The Run Away

Today has been equally as shit as yesterday was. Work was shit. I was supposed to have gone to this book launch thing in town last night straight after work. There’s this author who’s relatively famous and lives in Dundee and she had this big deal book launch, and I was supposed to swing by for a bit after work, but with the PoshPhD drama, I completely forgot all about it. Then today I got a call from two of our authors. One was doing a reading at this lit fest in East Fife today, and Loraine was supposed to originally go. So he called wanting to know why I wasn’t there in her place? The answer: I didn’t even know about it. Then another author of ours called because he’s doing a book reading in Glasgow tomorrow and wanted to know why the publisher hadn’t sent over his books for sale yet. The answer: because I didn’t even know about the reading, so I never asked the publisher to send books. I had to call and get books over nighted, which obviously has cost a fortune.

Then I was shuffling through the post splitting up Loraine’s personal mail from the Agency stuff, when I came across a bill with a big red stamp on the outside saying for immediate attention. Since Philip said to let him know if there was anything urgent in the post, I opened it, and it was a remittance notice. The Agency owes a fuck load of money for the office space in London, and it’s about to go to collection.

I know Loraine is having a bit of a difficult time dealing with her mum’s death, but how does it get to remittance notices. This had to start long before LadyBohemia died. I scanned the bill and sent it to Philip in an email. He got back to me later in the day to say thank you, and he would ‘take care of it’. God, I hope he does take care of it. I really don’t want to be out of a job. I actually do like my job (even if I’m not that great at it), and I don’t know if I can find another job, because I’m not that great at it. 

Then in a cruel twist of irony, just after I emailed Philip, London agent called to tell me that she’d turned down the job with the book packagers. She also wanted to say thanks for talking to her about it, she was in two minds, and I really helped her see things clearly. SHIIITTT! What the fuck have I done? I talked a woman into turning down a stable creative job for one that would probably crash and burn within the month. God I feel like such a shit.

I left work early to go to hospital to see PoshPhD for visiting hours. I walked in and asked how she was doing, and she just said, ‘Why are you here?’

‘Why are you mad at me? I’ve done nothing wrong.’

‘I am not dignifying that question with an answer,’ she said.

I left immediately. I was so angry. What is wrong with her? She is such a massive fucking cow. On the bus, I decided to not go back to the office, and just head home. I was ready for a nice home cooked meal from Fife and perhaps a cuddle.

I got home from work to find BigOne in the lounge rummaging through his dad’s gym bag. No one else was in the house.

‘Where’s your dad?’

‘He just left me here’

‘Like hell he did. Where is he?’

‘I don’t know. He just left.’

I got out my phone and rang Fife, but I heard his phone going in the bedroom. He must have accidently left his mobile behind. Fife must have just popped to the shop. He’d probably be back any moment, I thought.

‘Don’t worry. You don’t have to watch me,’ BigOne said. ‘I’m outta here.’ And he walked to the door.

‘Where do you think you’re going?’ I asked.

‘Why do you care?’

‘Because I’m not going to let a child wander off into the city. That’s why.’

‘Mum’s never cared. And now Dad doesn’t care. So don’t pretend to care either.’

I stood in front of the door. As much as I had no desire to spend any more time with this kid, I couldn’t very well let him wander off. ‘You’re not going anywhere until your dad gets home. Then you can sort it out with him.’

‘Get out of my way,’ he said and he straighten-up his back so that he was nearly as tall as me (if not slightly taller), and in that moment he looked just like his father when he gets angry. Pursed lips, narrowed eyes, and his stance: one that adds two inches in height and about a stone in weight. Despite being a kid (albeit a tall kid) BigOne was suddenly very frightening. But I stood my ground.

Yet, unlike Fife who storms and screams and throws things, BigOne stayed very calm and got very close to my face, ‘I am going to leave. I am going somewhere that is not full of despos and slags. Now get out of my way.’

What I found so scary, besides his incredible calmness, was his language. It was so beyond his years, and all I could think was, where (or who) has he learned this from? He hasn’t learned it from Fife. Fife gets raging made, but he does speak like this. With resolve to strike fear. But I stood my ground, and I refused to move.

‘Fine then,’ he said. ‘I’ll call social services. Tell them you touched me. You’ll get put in jail and they’ll never let Dad see me again.’

Should I call his bluff? Could I risk to call his bluff? I was going to have to play him at his game, ‘They won’t believe you. Not with your record at school.’ Now, I didn’t know if he had a record for acting up at school, but with his snotty little attitude it was more than likely.

