Jacob's diary

How can I go on with my world when my boy is no longer here? I wake up everyday and the first thing I do is feel like I can't face the day ahead without my son. I had to keep him alive and the only way I could do that was to make sure he lived his life through my diary. What did he do when he grew up? who did he fall in love with? I was going to give him the life that was taken so he would still be with me.

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1. Life goes on, not for me


 


 


 


 

I can remember waking up on the day of Jacobs funeral and instantly feeling guilt because I had slept like a baby. I pulled myself out of my bed and glanced over at my husband who was sound asleep. I looked at the photo of Jacob on the bed side cabinet and there was Jacob,five years old, with his arms around his fathers neck. His great big happy smile and bright sunshine gold hair. I stood in the silence for what seemed like a lifetime, I walked into the en suite bathroom and switched on the light. I looked at my face in the huge mirror that covered the wall and it was reflecting back to me the broken woman that I had become.


 

All of my adult life people had always told me how vibrant I looked and how my skin was so unblemished. I would always tell people it was because I only ever wore make up when I was going out some place special. Now as I looked upon that Forty three year old skin it looked old. I could see the map of my life in those lines and my lips looked dry and cracked. My hair had been messed up by the night and I could tell I must have turned over many times during my sleep. I turned the tap on and let the sink fill with some water and I splashed it, icy cold, onto my face. It was then that I felt the weakness in my legs and it felt as those invisible hands had pulled them away from me. I slid down to the floor.


 

I hadn't cried since the day that Jacob died. It was as if life just carried on and the next day came and the next. I had busied myself with tea and sympathy and then the funeral had been arranged, more tea and sympathy with the paster of the local church. It seemed as if I had been punishing myself in some way because to cry meant that I had acknowledge that I would never be seeing those eyes again, I would never feel those arms around me and I would never again feel my heart warm when I saw my little boys smile. I let the tears flow and I don't know why but this was my private moment and I reached out my arm and pushed the bathroom door closed. I didn't want Darren to see me, didn't want him to comfort me in anyway. I wanted to be here on the bathroom floor crying then I could face the day ahead. I could put my son to rest but I couldn't say goodbye I wasn't ready to do that and I wasn't sure when I ever would be.


 

Jacob had been out playing in the lawn in front of the house. I can remember it was a bright sun filled day and all the other kids were outside with water guns, chasing each other and spraying water causing screams from the girls and great enjoyment from the boys. I looked out of the window every now and then, like every mother I thought my child would be safe outside with friends. It was when the phone rang and my mother was talking to me that I stopped looking out of the window for those moments to talk to her, always about the latest thing she had purchased and how it was going to change her life!


 

I heard the first shot and my mind just ticked it off as a car backfiring. Then the second shot came and a third and then the screams from the kids outside. All the mothers ran from their house to grab their children and as I stepped outside of the house I saw them across the street and to either side of me all hugging their children. I scanned the horizon for Jacob and all I could see was the other mothers looking over at me with tears streaming down their faces. It was then that I noticed a crumpled heap of the lawn. My mind told me that it was the body of a child and seconds later my reactions was to scream and run to my child. It seemed like I was in slow motion. I heard the sound of police cars but all I could do was sit on the ground as my own child's blood covered me and hold him. I rocked back and forth all of the time screaming. “Not my baby! Please God, not my baby!” I remember the police pulling me away from my son and I was fighting against them. A female officer pulled me to her chest and held me so tight and I could see her own tears falling down her face as she tried to stay strong and do the job she was trained to do.


 

The drive by shooting it seemed was a gang who had a dispute with one of the other gang members who had slept with another members girlfriend. Both the boy and the girl had been targets but It seemed the children were caught in the revenge. The body of the boy was found just up the road after police followed the trail of blood. It seemed he didn't make it very far. That one day was forever etched on my memory. It would stay there forever no amount of talking to someone would remove that from my life.


 

Darren had arrived at the hospital and was taken into the private room where I had been waiting for him. As soon as he walked through the doors I rushed over to him and broke down. He held so tight and we both sobbed. He sat me down on the blue faded sofa and held my hand. He was trying to form words but nothing would come from his mouth. I knew he wanted to speak the perfect words of comfort but just couldn't get them past the emotion he was feeling. That night when we returned home I don't remember but Darren tells me I slept on Jacobs bed holding his favourite toys to my chest. Darren didn't sleep he sat all night looking at the family album. Our son had been taken from us, our sweet boy who had everything ahead of him. From that day on none of the children in the street ever played with water guns again!


