‘That’s all right, Jean. I can’t stand bullies. I’ll give their backsides a good kick if I see them again.’
Jean shut the front door and took Jimmy into the kitchen. She pulled a chair from under the table, sat him down, and flicked the switch on the electric kettle and rinsed two mugs under the tap.
‘What you need is a good strong mug of tea.’
Jimmy just wanted to go to his bedroom and change out of his damp jeans, but he knew there was no point in arguing with his mother.
‘Look at the grass stains on your new T-shirt and jeans. I don’t know about Tommy, but I’ll kick their backsides if I get my hands on them! Was it that Nathan Green again?’
Jimmy didn’t answer and gazed down at the floor.
‘I’ll go around to see his mother. I’m not putting up with this.’
‘No!’ said Jimmy. ‘You’ll only make it worse.’
‘So it was him.’
She put her arm around his shoulder and gave him an affectionate kiss on his forehead.
‘He shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it, son, especially you being handicapped.’
Handicapped – why did she have to use that word? He had cerebral palsy. His coordination was impaired; if he ran, he fell over. His right arm was thin and weak and hung limply by his side – he hated it. He hated cerebral palsy. Why couldn’t he be normal just like the other kids?
‘Come on, Jimmy, you’ll enjoy yourself.’
Jimmy stood on his front doorstep surrounded by his three mates.
‘You’ll have a great time.’
Danny opened his jacket to reveal a large bottle of cider.
‘You can help us drink this on the way.’
‘Yeh – come on, Jim,’ said Sean.
‘Yeh, come on, mate,’ urged Lee.
Jimmy’s mum shouted from the kitchen. ‘I don’t want you staying in tonight! I’ve got Joe coming round!’
Decision made – Jimmy was going to the party with his mates.