Alley Kid Part 7

It’s just after dawn, Saturday has begun, and the world is getting busy again. I like this time of day. Just before everything starts, when it’s quiet and peaceful. The air is still fresh and clean and save for a few birds, there are almost no sounds at all. It’s like getting to the new day before everyone else.

Colin is sleeping. I checked on him before going outside to smoke. He gave up just after midnight, but he was determined to stay up as long as us. Of course his wasn’t drug induced wakefulness and although he fought, his eyes had given up on him and he had fallen asleep on the floor. He hadn’t even woken when I picked him up and put him in Will’s bed.

The night has gone fast, or at least it seems so. I still feel the sting a little of Maz’s harsh words. She wasn’t happy with my new high, but I had got Colin food and even some for Mikey. Their bellies were filled with pizza and coke. They had eaten until they couldn’t take another piece in and after, laid down together to play Nintendo, while enjoying the childish freedom and amusement of belching at each other. They were happy.

Colin hadn’t heard Maz’s dissatisfaction with me, just more evidence of my failure. Of course I had lied about how I got the pizza; even Froggy had given me a suspicious glance when I had said that I had bought it. I did in a way, maybe not with cash. Joanne had asked if my dad had given me some money and I gave a noncommittal nod of my head and then went to do something else to avoid the question of how much.

Maz knew something wasn’t right. She always knew, she had been mad at me, but I don’t think she really knew why. I had no doubt some of her shouting had been fuelled by the pain of taking Mikey back to his foster parents and knowing that at night, when he went to bed, when he got bathed and hugged and a bed time story, that another women would be in her place. Even giving him that night time kiss and watching as he went to sleep. I had let her shout at me. I let her say all the things she wanted to get out in her frustration and then I had put my arms around her and she had cried. I didn’t ask why and she didn’t say, but I knew.

My own pangs of guilt at my actions didn’t last long. They didn’t need to. Everything was good. Everything was great. Now. Now that I had had my fixed. Everything was perfect.

Joanne didn’t bother to ask how much. With the phet and the pizza, she no doubt came to an assumption in her head. She doesn’t really care about the girl that works in the take away. Karla she is called. She likes me, Joanne knows that much, but I don’t think she realises how much, not that it matters. Isn’t the saying, what they don’t know won’t hurt them? Even if Joanne does know, she doesn’t care anyway. She doesn’t seem to care so much, as long as she gets her fixes too and I ask no questions of her, all is good. She is no different to everyone else. She doesn’t care for me.

Maz is different. I’m not really sure where she places herself in my life. A motherly sister perhaps, but even that doesn’t fit right. I’ve slept with her once, nothing serious. Fun one night between Joanne, Maz, Froggy and I.

I guess that’s what I’m made for. It seems so at least. Everything always comes back to sex and what people will do if I give it to them. People see something that says it is okay and so they take it. It was there as a child and it’s here now. Maybe I will never figure out what it is and how to turn it off.  Maybe it’s all I have to offer.

Even the backwards events of my childhood seem to confirm it. I wasn’t able to tie my own shoe laces; I couldn’t reach things in the top cupboard. I had a bed time and I wasn’t allowed to cross the main roads by myself, yet I knew how to have sex. I knew how to give people what they wanted.

It’s my purpose.

I look at Colin sometimes. He’s seven, the same age I was my first time with a girl. I can’t imagine him reaching beyond his years into such adult activities.  He might not have much, but he has his innocence. I never did, maybe that’s what people see.

Karla, sex for food. It’s nothing to me. Karla is just another taker hidden behind a sweet smile. A smile that gets her exactly what she wants from whoever she wants it.  I wanted food.

I put my cigarette out and I try not sigh. I know that sigh, I’ll let it go and my next intake of breath will pull in the darkness of my day. I can feel the weight of everything beginning to build up again. Like the ruckus as the day begins, cars moving, more and more people outside. My mind feels as congested as the world. I want to sleep before it becomes more than I can bear.