 

I heard a sound from the bedroom. I pulled myself to my feet and grabbed the towel from the rack and rubbed my face. The bathroom door pushed open and Darren walked in and he stopped to look at me. I saw the look on his face and I felt my emotions well up again.

“I've got to let my little boy go!” he started to cry. “I can't do it, Judy.”

“Come on, We can get through this. We wont be alone!” I told him as we both stood there embraced in each other.


 

Darren was a well built man with short black hair and no matter what the situation whenever he put his arms around me I could feel his build and the warmth of his body always seemed to sooth me in an instant. I didn't want to let him go but we both had to prepare for the day ahead and my mother would arrive soon. With a whole banquet if I knew her. Darren's family had flown in from Florida. My mother and my side of the family would be coming. My father had passed away from prostate cancer and since then I don't think my mother had really acknowledged that he was gone. She, like me, had just carried on with her social circle. “It's just how I survive” she had told me when I pressed her on it once.


 

I opened the front door to see my mother standing there holding a silver tray filled with some kind of food and dip. Her hair was so neatly piled up on her head I could tell she had gone and had one of her expensive hair cuts. She was dressed in a pair of tight black trousers and black top, that cut off at the waist. She had black heeled shoes and her nails were bright red, perfectly manicured. I didn't know what to say or feel at that moment I saw her I was to numb to tell her that I asked for no black and that the top was a little inappropriate for her grandsons funeral. She smiled the perfect white smile, as if to show me her dental whitening was new as well. I moved aside and she stepped into the house.

My mother had arranged all of the catering for the day and I truly did appreciate it. She had hired a company who were now moving so much food out of vans that I didn't know how anyone was going to eat it all. I saw my mother directing the men who brought the food in on the shiny silver trays. This was her baby and I was not going to take that away from her.

Darren walked down the stairs in his beige suit, that I knew he would never wear again after this day. He took one look at my mother and turned to me. I held up my hand to tell him not to say anything. I didn't want any upset on this day.


 

“What I think we should do is put the drinks on the table in the corner.”

“Thank you for doing this, Donna.” Darren gave my mother a hug and She was taken aback just as I was.

“It was a one off!” he would later tell me when I told how shocked I had been.


 

There was silence in the car as we made our way to the church. Darren held my hand as he looked out of the window. Everything seemed to feel like it was not real. I felt like I had slipped into someone else's life, this couldn't happen to us. I found myself thinking about the brown bear with the yellow ribbon around it neck that Jacob had spotted in a shop window. He had begged and pleaded with me to buy it for him and he had slept with it every night since that day. I asked for that bear to be put into his coffin. I thought back to the day I went into the chapel of rest to see him. I had been called by the hospital and told that we should come and say our goodbye and give him once last kiss as they felt the time was close where we wouldn't want to see him. I understood that much and I knew that I wouldn't be able to cope with that and Darren was having a hard time also. We said goodbye that day and I tried my hardest to walk out of that room but I didn't want to leave and Dave had to look me in the eyes and beg me to leave with him. We sat that afternoon in the park with the sun beating down on us. My head was against his chest and all I could do was watch those young children playing so happy and knowing my son would never again play in the park.


 

As we pulled into the church I noticed my aunty get out of the car in a white dress and hat. Her bag matched and with her white shoes I couldn't help but think to myself that she was never going to keep those clean all day. My niece was a bright girl and had long thick dark hair. She was standing next to the car with her boyfriend. In my mind I had a vision that I knew I would carry with me all of my days. I saw Jacob as a grown man and he was smiling at me. I saw his neatly cut hair and he was dressed in neatly pressed clothes and his shoes were black and polished to perfection. I wondered who he would have grown to be like. I wondered what his girlfriend or boyfriend would have been like. I wouldn't have cared who he loved as long as he was happy within his heart and they truly loved my ray of sunshine back.

“We need to go inside.” My Mother had walked over to me and taken my arm while Darren had my other. We all made our way inside as the vision in my mind faded and I was brought back to the reality of what was going on around me.

The hardest part of the service was not the readings or people trying to sing when no one felt singing, why did they insist on that? I watched as the curtains closed and in that moment in my mind it was as if someone had put the words “THE END” on those curtains. The final act was over and now we had to leave and continue on with our lives. Whatever kind of life we would have after this. I wasn't sure what that was going to be.


