• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 07

Sid Lived by the Back Door

Grandma used to darn her tights. She’d darn them until they were ‘more holey than righteous’. Then she’d collect them all up in an old Sainsbury’s bag that lived in the cupboard under the stairs and when she had enough, she’d knit a long tube and stuff it. Full. Of holey tights.
The last tube she knitted was bubblegum pink, chocolate brown and bogey green. Sammy said that she’d made it specially to look like one of those blocks of stripey Italian ice cream. She’d really just used up all the spare bits of wool she could find, in the cupboard under the stairs.
Sammy named the tube Sid. Sammy wasn’t very original. He cried when I told him that. He said that Grandma would have liked the name Sid and that I was just mean and that he would tell on me. He didn’t. We never told on each other. Sammy took Sid everywhere we went. I told him that Sammy was supposed to stay home, by the back door, where Grandma had put him first, to stop the wind blowing under the gap. But Sammy wouldn’t leave him. In the summer, we piled into the car, Mum driving; Sammy, Sid and me in the back. Sid sat in the middle, curled partly round Sammy’s arm, with his tail resting on me. Sammy slept a lot and then threw up. On Sid. Sammy cried.
We stopped by a lake and Mum said we could go in a rowing boat. I’d always wanted to go in a rowing boat and go forwards while I was facing backwards. I whispered to Sammy that he could wash Sid in the lake. Get rid of the sick. Sammy hung Sid over the side of the boat but Sid got heavier and heavier until Sammy’s arms hurt hanging on to him. Sammy let him go and Sid’s bubblegum tail slipped under the water. Sammy cried.
When winter came, the cupboard under the stairs was empty. The wind blew under the back door and the house was cold. We were all cold. Without Sid. And Grandma.