A stab in the dark

A child's encounter of the new step-dad...

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2. The Beginning

It was five years ago.

Running down the stairs, hearing the tortured voices of my parents as they shouted at each other. The anger and bitterness in their voice was palpable. Even i, a four year girl, could tell they were fighting.

'Well what do you suppose we do then? Seeing as you're so informed on what's best for Amy.' i heard my mother spit.

'Oh, and you're so perfect? I saw you, all over him-'

'We were just talking!'

'Oh, right, yeah. So i just imagined the kiss, right?'

'He was saying goodbye! He has a wife!'

'So do I-'

'Yeah and look how you treat me. It's almost as if...'

I didn't have the patience to hear the rest. Normally they just screamed at each, mum would run out crying, dad would mumble something and drive off. But that didn't happen. Not today.

I sat down on the sofa, squishing in my seat to get comfortable, and turned on the TV. I could still hear them in the kitchen, so i turned it up louder. Then the door opened. Out stormed dad, his face contorted into an expression i had never seen. His face was red, and i couldn't tell but he seemed to be crying. Mum followed, grabbing his arm and sobbing uncontrollably. As you would expect, i was confused. Mum had gone from pure repulsion to trepidation at dad going. Dad strode in, flicking mum's arm off, and held my hand.

'Listen, Amy,' he spoke, his voice bearing a shaky, yet soothing tone, 'I'm going to go away for a while.'

He sniffed and looked at me, pushing back my hair from my face. Mum was in the corner, her eyes puffy and red.

'I'm not happy here, Amy. I've tried but i just can't. I'm gonna go somewhere where i can be.'

'Will you still take me to the park?' i asked, noting how feeble my voice sounded. Soft, mellow, a harsh contrast to the coarse brittleness of my parents' voices as they played insult tennis.

'Of course i will, Amy,' he said, smiling with that crooked smile i loved. Then he whisked me up, into his arms, and swung me around.

And then he was gone. He just walked out, not even bothering to say anything to Mum. She began to sob again, sitting down on the sofa and wiping her eyes with a tissue until they were raw. I didn't know what to say, so i just carried on watching tv. But i knew. I knew mum was sad. Sadder than... well, any time i'd ever seen her sad.

But little did i know, her despondence would soon reach an all time high.

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