Two weeks he’s been with me and I wonder if his mother even cares. She knows where he is, I’ve seen her once before today. I can’t say it was the most pleasant of experiences; the dank alcohol smelling house with her rotting in the stench of her own urine and sweat.
Colin and I brave her house one more time. He needs clothes and I am not financially equipped to provide them for him. She’s laid on the sofa smoking a badly rolled cigarette and cursing each time as it goes out when she tries to take a drag from it. I hand her one of mine, not out of kindness, but out of the sheer need for her to stop talking with her voice grating against my nerves until she reaches the last one.
“What are you doing here?” She asks.
“Getting Colin some clothes,” I tell her.
She starts swearing some more; the obligatory list of insults for her son that are so reminiscent of the ones my own mother used for me. I shut off. The peeling green wallpaper in the corner holds my interest better than anything she has to say. Her cruel words mean nothing to me and I don’t wish to listen to them. I wonder if she and my mother were to have met, what a great conversation they would have had. Of course they can’t, my mother is dead. Colin is not that lucky.
I cast my thoughts away from both of them, not wishing to pull down the high I feel riding my spine from the amphetamines I took just a couple of hours before. Neither she nor the memory of my mother will bring me down.
Her slurred words are almost incomprehensible aside from the odd vicious word in her ever so polite way to tell Colin and I to get out of her f*****g house and not come back.
I don’t waste any time when I hear Colin bounding down the stairs with some clothes thrown in bags in a haphazard way. I take them from him and tell him we should go. He glances at his mother and I at him. It’s somewhat similar to watching history before my eyes. I feel the tug in my chest as I see him trying not to show me the tears in his eyes. I see the familiar sadness on his face and I know there is nothing I can do to fix it for him.
We walk down the road. “Want to get some food and play pinball?” I ask him.
He grins and nods his head before running off towards one of the local small stores. Of course, I have no money; the last of it is in my pocket wrapped up in tin foil disguised as my next hit.
Colin knows where we shop in this manner. We don’t use the same store all the time. We wouldn’t want to arouse suspicions. We work them all in turn.
Some part of me wants to feel bad for what I am doing, but my drug induced brain congratulates me for my accomplishments. No one can catch me. I can feel that inside. I can do anything.
I’m only feeding Colin, so we don’t need much. I haven’t eaten in two days, but that doesn’t matter. I’ll eat tomorrow when the drugs wear off and my body realises it’s been running awake with no fuel for three days.
We don’t take anything that can really be described as food. I shove a bottle of cola in my jacket and Colin lifts a selection of crisps and sweets before we make our exit and run. We run so fast towards my flat that I feel like I could run forever. If I was by myself, perhaps I would. To where, I have no idea. Anywhere. Away from life itself, if it was possible.
My whole body feels great and warm inside. There is nothing I can’t do. Nothing hurts and my normal bogged down mind feels weightless and free from the usual chaos. I feel like I could fly. It’s almost euphoric.
We get home and Colin plants himself on the lounge floor with his acquired picnic and I hand him the bottle of cola from inside my jacket. He sets up the Nintendo and someone knocks on the door.
I assume it’s either Joanne, my girlfriend, having forgotten her keys again, or my son being dropped off back home. He’s been with his mother for the weekend. His arrival signals the end to my recreational activities.
It isn’t my son though; it’s Mark, Colin’s older brother. He looks over his shoulder and walks into my flat without waiting for an invite.
“You did it again?” I ask him and he nods.
I wonder what the point is in the open detention centre for minors. The Farms, as it’s known, with open doors and no gates. Only the kid’s moral responsibility to their sentence is supposed to be enough to make them stay and come back. What farce of an agency thought that one up?
Colin hears Mark from the lounge and bounds along my hall to the kitchen. He launches himself at his brother and in a moment, looks childlike. The veneer of an adult has slipped from his face as he grins with a flash of his seven year-old smile, complete with missing teeth. Mark lifts his brother up in such an effortless manner. I look away and try not to intrude on their moment.
Another loud rap at the door startles the three of us and I look at Mark. Our words are unspoken as he sees my displeasure at the police at my door.
“The busies,” Mark whispers and I nod.
Mark puts Colin down runs through my house; I hear the door that leads to the attic open. He’s hidden himself before I even have chance to work out in my mind what I’m going to do. They knock on the door again.
I open it and two policemen stand there.
“We’re looking for Mark Richardson,” one says. “Have you seen him?”
I shake my head. “No, I haven’t,” I lie.
“Do you mind if we come in and take a look?”
My head screams no at me. The thought of Mark hiding upstairs feels like a beacon that will call them and then I’ve had it. Another mark against my name and surely this time would see me inside a cell somewhere myself.
My logical mind argues with me. If I don’t let them in, they will know he is here, and they’ll either watch the flat or get a warrant. Either way, I’m trapped.
I step back and let them in. Colin stares at me. I know what he thinks. I’m giving his brother up.
I have no other choice but to let them in and hope they are blind.
To be continued…..