This a short story for a writing site I was on, the premise was write a story beginning with the words “don’t leave” The child is real and the granny is real, and the words are words the child used cal after his gran………After that the gory details are all mine.
“Don’t leave” the cry echoed in my ears as my feet took me
farther away from him as I left to go to work.
I didn’t want to leave, if truth be told. The poor mite had suffered enough in his
young life, more than any child should have to. Two weeks now, and he still hasn’t got used
to me leaving him with Granddad for a few hours every day. Two weeks since I rescued him from that
devil, my only son. The shame we felt
every time we looked at this poor child is indescribable. Four years old, with the vocabulary of a two
year old baby, nervous anxiety was what the doctors called it, I had my own
name for it, child abuse. The mother was
equally to blame in my book, “ah sure Joe works hard, he hasn’t got the
patience to deal with the kids when he comes in tired”—bullshit in my
opinion. Was he the only father that
went to work to feed his family? Feed his thirst more likely.
I though back thirty-three years, to another four year old
boy skipping in from school. As usual
the shirt tail was hanging out, the stockings down around his ankles. He never walked; he ran everywhere, impatient
to be on to the next adventure, usually mischief. Should we have known then? Should we have
known that this impatience was to become dangerous to an innocent young boy
somewhere in the future? When we
discovered that I was unable to have more children after he was born, I suppose
we did spoil him a bit, but big Joe never once lost his patience with the boy,
never shouted at him or slapped him.
The day I walked into my son’s home two weeks ago, I knew
that things were badly wrong. The girls
were allowed to run wild, the clothes they were allowed to wear were shocking, and
more appropriate for prostitutes than nine and eleven year olds. I managed to hold my tongue, after all times
change and I probably did have some old-fashioned ideas. But I could not keep quiet about little Joe,
that was more than I was capable of. The
bruises on his back and buttocks told their own story, and I went straight
upstairs and packed a suit-case for him and we were back in Ireland the next
Naturally there were protestations of innocence, he fell off
his bike, he fell on the stairs. The
first thing I did when I arrived home was take photos of his bruises, and let
anyone try to tell me these are from child-hood falls. It would be great to be a full time mother to
the boy, but since big Joe’s accident, I have become the breadwinner and must
go out every day. I still think my
little grandson is better off with a part-time mother-figure than with his
sorry excuse for birth parents. He will
never go back to them while I have a breath left in my body. And soon I hope he will understand that I’m
not really leaving him, when I go to work, soon he will trust me to come back. My feet are more and more reluctant to take
me away from him each day; he has become the apple of our eyes. We can only pray that we don’t make the same
mistakes with him that we made with our son.
I will gladly put my own son in prison if he ever tries to take him back
to back to that hell.