I’m returning to my children’s story about two girls, Peggy who is the narrator and her younger sister Barbara. They have gone to stay with their grandma who lives by the sea, not far from a lighthouse. Peggy is an avid reader and is forever trying to please people, especially adults; her sister Barbara is their mother’s favourite and very spoiled.
I just stood there petrified… actually people usually say petrified when they mean frightened but actually when I looked it up in my dictionary I found that petrified is also something turned to stone. That’s how I felt, turned to stone as I looked at the broken juggler.
Barbara was crying so loudly that’s all I could hear and then i realised Granny was there and hushing Barbara telling her to stop her silly noise. I thought it was a silly noise, I always do but I never say that because mummy always says for me not to be so unkind, and that Barbara is really upset. I try not to cry because it’s not manly – I don’t mean I’m a man. I’m a little girl, but I heard my other grandma tell Daddy it wasn’t manly to cry, so maybe it means something else nothing to do with being a man.
I felt a whole lot of crying building up inside me but I didn’t want to let it out and just looked down at the broken juggler who was a bit fuzzy because my eyes seemed very watery.
“Peggy broke the juggler, i told her I told her she wasn’t to touch it but she did and now she’s broken the juggler!” and Barbara went off into one of her howls.
“Barbara Joy! That is enough! Any more of this silly nonsense and you will go and sit on the stairs for five minutes!” and grandma looked quite fierce. “Now Peggy, tell me how it happened. You know you’re not supposed to touch the things on that shelf, so how did the juggler get broken.”
I couldn’t think of what to say. No-one likes a tell-tale-tit, and saying ‘it was Barbara‘ sounds very childish and I try to be mature. Brown Owl said I was very mature for my age but she said it quite sternly so when I looked it up in my dictionary and it said ‘fully grown‘ which I’m not but it also said fully developed in mental, emotional, or physical qualities. I decided that Brown Owl was paying me a compliment, and I liked that and then the dictionary also said sophisticated –
“Peggy!” said grandma very sternly and looking very serious and I knew my mind had wandered and I knew that it seemed as if i wasn’t answering her.
“I’m sorry Granny,” I said meaning I was sorry for letting my mind wander but it sounded as if I was saying sorry for breaking the juggler.
“Go to your room, Peggy, I’m very disappointed in you!”
I was disappointed in me too because I couldn’t stop tears bouncing down my cheeks. I couldn’t bear Granny being disappointed in me like mummy is, I just couldn’t bear it, and I didn’t even notice that i still had the broken juggler as I walked past her and Barbara and went up the stairs to my bedroom.
I must confess I broke down. I read that sentence in a book last year; it was an adult book from the library, and I wondered what it meant, but then I worked it out. I didn’t think I would ever say it about myself but I sat on the edge of my bed and really cried.
“For goodness sake, Peg, buck up!” I told myself eventually and went to the chest of drawers to find a hankie. Granny had put all my clothes away and they were very neat and tidy and I told myself that I must try and keep them neat so she would be pleased with me. I knew she was very cross with me now, and I knew she was very upset because she loved the juggler too.
I had been sitting on the window seat in the sitting room, half reading and half looking out of the window. It’s round like a porthole and I love sitting there and pretending I’m on a ship going to sea. I think I was half dreaming and I didn’t know what Barbara was doing.
She had come into the sitting room and said did i want to play dolls with her and I said no. When she plays with dolls they are babies and she’s mummy and it’s silly and boring. When I play with my teddies we are a band of heroes having adventures. I tell Barbara stories with her dolls being heroes but she says I’m boring.
“Look at the juggler, he’s playing hide and seek!” Barbara suddenly said and pushed her doll in front of my book.
I didn’t see what she meant and I was annoyed because I was just about to order the crew to board the pirate ship we were coming alongside. Then I saw she had the juggler hidden under the doll’s dress.
“Barbara! That’s very naughty! Granny told us we mustn’t touch her things!” I was shocked. I was absolutely shocked. “Put it back! You must put it back!”
I jumped off the window seat and Barbara skipped away waving the juggler! I was petrified. She might drop it, she might drop the beautiful juggler and break him!
He stood on a little round green tuft of grass in his shoes with pointy curly toes and bells on the end. You couldn’t really see they were bells, just a dot of yellow, but I knew they were. He had his legs crossed, one yellow and one red, and his top which was almost like a very short dress was half red and half yellow, but the other way round from his legs, He had his hands out as if he was shrugging his shoulders, one arm red, the other yellow, and he had four small green balls in his hands, two in each. He had his head on one side and his hat with three pointy horn shapes had little yellow dots on the ends for bells.
But it was his face that I loved, he was smiling or laughing with his mouth open, and his eyes were shut and shaped like upside down moons… and now he was broken, his legs were in one of my hands, his top in the other and one arm and one of the horns had broken off. He was still smiling despite his injuries. Should it be despite or in spite of? I will write it in my book and ask my teacher.
There was a knock at the door and granny came into my bedroom. She always knocks which makes me feel grown up, but I didn’t feel very grown up now and a tear dropped onto the lovely, beautiful, broken juggler.