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Lucy McDougall

Wirral Grammar School for Girls

When I was little I was obsessed with those little toy cars, you know the heavy, old-school ones that provoke profanities if you step on them. My dad played with them as a child and passed them on to me. I would demand that all of my dresses had pockets in them just so I could fill them with my toy cars from the seventies. I took them everywhere with me, finding any surface that I could whizz them along: piano keys, brick walls, coasters lined up with gaps in between – anything with ‘speed bumps’ was a necessity. My favourite was the concrete wall that runs along the edge of the seafront. It was my parapet, the cars my soldiers and the sea was no-man’s-land. I loved them because they had hundreds of thousands of speed bumps and I could watch my little toy cars jiggle around as if they were off-roading; they’d jump around like they were on hot coals and could somehow feel it.

I’ve always been different. Since the dawn of my love for model cars I was branded an outcast, chaff cast aside whilst everyone else was the prize plum pudding with the perfect princess lives and the pretty little dresses; the pretty, perfect girls.

I was never, will never be, and certainly am not that. There’s a breakwater between me and that and they just love to watch me as I zoom my little toy cars along its uneven surface, pretending the rubble in the mixture is just little bumps in the road. And they’d laugh. Laugh at how I only have my cars to protect me and how my lumps and bumps were so much smaller than theirs and how I am in denial of this all.

I like that they can’t see it, it makes it easier for me to build my bulwark out of toy cars, pretending that they are my army. Sometimes I run them along my legs so I can watch them jiggle around over the speed bumps on my skin. This is just a bump in the road. Right?