When I found out Dad was coming back home I was really excited but a little scared, I didn’t want it to be like it was last time. Mum said we could still have a party but it would just be for family this time, I was really glad about that because the last one was horrible and people just got drunk.
We all went to meet Dad, Mum, Chloe and me, we were well excited by the time we got there. Mum didn’t seem as excited as me and Chloe but I knew all about the rows they’d been having. I just hoped that now Dad was coming home, things would get back to how they were. Dad seemed really pleased to see us all and was talking all the way home, it was like before he went the first time. I was so glad to see Dad so happy and Mum looked happy to.
When we got home and Dad saw the “Welcome Home” banner I had made he laughed and gave me a great big hug, he said it was brilliant. Mum looked like she was going to cry but I knew she was happy.
The party was good for a bit and Nanny Lynn and Granddad were there as well. We were all having a really good time and then Dad got a phone call from Nick. Nick was Dads friend who had been blown up and was in a wheelchair. I used to like Nick but the last time Dad came home he was horrible to my Mum.
Dad said he was going to the pub with Nick and that he would be back later. I could tell Mum was really angry and she asked him not to go because we had done the party for him. Dad said he wouldn’t be long and that he wanted to see his friends. I can remember the door slamming and Mum looking really angry. I didn’t know then but that was what it was always going to be like. Dad lied, I stayed awake for ages waiting for him to come home and could hear Mum on the phone to Nanny Lynn saying she was really upset with my Dad, I hoped they weren’t going to start arguing and fighting again.
When I got up the next day Dad was sat at the table with a cup of tea, I remember that he looked really ill, he said he’d had one too many, I think he meant too much beer. Mum was still upstairs with Chloe, so I asked Dad if we could go out and do something because we were off School. Dad said we couldn’t that day because he was busy and had to meet Nick. That made me upset, it was like Dad didn’t want to do anything with me and he had only just got back. I had been so happy to see him back but he didn’t seem as happy as me.
I can’t remember every time but Dad seemed to stay at the pub with Nick more and more, Mum didn’t like Nick and I heard her tell Dad that she didn’t want Nick in the house because he was trouble. I don’t know what she meant, I just knew she didn’t like him.
I didn’t know but Dad had decided he was leaving the Army and that meant he would have to find a new job. I thought that was really weird because my Dad had always been a soldier and I didn’t want him to be anything else. I know I shouldn’t have but I used to listen to Mum and Dad talk and Mum would ask Dad what he was going to do and he said he didn’t know but something would turn up.
All Mum and Dad seemed to do was argue and fight, me and Chloe hated it and used to go upstairs when they got like that. I knew it was my Dad’s fault because he was always coming home really late and sometimes I even heard him come home in the morning. When it was like this I just wanted to be at school, even though I hated school to, at least there nobody was arguing.
When I got home from School if Dad was back from work it was nearly always really quiet in the house. Mum and Dad never seemed to talk anymore and as soon as we’d had tea Dad would just go to the pub with Nick. I didn’t mind because at least then I could sit with Mum and Chloe and we would watch TV together till bed time. I used to help Mum put Chloe to bed and we would read her a story till she fell asleep, then I would have Mum all to myself downstairs and we would chat and watch TV.
I hated all the arguments Mum and Dad were having, I just wanted it to be like it used to be. They used to laugh all the time and make jokes about things, why couldn’t they be happy anymore. When I talked about it at School somebody said my Mum and Dad would get a divorce and so I hit him. Mum got called into School and I was told I was on a last chance, I told Mum why I had hit him and she said it didn’t matter what other people thought but I knew she was sad and mad at me. I didn’t like making my Mum upset, because I saw my Dad do it all the time and it made her cry.
When Mum told Dad about what had happened at School he just said something about it just being kids stuff and not to worry. He smiled at me and asked me if I’d won the fight, I said yes and he seemed happy. Mum just got more upset and now I didn’t know who I should be trying to make happy. I was with my Mum all the time but I knew if I could make my Dad happy again then everything would be alright.
I’m not sure how long it was after, but Dad left the Army and said he was looking for a new job. It seemed really strange having him home all the time and him and Mum were just fighting more and more. Mum used to say that he was getting under her feet and that he needed to get a job.
Dad would swear a lot and say he couldn’t get a job because he was ill, he didn’t look ill. Ever since Dad had come back from Afghanistan the second time he used to wake up a lot in the night and I would hear him shouting and screaming. To start with I thought he was shouting at Mum and I would run into the room to see what was up. Mum said he was having nightmares and he was ok, it was really scary and would wake Chloe up and she would start crying. I thought Dad was going to hurt my Mum.
Dad wouldn’t talk about it when I asked him so I asked Mum. She said it was because of the things that had happened in Afghanistan that made Dad have bad dreams. She told me that was why he liked going to the pub a lot and having some beer, because it helped him to forget. That didn’t make any sense to me because when he went to the pub he always remembered the things in his sleep.
I thought it was horrible what was happening to my Mum, Dad and Chloe, but after a while things got even worse.