The Runaway

I came home to a little surprise on my doorstep. BigOne had run away again, this time he was running to me instead away from me. Well, sort of. He had a knapsack at his feet and he was playing on his phone. How many times had that phone probably rung, while he ignored it and played a game? I’m sure his parents were worried sick. I hope his parents were worried sick.

I asked him what he was doing on my doorstep, and the little bastard answered, ‘Just in the neighbourhood.’

I told him to get in the house.

Once inside it didn’t take a second for him to notice that all the furniture and his father’s stuff was gone. ‘Where’s Dad?’ he asked.

Shit, this wasn’t going to be easy.

I put on the kettle and we sat down in the lounge. ‘You’re Dad and I split up,’ I said. ‘Did you come here looking for him?’

He shrugged and said, ‘I guess.’ Then he sat on the floor. Evidently he wasn’t leaving even if his Dad wasn’t living here.

It was time to call his parents, but I had no desire to call Fife. I’d have to call Helen. First I asked BigOne why he’d run off, but he ignored me and kept playing on his phone.

‘Can you please put that down and talk to me? Why did you run away?’ I asked.

He just shrugged.

‘Well I need to call your Mum,’ I said.

He finally put down his phone. ‘She’s not home. You can’t call her. Where’s Dad?’

‘Guess he’s at the cottage,’ I said.

BigOne just said, ‘Oh’, and got back on his phone. That’s when it dawned on me, Fife was supposed to have the kids for the summer holidays. If BigOne didn’t know where his father was, it meant that Fife had flaked on watching the kids.

I couldn’t believe it. He made such a stink about not having the kids for the Easter break, and now he just ignores him. Then again, the mood he’s been in lately, maybe it’s best he’s not around the boys.

‘Who’s been watching you then?’ I asked.

He said he’s been with his Nan, so I asked for her number, but he ignored me and kept playing on his phone. I went into the kitchen and made us each a cuppa, his with extra milk and sugar.

When I came back into the room he asked, ‘Are you going to have a baby?’

I nearly dropped the mugs. How did he know? Why was he asking? How…oh, the pregnancy test. It was lying on the floor not too far from him. If there ever was a kid that I shouldn’t try and bullshit, it was this one. So, I decided the best thing to do was to be honest.

‘I don’t know yet,’ I said.

‘Is it Dad’s?’ he asked.

‘Yes.’

We sat in silence for a minute, before he asked what happened with his father and I. While I had decided to be honest, I’m not a cruel person, and I wasn’t about to tell BigOne that his father is a lying fuckwit, so I did what all adults do when they talk to children, I avoided the question.

‘I really need to call your grandmother. She’ll be worried sick.’

‘Did you kick him out?’ BigOne asked.

I couldn’t avoid it; we’d have to talk about his father and I. So, I told him. I told him that his father lied to me, and it was a lie I couldn’t forgive. I said ‘Remember that your actions have repercussions in life.’

He thought for a minute and asked, ‘What does repercussions mean?’

I told him it meant the same as ‘consequences’ and he seemed to understand that. We sat for a moment, and he asked, ‘If you have a baby, it’ll be my little brother or sister. Will I get to see it?’

I hadn’t thought of that. I really hadn’t. It wouldn’t be fair on BigOne to not get to know his sibling, but at the same time, I didn’t want to have anything to do with Fife ever again. If I was…well…you know, I might not even keep it. And if I did…shit…I have no idea what I’d do.

My stomach began to cramp as I thought about it, and I really felt like I was going to vomit. The whole discussion was making me nervous and uneasy. I side-stepped BigOne’s questions by saying, ‘I don’t even know if I am. So, this whole conversation is all a bit silly. Now, I really need to ring your Nan. What’s her number?’

But he refused to tell me. He said that no one would even notice that he was gone, and that he’d rather stay here. He promised to not be trouble, and he’d take care of himself while I was out at work.

I tried to explain that if I let him do that it would be kidnapping, and I had to call his parents. It looked like I would have to call Fife. Fuck! I did not want to call Fife. So, before making that call, I tried Fife’s house (or actually, Fife’s old house, still Helen’s house) in hope that BigOne’s grandmother would be there. Much to my surprise, Helen answered the phone. Wow, BigOne lies like a trouper, just like dear old Dad.

I told Helen that BigOne had some how gotten to my flat (I assume the bus). He’d told her he was spending the night at a friend’s house, and got the friend to even lie for him. She said she’d be over straightaway to pick him up.

While we waited for his mother, BigOne and I chatted. Mostly about his summer and about school. They’re sending him to private school for secondary next year, and he’s quite nervous. He said that he actually doesn’t mind being in the cottage for the summer as it was better than his Nan’s house, ‘If Dad can be bothered to bring us,’ he added in a sarkey manner.

‘So, you don’t like that you mum is away a lot?’ I asked.

‘No. It’s alright. Someone’s got to go to work,’ he said. ‘I just don’t like it when both Mum AND Dad are gone. I like things the way they were before. Mum at work and Dad in the house.’

All this time I’d given Fife shit for continuing to live with Helen, even after they had separated. But perhaps he was right all along, and it was actually the best for the kids.

It took an hour for Helen to get to the house, and she was none too pleased when she got there. She had a massive go at BigOne for running away, and I’m sure it didn’t help that he ran away to my house. BigOne asked if he could call me or ‘something’, and I said, ‘If it’s okay with your mum.’ She gave me a glare that could kill a bear. But, honestly, I mean it. I’ll miss that kid. That evil, ruthless, daemon of a child is actually okay.

About an hour after BigOne left my house, I got a text from him: mums ragen. so funny. thnx 4 lettn me hng.

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