He stepped back a bit, and just as he did my phone rang. God, I hoped it wasFife. I ran to answer the phone and when I did BigOne opened the door and flew out. That’s when I realised that Fife had left his mobile at the house, so it couldn’t have been him calling. I ran down the stairs after BigOne, keeping one landing between us until the bottom. As he jotted out of the close and onto the street, I reached for the collar of his shirt and not only missed but when tumbling over my feet, smashing into the pavement. Luckily (I guess) my instinct when I fell was to put my arms across my face, which totally saved my face, but bust up my arms. I’ve skinned my elbows like a child.

What’s even more infuriating is that he snickered a bit as he ran away. I stood up and turned around to go back to the flat. I figured that Fife’s phone would have Helen’s contact details and perhaps she could do something. Or maybe I should even call the police. But as I entered the close and looked out the back and into the garden, there were Fife and LittleOne. They’d been in the back playing with the football the whole time.

I couldn’t believe it. The lying little conniving shit. I marched through, blood dripping from my still stinging and dirt encrusted elbows, to give Fife merry hell.

‘Your child,’ I screamed. ‘Your bloody child has done a runner. And you’ve been in the garden the entire time.’

‘What do you mean he’s done a runner?’

‘He’s run off.’

‘Run off?’ Fife asked. ‘Where’d he go?’

‘Fuck if I know?’ I yelled and I showed him my elbows, which he took no notice of and told me to watch my language in front of LittleOne before he ran out to the street.

Fife came back into the close, his face contorted with anger like his son’s. But instead of remaining scarily calm, he lost his shit, which I can actually deal with, because I’m not too bad at fighting back.

‘Why did you let him leave?’ Fife yelled as he ran up the stairs.

‘Why’d you leave him in the house alone?’ I asked as I ran after him (blood still dripping from my arms mind you.)

‘I didn’t. He just came up to use the loo,’ he said as he went into the flat.

‘Didn’t you notice he was gone for a long time?’ I asked following him in, with LittleOne trailing behind us.

‘Don’t you put this on me?’ Fife said spinning around.

‘And don’t you blame me,’ I yelled back. ‘I came home to find a kid alone in the house. I tried to call you, but you left your phone in the bedroom. Your son told me that you’d just left him here…’

‘And you believed him?’ Fife said.

‘Why not? You left them here the other day.’

‘To go to the shops for a second. My god. What kind of father do you think I am?’

‘One that’s got a son that’s out of control, and threatened to call social services on me if I physically tried to keep him in the house. Your son wanted to leave, and there was nothing I could do about it,’ I said absolutely exasperated. ‘That boy’s taller than I am,’ I added.

‘Don’t be so dramatic. He’s the child, you’re the adult. I cannot believe you let him just wander off into Dundee.’

Fife was on the phone ringing BigOne, who had obviously taken his phone with him because it wasn’t ringing anywhere in the flat, but he wasn’t answering. He told me to wait here, ‘In case he comes back,’ but he was taking LittleOne with him. I said that I was perfectly capable of watching LittleOne, but Fife then said, ‘Obviously you’re not.’ And he stormed out the door with LittleOne trailing behind.

I went into the bathroom and cleaned up my elbows, which burned like hell. As I had no plasters in the house, I went down to the Co-Op to get some gauze, but while I was in the queue, my phone rang. It was Fife wanting to know if BigOne had come back to the flat. Shit, I’d left the flat. What if he had come back, and couldn’t get inside. I told Fife a little white lie, and ran back as quickly as I could. No sign of BigOne, but then I became worried that he returned, but with the door locked and no one answering, he left again.

As angry as I was with Fife for blaming me, I was also really worried about BigOne. I didn’t know what to do. I felt like I should be doing something. Anything. Fife rang again, he was driving around frantically looking for him, calling his name. (I had this picture of him calling out like BigOne was a lost dog.) He asked exactly what BigOne had said. I told Fife, that he didn’t say where he was going, he just said he was going somewhere he would be appreciated.

‘What does that mean?’ Fife yelled into the phone.

‘I don’t know. He’s your son,’ I said back.

‘I’m going to have to call [Helen]. Damn it, I didn’t want to do that,’ and he hung up the phone.

About five minutes later, Fife rang again. They’d found BigOne. Sort of. He was on a bus back to Fife. He’d decided to go to see his friend Darren back in the village. BigOne had run Darren from his phone, but Darren’s mother intercepted and rang Fife. BigOne would have to change in St Andrews, and Fife is going to intercept him there.

I’m waiting for Fife to ring again and let me know when they’ve got him. It’s been over an hour, and now I’m getting worried. What if BigOne wasn’t on the bus after all. What if he was, but pulled another runner? It’s not cool of Fife to blame me for this. But, this whole thing is just nerve wracking. God, I’m a wreck and he’s not even my kid. Imagine, if this boy belonged to me. I’d be a wreck.

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