I’m thankful for the light at least. The fears of my mind aren’t so bad in the day. The flashbacks of a monster long since gone in reality, but ever present in my mind are dulled by the daylight. His grinning face doesn’t plague me as much. His smile, his eyes, the intent in them. With daylight I can fight the bad man.

 

***

I don’t sleep so long. Less than four hours. Between Colin and his ever quiet elephant feet as he tries to walk quietly back and forth through the flat so not to wake me and Phil.

Phil calls to make sure that everything is still on for the day. I hear his voice on the phone and the anxiety spikes in my stomach at perhaps he is cancelling. As he asks me if I am still good for the job, I relax a little, but I still feel the echo of the apprehension inside. I mumble a half asleep yes as I get out of bed and Phil talks, but I’m not really listening as I venture to the bathroom and set the bath off running before I go to the kitchen to find my cigarettes. The content has depleted a little; my foolish over tired mind forgot and left them on the kitchen counter and Colin has been in them. I don’t like him smoking. I guess I see the child he still is and he sees the grown up he wants to be.

I shout Colin’s name, he has my lighter. Everyone else is asleep, but I glance at the clock, it’s nearly 11am.  Phil tells me that he’ll be there in an hour, and then we’ll go and get the television.

“I’ll be ready,” I say to him and then I hang up without saying goodbye. Colin comes in and puts my lighter in my hand without me asking for it.

“Bath time,” I say to him.

“I had one,” he replies. I know he hasn’t. I curse his mother in my mind for making him my problem.

“Bath, now,” I say. “I don’t care if you had one, another won’t kill you. Go, and leave the water in for me.”

He goes to bathroom muttering to himself and I make coffee. Maz, Joanne and Froggy all wake and get up like a conveyer or people, by the time Colin is done and it’s my turn, the flat is filled with noise.

I take my mug and go to the bathroom myself. I only just get undressed and sit in the water, and Maz comes into the bathroom. She isn’t bothered. She does this often and we chat. She pulls out my envelope of needles and takes on for herself. I don’t stare as she pulls the toilet lid down and sits on it to make her hit up. I feel the jab of envy burn inside as she shoots up.

“Are you really going to do this with Phil?” She asks me.

“Yes.”

“I don’t trust him.”

“You don’t like him,” I say and Maz clears everything away and rinses her spoon under the tap. I watch as the last evidence of her drugs go with it, like watching food being washed away and starving enough to taste it.

Maz sits on the edge of the bath and takes the shampoo bottle from my hand. I don’t say anything as she washes my hair. In a way I like it. It feels calming as her nails scrape along my scalp. “There’s other ways of making money.”

“Not fast like this. I’ll have £500 in my pocket tonight. Where else can I make that?”

“Lorraine,” she says. “She just has two guys on her books, they make a fortune.”

Lorraine. Maz’s ‘friend’ as she calls her, a woman that runs an escort agency. Maz works for her, or she did until she got pregnant. Not much call for an overly pregnant woman to spend some quality paid for time with.

I tell her I’ll think about it then I finish off my bath and get out and dress ready for Phil.

“It’ll be fine,” I tell Maz as she stares at me. “It’s just some easy money.”

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Alley Kid Six

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I can see Froggy in the distance, stood waiting for me where we agreed. He leans against the wall, cigarette in his mouth, as he watches the world like he has no cares. I wish I was like that. I wish I could just stand and watch and not feel anything.

The dull heaviness I feel inside is a constant battle. Life seems like one long sigh and getting to tomorrow feels impossible. I wish there was a way to induce the simplicity that some people seem to have. That zest for life, like they can’t wait for a new day, yet I wonder why they don’t see the truth like I do. Why are they happy? I don’t really understand it let alone know how to feel it.

Maybe they are fortunate enough to experience the highs without medicated help, or perhaps, they take the health service’s offer of wonderful happy pills. Perhaps that’s it; prescribed happiness.

