Samantha Riggins had been left at the station.“You’re old enough to travel by yourself to your nan’s, now, so you keep telling me. Let’s see you prove it,” said her mum, her mouth like a wasp sting.
Samantha shrugged. She didn’t care. Inside little tickles of excitement danced happy dances.
“How long am I staying? Overnight?”
“Do you think you can manage that? Can you last that long without social media? You know Nan doesn’t allow you to use your phone when you’re there, and she doesn’t have a tv.”
“I know,” whined Samantha. “I’m not an idiot. I’ve been to Nan’s before. I’ve even stayed overnight before.”
Her mother glared. “You spent the whole of the holiday moaning about how deprived and hard done by you’d been.”
“Yes, well…” Samantha regrouped, “I’m older and I can go longer without. I want to go to Nan’s.”
“Pack your bag, I’ll drop you at the station. You’ll have to pay for the ticket yourself, I haven’t got any spare to give you. Your father has left me short again this week. He needs to get his wages…” Her mother shut her mouth like a trap, folding her lips inside.
Samantha ran upstairs before her mother could change her mind. She stuffed her backpack with all the necessities she would need for the night, only remembering her toiletries and pyjamas after a shout from below.
“Already done!” she bellowed in return.
There was silence in the car. Lately there had always been silence in the car. Maybe when she got back she’d have things to tell her mother. Like how Nan had moaned about her, how the shower took ages to heat up, or boiling her egg for five minutes. And Mum would laugh knowing that Samantha hated soft boiled eggs.
Samantha bought a return ticket with her birthday money. She was actually doing it. On her own.
And then she saw the back of a head she knew through the connecting door.
“It’s not real, is it?” Her heart sank.
Her nan turned round and smiled.