Mum is bent over the kitchen worktop sifting through a pile of soggy junk mail, peeling something of the back of a takeaway pizza menu. I hope both my parents haven’t gone mad, who’ll raise me? I still need much parenting.
“Are you making that noise?” I ask.
“Yes!” she cries, without looking up. “Quick, get some black clothes on.”
“Black clothes?” says Lav, who’s inserted herself into her skinny jeans and is now behind me. “Are we doing a burglary?”
“Emergency mime?” I suggest. (Pretty pleased with that.)
“No!” Mum wails. “Your uncle…” She peers closely at the peeled off piece of wet post.
“… Hamish, no Harold, died last week. I didn’t realize the funeral was today. Get dressed!”
Here’s something you won’t believe.
I, Cymbeline Igloo, have never been swimming.
It’s the swimming bit you won’t believe, by the way, though if you don’t believe my name either, it really is Cymbeline Igloo, and you have to beleive that because it’s written on my schoolbag and in my jumpers and on lots of other things, like my passport. You won’t believe I’ve never been swimming because I mean totally never. Not ever. Not once, in my whole life. I am nine years old!
When I’m not in the pool, I’m counting the minutes until I can dive back, so most of the time my bushy, light-brown hair is wet and reeks of chlorine.
This is the story of my life.
But Friday nights are different because my friends and I have a tradition. We always meet for dinner at Jiffy Burger to talk about our lives. (Okay, mostly our love lives.)