“Get up” dads voice grumbles down the hall, I open my eyes and just stare at the ceiling, my new glow-in-the dark stickers twinkle down at me. I get up and throw on my trackies, a long sleeved top, a hoody and some sneakers, then amble still half-blinking down the hall. Dad passes me my prepacked school bag and because he knows I’ll complain once we’re outside he drapes one of his big hunting coats over my shoulders, it smells metallic and gritty, like home. We hop in the Ute and drive the ten minutes to grandad’s house in comfortable silence and darkness with the occasional headlights of oncoming traffic to illuminate us.
As we pull into the gravel drive, I lean over and give dad a kiss on his prickly cheek and he tells me to “have a shave you hairy bitch” I giggle and we exchange our love. “Seeya” I call over my shoulder as I run the rest of the way up the drive to the back door. Kicking off my shoes, I don’t bother knocking. I dump my bag and run through the old house to the dining room.
Grandad sits at his table with a view of the road so he can see us coming, I give him a swift kiss on the cheek and he passes me a mug of hot tea he has waiting for me. We do crosswords mostly, sometimes I read to him, not because he’s incapable but because he says it’s good for me, other times he’ll play some of his old records and we’ll sit in soft melody waiting for the world to wake-up.
At a more reasonable hour grandad will cook scrambled eggs and by cook I mean he’ll pop some eggs in the microwave, give them the occasional stir and voila! Some of the most delicious eggs I have ever had. We butter bread greedily and lay the eggs on and eat as though we are eating alone, with no one there to watch our gluttony. We occasionally glance at each other and smile or laugh when someone has butter running down their chin.
When it’s time to go I put on my shoes and pick up my school bag. Grandad takes me by the hand and we walk side by side through the paddocks that double as rugby fields on the weekend, they start at my grandads back gate. He walks me to the fence and I hop over the bit with a step and lean back over to give him a quick kiss “see you later grandad”. I wander over to the small crowd of other country kids and glance back at grandad. He is perched on the fence with a smile, exactly where he will be waiting for me when the bus drops me off this afternoon and every other day too.