I drop the piece of metal from my father’s garage over a wall, and into someone’s front garden. The evidence of my shame is discarded and hidden behind the picket fence of someone else’s happy life. I push everything aside the same way I pull the sleeve of my coat down over my physical self-inflicted wound. I pull the inside sleeve down as well and cover everything with a smile.

I hold up my twenty pound note and nod at Froggy to show him my victory. He smiles back as I pocket it again and offers me a cigarette.

We walk back to my place and Froggy tells me about the phet he just scored. It’s like music to my insides that I can’t quite hear, but the desperation of it has me straining my ears until, not only can I hear the words, but I can feel them, too.

“Do you want some?” He asks me.
Every part of me screams yes. Yes, I want some but, I can’t even bring myself to turn him down. I can’t make the words come out. I force my head to shake from side to side and that’s about all I can manage. Pathetic, but it’s one of the hardest things I ever had to communicate to anyone.

“I can’t afford it,” I say.

“You’ve got that twenty,” he says, and nods in the direction of my pocket.

I’m grasping for breath on the edge of what’s right and what I want to do. Colin isn’t my child. Why should I care? Why is it my problem to feed him? I want to reach into my own mind and break up the war that reigns within. I can’t make either side shut up. I want what Froggy offers. I want it so bad; perhaps even more than I want to be able to live in happiness. Its right here being offered right in front of me and all I have to do is say yes. Just three letters and its mine, but I can’t. I can’t do it. My guilt worms its way through me. Torturing me.

“What’ll I tell Joanne and Maz?” I ask him.

I’m not really asking, I’m just saying my thoughts out loud. I can see their faces. Maz’s in particular with the look of disappointment on her face when I tell her.

“F**k ‘em,” he says. “They don’t have to know. Tell you what. Split that twenty with me and I’ll sub you the phet. Some for Joanne too, then she won’t moan about it.”

It’s possible. My mind gets excited at the thought of it.

Yes, yes. I can. I tell Froggy okay. I’m getting the television tomorrow. Easy money. I can pay him back then.

I smoke a cigarette and drink a coffee while I wait for Froggy to cut the phet. He does it with heroin, not glucose, but I don’t care. He can cut it with mud and I’d still want it. My mind can’t say no now, not now that it has a way. That would be worse than anything.

It takes everything I have not to snap Froggy’s hand off as he offers me the wraps for Joanne and I. I give him the twenty to change.

“I’m just going over the road to buy cigs, you want some?”

I nod and he leaves.

I light another cigarette and grab the envelope of needles from my bathroom. I sit with my back against the door in my bedroom and roll my sleeve up. I stop and look at the wound on my arm. I guess it’s my own fault. Its scabbed over, but the blood that was there is dry and smeared along my arm. I look at it and remember the disgust at myself, hours before. I pick at it, reciting each word my father said, in my mind; one at a time, spitting them with my thoughts as I pick and make it bleed once again.
Failure. That’s what it amounts to. That’s what I am and always will be. I prove it each time.

I grind my teeth. My breathing is harsh as I look at the phet and my needles.
I am nothing. I know this. I am useless and worthless. I can’t even put a child’s needs before my own. No better than my own father, I am sure.

I get the cigarette from my mouth and the urge to run the hot end along my skin is almost too great. I could take the phet and do it wrong. If there’s air in a syringe, won’t it cause a heart attack? I’m sure I’ve heard that somewhere. I wonder if it’s fast; If it hurts. Do I even deserve such merciless things as time and pain free?

I’d be gone in an hour. That’s it. Sixty minutes and it would all be over. No one would know.

But I can’t. I think about Will alone without me. What would he do? Would he end up like Colin? Or like me even. I can’t do anything. I can’t leave.

I cry at the unfairness of it. I want to hold it in but tears of frustration roll down my face and I clutch my head to try and make them go away.

I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to exist. I wish someone would just kill me and get it over with. I curl up in the corner. The pain in my head bangs with my heartbeat. I wish it would all just go away.

