Kevin saw it first. Mam was still shouting at Heather, and Heather was still shouting at Mam, like they had been for half an hour and half Heather’s existence on this planet. Trixie, funny little dog that she is, was barking and jumping up and down in the middle of them, like it was a game to see who could be the loudest.
“How man, look at that.” Kevin was looking out of the window, all five foot six of him silhouetted with the sinking sun, hands on his narrow hips.
“Steal from my purse again and you’ll be out on the street!” Mam was shouting.
“How! Would youse stop yellin’ and look at this,” Kevin shouted over his shoulder.
“What?!” Heather and Mam said together.
“Canny rainbow that, like.” Kevin nodded at the window.
Heather went to stand next to him first. “Ee, there’s two of them,” she said in surprise.
There was almost silence for a minute. Trixie was panting and trotting round Mam’s legs, til Mam decided to go and have a look herself. “Double rainbow,” she said. Then she went and picked the key off the top of the picture frame and opened the door to the balcony. I followed her out and stood next to her, looking across the city to the double bands of colour prettying up the sky. Kevin and Heather came out, and shut the door on Trixie. She hadn’t wanted to come out here since we moved into the high rise, but you never know with a dog like Trixie. She stood at the door, wagging her tail, barking intermittently.
“Knew there had to be summat good about moving to this shit hole.”
Mam reached around me and clipped Kevin round the ear. “Mind your language.”
“Well, man,” said Kevin.
He had a point.
(A note on the dialect: I’m a Geordie though you’d never know it to hear me speak, but I can lapse at any moment into a full on Cheryl Cole, given a glass of wine. It’s a difficult thing to replicate a dialect like Geordie, when a word like ‘how’ is used to mean ‘come on’ or ‘please’ or ‘stop it’, and ‘man’ is used constantly, often as an exclamation of frustration. I don’t entirely expect everyone to get it, but it makes sense to me.)