 

I rushed forward from where I was standing in the front row and my family members rushed to stop me from trying to follow that coffin. Darren stood there sobbing as other members of the family tried to comfort him. I found myself slipping down to the floor again and felt many hands trying to lift me up. The paster walked over and gently knelt down to me and somehow he was the only one who could help me to my feet. He helped me out side to the garden of remembrance where all of the flowers had been been laid. I tried to look at them all but the emotion was too overwhelming. I asked someone to gather up the cards so I could read them when I felt up to it. There were so many flowers and the smell was overwhelming. It carried on the breeze and seemed to follow me as we returned to the cars and to head back to the house that would forever seem so empty now. I had never wished, not once for me and Darren to be on our own and now it was as if life had taken a step backwards.


 

I had wanted to blame God for a long time. I had asked the question of why he would let a child come into the world for such a short time only to call them back home. I wanted to blame the ambulance people for not getting to the scene quick enough, although I knew in my heart that my child was dead before the call was even made. I blamed the boy who shot him, who was now serving his time. I blamed the world for letting our children grow into the need to form gangs. I blamed myself most of all for not being there watching the children play. I should have been outside on the porch watching them. People told me I couldn't watch them all of the hours of the day and I had nothing to feel guilty about but it never took away that feeling of “What if!”


 

“Judy, love shall I bring the Lincolnshire sausage rolls out?” My mother called across the room to me in a voice that she wanted everyone in the room to hear. She didn't just have Sausage rolls they were from “Lincolnshire!” I just smiled as smile.

“If you want to, Mother.” I picked up the drink I had been holding for what seemed like hours. I didn't want to drink or eat for that matter.

“Your mother is driving the kitchen people insane!” Darren placed a hand on the small of my back. It felt good and for a second I felt safe. I was standing by the fireplace where the picture of Jacob was placed for all to see.

“I swear she must have paid thousands for all of this.” I kissed Darren lightly and he looked over at the photo.

“Jacob would have polished off those sausage rolls!” He laughed.

“Those LINCOLNSHIRE sausage Rolls!” I joked and we both found ourselves laughing. It felt good. I couldn't remember the last time we had both laughed together and I wanted to remember this moment. I walked over to sofa and sat down next to my niece. She took my hand and I saw the tears in her eyes.

“No one has to say anything!” I told her and patted her hand.


 

That night Darren and I got ready for bed. My mother had told me that she would stay to make sure that I was going to be all right. I told her that we were fine and that we would clean up in the morning. She told me not to worry about that and that she had a team coming in to get the house back into shape. I didn't want to tell her that we just wanted to be alone. I said my thanks and she told me that she would stay at the local hotel and pop back in the afternoon. I didn't get a chance to tell her anything else because with that she was out the door and heading down the drive with her phone in her hand talking to Silvia about the Art class that she had just started and how they must talk about it over lunch.


 

Darren sat in silence and I wasn't sure what to do or say. I wanted to hold him and just let him him know that I was here and anything was fine, he could cry, scream, shout out. I didn't mind anything as long as I knew he was going to be himself.

Darren's mother had always been of the mind set that boys and men DO NOT cry! I could never see how she could live with that mind set because all that ever told boys and men was that they must bottle up their feelings and emotions and in the end that would only bring on the violence because it could find no other way out from them. I had always told Jacob that it was fine to cry if that's what he felt he needed to do. One day he came in from the garden with tears streaming down his face and I could see that he was holding his hand out to me. It looked swollen and I could the little sting still stuck in the bump. He told me he was sorry for crying but it hurt him so much. I asked him why he felt he needed to say he was sorry and he told me because grandma had told him to stop being a baby. That was the day I had an almighty shouting match with Darren's mother and we fell out. Darren had told her to stop interfering in how we brought up our child and she shouted at him that he was going to grow up to be a sissy! I shouted back at her that even if he was a sissy that would be just fine by me because he was still my son and I loved him more than anything. She left and since that day we had very little contact with her. She sent Darren a letter to tell him that she had taken him and Jacob out of her will. Darren ripped the letter up and told me that it didn't matter because money was her life and not ours!


 

“I'm going to try to sleep.” Darren finally broke the awkward silence that had hung in the air between us.

“Me too.” I said and I turned to switch off the light.

“Night.” As I turned back Darren kissed me on the forehead.

“I love you.” I told him.