I close my eyes, pick up the needle, and plunge it into my arm. I don’t care. I don’t pull it out when the contents are gone. What’s the point? I open my eyes and stare at it. This is me. All I have to offer. Colin needs better than me. Will needs better. I spent their food money on my hit, again.

As each thought of pitiful self-hatred begins to fall away, the euphoric release of adrenaline rises up my spine and I can breathe again.

I stand. The person I was, moments before, is gone; nothing but a laughable memory as I clean everything away before leaving the house to acquire food for Colin.

Once again, I am happy.

Days

Days.

I hate the days when I feel pointless. like today, I feel it, like some pit of sadness that I can’t get away from, feels like drowning if anything, I’m not even sure why it started. maybe I woke this way, I’ve been so busy burying myself in everything else that I haven’t noticed.

I was probably around 9 or 10 when I really remember feeling this way on a perks ant basis, like I knew that this was my life and there was nothing I could do about it, or course if hope, I always had that. I’d try my best to be so damn good all the time and it never got noticed.

I used to beg God to take me away; to not let me wake up in the morning because I could t stand another moment. if I believed in God, perhaps I’d ask that of him now. everything feels so pointless.

I wonder what I’m fighting for. I’m here, I survived my childhood, but what for? what difference did I make?

When I was a child I would feel this way, usually after my father had… I’d say sexually abused me, but as I don’t see it as abuse I’m not really sure what to call it, but after my father had done his things and I’d go back to my bedroomI’d climb in bed and feel so dirty and disgusted with myself because I once again have in.

I used to write pages and pages of things, usually they started with why can’t my dad love me? why do I have to do these things? why am I so bad? I used to cry and pour my heart out into notebooks until I fell asleep. I’d curl myself I to the corner of my bed but I wouldn’t lie down, I was too afraid of that. what if the bad man came back?

But my sadness was because I was alone. completely. I feel that way today.

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Alley Kid Five

I walk away. I don’t have an argument. She’s right. There isn’t anything I can say. I’m a mess, they’re a mess. Everything is a mess and I’m sliding down a slope with no clue how to stop or how to get off before I crash at the bottom.

Joanne answers the door. It is Froggy and I’m relieved.

“What are you going to do?” Maz asks. “Colin needs feeding, if anything.”

I shrug. I don’t have any answers.

“It’s just until tomorrow night,” I say. When Phil and I get the television. I don’t tell Maz that part, but I can anticipate her reaction and lecture.

“You can’t all last until tomorrow with nothing to eat.”

“You can ask your dad,” Joanne says. “He’ll lend you twenty quid if you ask him.”

I know he will. If I ask, he’ll do it. It’s about the only thing he does do for me. Course, I’ll pay for it one way or another and not just in handing him the cash back over. I dread the thought of it. The look in his eyes as I confirm I am nothing, like he has told me all my life.

“He’ll probably say no,” I say in a vain hope that they will believe there isn’t a point.

“He won’t,” says Maz. “Tell him it’s for the electric or some crap like that.”

I have a million answers why I don’t want to ask. Each one of them formed over years, yet I know none of my friends will understand. Each ‘yes, but’ will be rebuked with one of their own. I keep my thoughts to myself as I nod and agree to ask him.

Maz takes Colin with her and Mikey, Joanne goes too. Froggy and I walk along the promenade and I don’t really think about going to my father as we talk about nothing and everything. Froggy wanders off in his own direction a few blocks before I reach my father’s work place. It doesn’t take long to get there, but I feel the heaviness inside as I get to the entrance of the alley way where he works.

I hear his music as I get to the door. I walk through the first small garage to the part my father works in. The scent car filler, like antiseptic hits my nose. My father is working. Blue and white sparks fly and crackle around him like electricity, as he welds.

I wait. I know better than to interrupt him or talk until he has finished and I have permission.

He turns and nods at me, but doesn’t say anything. My illogical fear begins to eat away inside as I stand there.

“How much?” He asks.

