Yesterday Was Wednesday
We are walking away from school; his jumper over his shoulder, his shirt hanging out the back of his trousers.
"Nanny, you look like my friend," he says. He jumps up onto a garden wall and walks along the top of it. A man with a grumpy looking face opens the front door and glares at Harry.
"Youíd better get down from there," I say, nodding toward the man. Harry puts his arms out and falls into mine.
"Her name is Holly," he says. Heís holding my hand, jumping the pavement slabs, making my arm ache with the quick movements.
"I donít believe you," I say, "does she look like me or I like
Harry stops jumping; he walks slowly and tightens his grip on my hand. A woman is sitting on a low wall. The woman Harry calls a witch.
"Is it Thursday or Wednesday?" she asks. "What is today?"
Harry holds on tight to my hand, his blunt fingernails dig into my palms.
"Today is Thursday," I say.
Her lined face smiles at me.
"Thought so." She turns and walks on; we pass her Ė striding along quickly.
"You look like her," he says, "donít think she looks like
you." He lets go of my hand.
"How can that be? Sheís old and has white hair. A crumpled face. Canít walk
"Nanny, you look like Holly," he says, "thatís what I meant. The witch doesnít look like anyone but a
He stops and sits on the kerb. He takes a shoe off; picks a small stone from his sock.
"Is it Wednesday?" Sheís caught us up. She is asking Harry, bending over him, trying to see his face.
"No it isnít." He puts his shoe on and stands. "Wednesday was yesterday. Today is
Their eyes face each other. I hadnít noticed how small she is.
"They seem all the same to me," she says to him. "Except the days the school shuts. Then I stay at
home." She turns and mutters to herself as she shuffles on.
"Nanny, do you think she is a real witch?" Heís kicking a stone along the pavement, concentrating on not losing it, passing it from foot to foot.
"A real, live witch?"
"I think she is a lonely old woman," I say, "I think she goes out for a walk the same time you kids come out of
"Do you?" He picks up his stone and puts it in his pocket.
"And I think she does know what day it is. She wants to talk to people, thatís all. She isnít a
"You wonít look like her when you are old, will you?í
ĎOf course not. Iíll look like Holly wonít I?"
"Good," he says. He opens our garden gate and places his new stone on the rockery.
"Iíll tell you the days of the week if you forget them."