“Love you more!” he said as the room filled with darkness.


 

The next morning, Sunday. The sun filled the room with a warmth that made us both feel like staying right where we were but I knew the house needed some sorting and the cleaning crew would be here to clean up. I made my way over to the door and slipped on my dressing gown. I made my way down to the kitchen and I switched on the kettle and reached up into the cupboard and took two cups then I went over to other cupboard and took down a glass. I froze as the realisation filled my body that I didn't need this little glass for juice because Jacob wasn't here now. I dropped the glass and it smashed into the floor and I imagined it was my heart shattering into a million tiny pieces


 

I swept up the glass and made the coffee. I put the right amount of toast into the toaster and just as I had put it onto the table Darren walked into the kitchen in just his Briefs rubbing his hair and yawning. I looked at his muscular figure and felt my heart leap, it still did even after all of this time. I felt a pull of guilt for thinking of him in that way. It was as if my mind was telling me I was sick to be thinking of how good looking my husband was when my son was dead. How could I think things at such a time.

“What's wrong?” Darren asked as he sat down and started to butter some toast.

“Nothing I was just thinking.” I turned to the cooker and picked up an egg ready to crack into the pan.

“Just sit down. You don't need to do all of this.”

“ I NEED to keep busy!” I had snapped and I didn't mean to do that. IT was just how I felt I needed to be doing something.

“You just buried our son. No-one is worried if you leave things for a couple of days.”

“I can't just sit around, Darren. I need to keep busy. It doesn't mean I am not thinking about Jacob.”

“I didn't say you wasn't” Darren got up and put his arms around me as I cracked the egg into the pan. He kissed the back of my neck and I found myself closing my eyes for those few seconds.

“I'm sorry!” I said. “I just want to do things.”

“It's fine.” He said as he returned to his seat. “Do you want to go back today, to look at the flowers?”


 

I hadn't thought about the flowers since we left and they had been so lovely. I didn't even recall seeing the open book with Jacobs picture on it that me and his father had got for him. I had agonised over the words I wanted to put on the card. In the end Darren had to write them out because I became too emotional as I tried to write what was in my heart, what would forever be inked in my heart long after those words had faded.

After the cleaners had been to the house Darren had come and asked me if it was all right with me for him to spend some time in the yard. I told him he didn't have to ask and I knew that this was his way of spending some time alone with his thoughts and I wasn't going to deny him that. I went and made the bed and sorted out the bedroom. I dusted and polished and went over just about everything that I could. I sat on the book and looked at the photo of Jacob on my side. I picked it up and rubbed the cloth over it. I looked at his bright eyes and that bright smile and I could hear his voice in my head. I could see him running through the bedroom door with his favourite bedtime story in his hands.

“Mummy! Read me this one tonight!” I would tuck him in so he was snug and warm and sit next to the bed and read to him until he was fast asleep. Then the next night he would ask his Daddy to make him up a story about the Car who lost his engine.


 

Darren was so good at making up stories for Jacob I had always told him that he should write them down and try to get them published so other children could hear those wonderful bedtime tales. Darren had laughed and told me that he had about as much chance of writing a book as he did of climbing the highest mountain in the world! I told him to at least tape them so Jacob could pass them down to his own children. What a gift that would be, worth far more than money.


 

I found myself resting my head on the pillow. My eyes felt heavy as if someone had dosed me up with some kind of drug. My eyes closed and I must have fallen asleep because several hours later Darren woke me up with a cup of coffee waiting on the bedside cabinet. I sat up and he slipped onto the bed beside me and put his arms around my shoulders. I started to cry. It felt like I should be strong for Darren but I saw the tears falling down his face as well. We just sat in each others arms as the clock ticked softly in the background. It seemed like ages before we parted and I got up from the bed to drink my coffee. Darren stayed in the room and slept himself. I tried to put the television on but I just couldn't seem to focus, who wanted to watch tripe about people hungry for fame anyway?

As I sat in the silence I noticed the big pile of condolence cards on the table. I needed to open them and put them up. I wondered if I should wait for Darren to wake up or not. I picked up one from the top and opened it. A little card within fell onto my lap and I picked it up to see a bold heading HE IS ALWAYS THERE. It was a verse that some one had written about Jesus always being there for us, especially through the times when you are grieving. I placed it on the table and read inside the card to find that it was from my old school friend, Tiffany. She had written a long heartfelt piece about how she wished she could do something for me but that I should try to hold onto the thoughts that Jesus was looking after my child now.