“How do you know I want to borrow money?”

“That’s all you ever want,” he says to me. “Same as when you were a child.”

“I never asked for money.”

“No, but you always wanted something.”

I sigh. “It doesn’t matter,” I tell him and turn to leave, but he tells me to stop. He reaches into the top pocket of his overalls and pulls out a wad of notes. “Twenty enough?”

I nod.

“I’ll add that to the bill.”

“Bill?”

“Raising a child doesn’t come cheap you know. Ten grand I shelled out to raise you. Someone’s got to pay me back. “

I don’t have words. Of course, I shouldn’t be surprised. He has never thought I was worth something in his life; just an object to use and throw away time and again. I wonder if he classed his abuse as a complimentary service.

I take the note from his hand and thank him.

“No one you could f**k to get this?” he asks. “Probably could have made more than twenty. Isn’t that how you always do everything? Course, when you were younger you were a nice little boy,” he says, and winks at me.

I feel my face flush with shame; it burns hot under my skin and through my cheeks. It clouds my vision to the point that the real world feels hazy. I don’t even know what to say. I want to hide. I want it to go away. I’m sorry for those things I did. I know they were my fault. I would take them back if I could.

I don’t say anything to my father. I just nod and leave. He doesn’t say anything to me either. On my way out, I grab a piece of discarded metal off his sheet cutter and take it with me. I don’t plan to do it. I can’t help it; what I feel inside has nowhere to go. No tears. No shouting. No target.

I put the metal against my skin. I stomp my feet hard on the pavement as I walk. Both forces equalling each other. I dig in with the jagged edge. Dig in deep and make it all go away with the welcome burn as my flesh splits open.

 

Stupid Boy

A good friend of mine and fellow author Azure Boone read Teddy three, which at the moment I affectionately call Stupid Boy. Its a working title at the moment. She thought to write a review of it so far and said I could share it here. 

So, I beta read Dear Teddy part three by JD Stockholm.  The current working title is I think is “Teddy and Stupid Boy”

When he sent me the file, it was titled Stupid Boy. First thing I wanted to do was change it. Isn’t that how we are though? Wanting to just erase the wrong, and make it right? I did that throughout the manuscript in fact, changed words to erase the lies. I was like an out of control parent, storming through his past and rewriting shit like it might actually help.

He said he got a good laugh, so, I’m glad for that.

But you know, the most amazing thing happened while I read book three. I began to really understand this kid. I began to “get” why he didn’t want to look in the mirror, “get” why he felt “bad”.

Reading these accounts in the child’s pov has allowed me to actually watch how the abuse took hold of him, how he processed it and how his phobias were born.

Tremendously educational while at the same time, horrific.

Some things that really struck me in book three, I mean really slapped awe into me, was this kid’s compassion! The best way for me to explain it, is to show it. Warning…this scene is taken from the part in his life when he’s being sexually abused by strangers all day long at a “camp” his “parents” sent him to:

My hand is sore. I don’t be able to hold the cover very tight. The girl next to me has too much and I don’t be able to pull it back. The dark man made it all sore because he squished it all down. He didn’t mean to. He said he was sorry about it. I told him it was okay. I didn’t want him to be sad about it.

I swear. This broke my heart. I mean, here’s this sweet kid, suffering the most horrific shit, and he has the heart to care about the man who hurt him. Un-believable. Truly.  I couldn’t even comment on what form of torture would befit this mother-effer. I was too blown away.

What’s different about book three too is the whole Stupid Boy theme. At this time, this kid is sure he’s got to be the most stupid kid on the planet. He can’t do anything right, everything he does makes people hate him and hurt him. The author opens every chapter with a small Stupid Boy story that summarizes what the chapter holds. So very clever, and as usual, the voice, the vocabulary, is just remarkable. I mean, Stupid Boy is my hero! I love Stupid Boy, he’s like the most awesome kid on the planet to me. He was even nice to the monsters in his stories:

Stupid Boy and his friends all went out for the day. They went to the big hills that touched the sky. They climbed the hills. It took a long, long time. Maybe a week. There was lots and lots of snow. It was all white and shiny and cold.

