Big Boy

Dad looks pleased this morning. We’re wearing the same clothes. He’s dressed me in a white shirt, just the same as his. He gives me a hug and we get ready to leave. Mum groans and pulls a funny face. ‘Men’ she says as we set off. I have no idea what she means.

I’ve been on the Tube before but this time lots of people are wearing the same shirt as us. Dad holds me tighter than usual but he’s smiling. After we get off, we’re all going in the same direction; hundreds of us. My Dad picks me up and carries me pointing towards a big building, even bigger than my nursery. He tells me all about it but I don’t really take it in; I’m hungry. Dad buys me a burger and I cover it in tomato sauce. Mum doesn’t let me do that but my Dad just winks at me and tells me it’s our secret.

We go through a funny gate and climb the stairs; lots of them. Soon we’re in a place with so many chairs with grass in the middle and posts at each end; just like the park. My Dad asks if I know how many people will be here soon. I start to count; one, two, three but I don’t know enough numbers. He laughs and tells me a big number but it doesn’t mean anything. I just know it’s more than I’ve ever seen and it’s exciting. The building is soon full of people and men run onto the pitch to loud music. Some are dressed in my shirt and we cheer. Others are in red shirts and we shout boo, just like we did at the pantomime.

If we go out to a restaurant and I make a noise, Mum and Dad tell me to be quiet but here no-one seems to care. They sing nursery rhymes I don’t know, sometimes with bad words, and they shout at the men kicking the ball. Then there’s a huge noise like the roar of a lion. I can’t see because everyone stands up. My Dad picks me up and kisses me. That’s funny. He only ever kisses me goodnight, never in the day. Dad is happy and I’m happy too but I’m getting tired now. I have a little sleep and I wake up in the arms of my Dad being carried through the crowds.

The Tube is busier than before but people make room for us. Mum tells me never to talk to strangers but my Dad speaks to the people around him even though he doesn’t know who they are. The people smile, make jokes and ruffle my hair. I don’t like it but I think my Dad would be upset if I say anything so I don’t. He says it’s my first game and looks at me proudly. He tells me that I’m a big boy now.

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