny-pack’ under her breath when she thought I couldn’t hear. But that’s always been my superpower: listening to things I’m not meant to hear.
That night, I thought that Buzz had woke me up at first, but then I knew it couldn’t have been him because that was the night of the day of the accident.
It was the engine of a car that woke me, then it was the slam of the front door hitting the wall that opened my eyes wide and then it was the shouting that made me lay there listening. I heard my name said a couple of times and then I heard another sound. It got me out of bed. It was the sound of something breaking. Probably a plate on the tiled wall in the kitchen. It sounded just like a jar smashing on the path below my bedroom window.
I got to a place that was about halfway between my bed and the door to my room. I didn’t know where I was going so I just stood there. More whispering and then a loud noise that made me jump. Like something big falling onto something hard. I can’t tell you what that was, but judging by the way that my mom’s face looked the next morning – not iridescent, but with colours that brought that word to mind – I could guess what the noise was.
Then there was the sound of the front door slamming and the sound of a car door doing the same. There was an engine revving. It sounded angry but that faded the further the car got away from the house. And that was the last we saw of Dad. And I didn’t even see him, which made it worse.
I didn’t get to say goodbye to him. And I miss him a lot. I miss the games that we used to play. He was fun to be around and it’s a shame that he’s not around any more. I was sad for a long, long time.
And yeah, I guess that I miss Dad too.