Mr. Ted thought maybe there would be penguins. They got to hear a growl outside. It was a snow monster. It was all big and scary.  He got big giant claws that was all black. He got sharp teeth too and was going to eat everyone all up.

Mr. Ted and Stupid Boy got their swords and went outside to chop the monster up. Mr. Ted hit the monster with his sword and the monster cried.

Stupid Boy feeled sad in his tummy. The snow monster was cold. He wanted to sit in the tent by the fire.

They all got to be friends.

I vote Stupid Boy for president!

Another amazing thing I learned was why the child in the story thought he was bad. He didn’t like when his father did sexual things to him, and so, he was sure it was the bad inside him that made him not like the sexual things his father and mother made him do. His parents were so good at pretending it was normal and good, that the child figured he was the bad one for having a problem with it!

That just blew me away when I realized that was happening.

I think the end of this book was the hardest for me to read out of all the books so far. In fact, I even told him, “I don’t think you’re going to be able to put this, it’s too horrible, people aren’t going to be able to read it.”

And it was only a day’s account at that hellish camp they sentenced him to. I asked him how long he went there. He told me every weekend and during holidays, for nearly two years!

Why was this abuse worse? Because it hurt him more. He wanted to go home. He wanted his mom. His dad. This abuse at the hands of strangers was much worse on his psyche than any other. And it went on for nearly two years. The reader wouldn’t be able to endure that torture, because I believe they become very tied to him throughout the book and would feel like they were making him live it again.

And for others like me, if it’s there, I must read it. Or I will feel like he’s shared something and I have left him alone to bear it. So, I’m not sure how much of it will get left or removed, but, I do hope he does whatever he needs to.

Well, this concludes my review on the Dear Teddy part 3 book with the working title of Teddy And Stupid Boy.  I thank the author for allowing me the privilege of reading this account and not being angry at me for marking it all up with my temper tantrums. Be looking for the release, it’s coming soon! Help me spread the news, help the author educate the public about the hidden side of child abuse.

 

Read it on her site here.

Alley Kid Part Four

The days crawl by; each breath I take feels laboured. Each minute is unbearable. The thought of another twenty four hours like this one, has me chomping at the bit in desperation to make it go faster. I’m not sure how I’m going to last. I take a breath and let it out slow; something to calm me, but it does little except to give me something to do for a couple of seconds.

There isn’t any food in the house.  My stomach growls. Even that cannot wait until the next day. But that’s just a false promise. Food will not be the first thing I reach for.

Cigarettes are about all I have and those are on a limited supply; each one like a check point for another hour passing, signalling that it’s time to smoke my next one.

I’m thankful I don’t have Will. A slight lie to his mother and grandmother that he wanted to stay over and well, we just didn’t have time to make any breakfast, he wanted to get there so fast. At least he can have food and more warmth than I can offer him here; my failings, once more, as his father.  Course, he’s so easy to agree to those things. I know how his little mind works. It’s simple and limited. Special, I tell him.  Some days, I hate that he has special needs. I curse myself for my part in the fact that he isn’t like other children his age. Other times, his mind is so unique, I love him just the way he is.

I wonder what that says about me as a person. Wishing that my son was normal. Shouldn’t I be happy that he’s alive and that I have him? I wonder if all parents of children with special needs think this way. Maybe it’s one of those things that are unsaid.

Colin, on the other hand, doesn’t have a choice. There isn’t anyone I can fob him off to and get his belly filled. He hasn’t complained yet, but it doesn’t stop me feeling bad about it.

I have no money to turn on the gas meter, nothing to fill the fridge. My last meal was a bowl of frozen peas that I couldn’t afford to cook on the stove. I used boiled water from the kettle. All I had was pepper to flavour them. The boys had eaten of course. Some fish fingers and oven chips I had used up on them with the last of the bread we had. At least they had gone to bed with somewhat full stomach.

