Samuel plays closely with himself, away from his parents who are arguing about money again. He plays soldiers, he is both sides, he wants both sides to win, he wants both sides to lose. He has no sisters or brothers, he never sees his cousins who live far away in the same country. His aunts and uncles often forget his name.
He is eight and popular at school despite being a small boy, his brain is quick and he can make his cohorts feel better.
He dreams of beasts and butterflies, suffocation and a super-saviour with a Halo and love in his eyes. He fears giants and wants to be one of them. One night in bed, playing pilots with the opening of his plastic hot water bottle that he uses to cover his mouth and nose, his hears his mother and father talking. They are coming closer, it is hours since he went to bed, their bedroom is at the other end of the hall.
They come into his room, quietly, and his father switches on his nightlight. They are not angry with him for being awake and playing pilots but still somewhere in him he is frightened. He is also excited, nothing like this has happened before. They might come up individually to scold or soothe him; his father comes in sometimes, late after work to sit by Samuel’s bed and talk softly to him, thinking that his son is asleep. Samuel wonders how often his father does this when actually is asleep, he likes to think that it is every night.
They tell him that he going to have a new brother or sister. His mother looks different. His father looks serious and then like a boy. They explain that the new brother or sister will come after Samuel’s next birthday. They kiss him, both at the same time, one on each cheek. Samuel doesn’t know what to make of it, and takes some time to get back to sleep.
Soon, but a long time away, Samuel’s mother is delivered of a daughter for the boy waiting at home. Samuel is nine. Nobody at school seems to be as excited as a Samuel about the arrival of his new baby sister.