It feels like a never ending cycle.

I envy people who can feed their kids and take them out and give them treats. They have no idea how lucky they are.

Neither Colin nor I have eaten since last night. My stomach growls its aggravation at the situation. Colin is sat on the chair watching cartoons. I try not to feel guilty. I tell myself he isn’t my responsibility, but I can’t help it.

Joanne comes home. I’m not sure where she has been and I don’t ask. I don’t care so much. A friend of mine is with her. Maz and her son Mikey. More like a sister than a friend; Maria is her real name, but a long affair with Temazepam earned her the nickname.

She sits next to me and puts her arm around me. Joanne never bothers when we do this. I often wonder if she cares as little as I do. Sometimes it feels like Maz is the only one who understands. She doesn’t have to say a thing. It’s unspoken in a way. I lie here and feel calm.

I playfully poke her rounded belly and tell the baby to move up because it’s in the way and I need to lie down. Maz laughs and jabs me in the arm.

She knows I’m kidding.

Mikey sits with Colin and they get out my old games console. Mikey isn’t much older than Colin, perhaps just a few months. They sit and chat like they have known each other forever and Colin resembles the child he’s supposed to be. Mikey turns and smiles up at me.

“We’re going to the cinema later,” he tells me, and I can hear the unasked question in his voice.

Its Maz’s day to visit with Mikey. Four days a month she gets him. He’s in the system. His foster parents are great and she has that to be thankful for. They seem to care about Mikey and his mother reuniting eventually. Of course, she has to give up the heroin for that to happen. She’s trying, but it’s a cycle that’s hard to break. Tomorrow will be the usual. The sorrow in her eyes as she leaves him  with a family that’s better for him. People that can offer more than she ever can. Just as I know with Will, she knows with Mikey There are people far better equipped to take care of our children than us.

Maybe I’m selfish that I don’t let him go but, his mother can’t take him fulltime. She can’t cope with how he is. She wants him to be normal as much as I do, but for her, a cheap bottle of cider seems easier to deal with than a son with Aspergers.

Maz has already decided that she’s going to have the baby at home. As soon as it comes into the world the authorities will have it, then what does she have to live for?

“Do you want to come with us?” Maz asks me and Colin’s eyes light up for a fraction of a second with hope until reality sets in.

I don’t have to say anything. He gives a sigh and, like me, knows that we can’t.

I shake my head at Max. “I don’t have the money.”

“You’ve necked it all?” She asks me.

“I haven’t had any phet for days.”

. She sits up and forces me to sit up myself. She’s mad at me. I can feel her mood change like the snapping of a band.

“Have you eaten today?”

I don’t answer her and Joanne doesn’t say anything.

“God  damnit James,” she says and gets off the sofa. “You’ve got no food, no money. What about Will and Colin?”

“Will is at his mothers,” I tell her, but I can hear how pathetic I sound.

Someone bangs on the front door and I jump at it. So many visitors and each one  makes me anxious.

“It’ll be Froggy,” Maz says.

Her boyfriend. His real name’s Pete. Tall and lanky with long black hair. I’m not sure why we call him Froggy, but we do.

“It might be the police,” I say. “They’ve been here three times this week looking for Mark.”

“What are you doing James? You’re going to wind up losing these boys.”

 

Charlotte

Two years ago today my heart broke when I watched my daughter come into the world. I touched her for just a second, wishing she could open her eyes.

I wrote this sometime between then and now, I don’t really remember when it was, it’s been such a long road.

For Charlotte

I want to hold your hand.

Sometimes I want to hold your hand; I’ve lost a thousand tears for you
I close my eyes and make a wish, but I know it won’t come true
To hold you in my arms one time wouldn’t ease my pain
You were born sleeping, and that’s how you remain

I often lie awake and think of you
My little angel fast asleep
I wish my wishes would come true
And help to steal my pain

I will spend my life remembering you
I love you, I always will