 

I wasn't so sure Jesus was looking after my child. I SHOULD have been looking after my child. Why did he feel the need to take my child so he could have him to himself? It didn't seem fair .Why did it have to be my child and not someone else's, how awful is that? Wishing someone else's child dead. I didn't wish any child dead I just didn't understand why it had to be my child.

I threw the card across the room and it landed in the fire and started to burn. I felt guilty now but I wanted those ashed to make their way to heaven so Jesus could know just how I felt right now about his words of comfort.


 

“Do you need any food?” My mother called me late that night and I wasn't in the mood to talk to her. I just wanted the world to go away so I could be on my own with my thoughts.

“No, we still have food left over from the wake.”

“Well if you need anything let me know before I leave because I have to get home for my Art class.”

“It's all right mum.” I said again. “You go and enjoy your class.”

“I don't want you to think that I am abandoning you.”

“We are both fine. We have everything we need. I thank you, mum, but we just need some time on our own now.”

“Well just phone if you need me, night or day!”

“I will, Love you.”

“Love you too, sweetie!”

“Bye” I put the phone down and sighed.

As I took a basket of washing up the stairs I noticed that Darren was standing on the landing. He turned around and noticed me and helped me to the bedroom with the basket. As he put it down I asked him what he had been doing standing on the landing.

“We have to face it soon.” He said to me and I knew what he was talking about. I didn't want to think about it just yet, I wasn't ready.


 

Deep inside I knew the moment would have to come where both Darren and myself would have to enter Jacobs bedroom. We had the choice to leave it as it was, like a shrine or tomb or we could clear it out. I didn't know what to feel. I didn't know what the right answer was to that one and most of all I didn't even know when I would be ready to make either choice. It was as if, for the time being, that the bedroom was a forbidden place. It was somewhere that no-one should enter for fear of losing their heart.


 

How did parents who lost a child face that? Was it something that just came as a natural thing? Would I one day wake up and feel like I was ready to do that, to clean out the last traces that he had ever been on this Earth? How soon was too soon and how long was too long? I guess there was no right or wrong answer but it seemed like Darren wanted to do this sooner rather than later but I just couldn't face it yet, I just couldn't.


 

“I'm not ready!” I said as I took items out of the basket and placed them onto the bed in piles.

“I know.” He said. “I'm just saying that we have to..”

“When I'm ready.” I was fighting off the tears.

“I was just saying...”

“WHEN I'M READY!” I snapped and as I walked out of the room I knocked the neat pile of washing onto the floor.

“I'M SORRY!” I heard Darren call out to me. I was in the bathroom sitting on the floor by the toilet. My stomach felt like it was lurching and I felt giddy and sick. I closed my eyes and I felt like there was a spinning wheel inside my head. I knew that at any moment I was going to be sick. I didn't know what to say back to Darren so I stayed silent and waited.

When Darren returned to work I found myself alone for the first time. I had been used to people stopping by and making sure I wasn't cracking up. I always put on my best smile and Gave them the speech that everything was going fine and that I was getting better with each passing day. Inside was another story. I felt like I was alone. Darren had done nothing wrong but I found myself snapping at him for the slightest little thing. Then the day came that I had been fearing inside. I don't know what I had to feel guilty about but I did. In my heart it just felt wrong.


 

Darren had cuddled up to me in bed one night and placed his arms around me. I thought he was just giving me the cuddle of comfort that I had grown used to. His hand moved up to my breasts and although I felt that surge of pleasure I pulled away and sat up. He asked me what was wrong and I just looked at him as if he was some stranger who had just violated me.

“How could you even think of that!” I snapped.

“I just thought....”

“That you would have sex when we have just said goodbye to our son.”

“I'm sorry, I still have...needs!”


 

Darren reached out for me and I quickly moved out of the bed and into the bathroom. This room was vast becoming my hideaway from the world. I could hear Darren moving about in the room and the sound of his underclothes being put on and then his jeans. I heard the bedroom door slam. I walked back out of the bathroom in time to hear the car pull away from the drive way. I walked back to the bed and climbed back in. I pulled the covers up tight around me and I sobbed. I loved that man with all of my heart but the thought of having sex just repulsed me right now, I didn't understand why. I just felt guilty to allow that much pleasure to myself when my child was gone. Every time I closed my eyes I saw he face or could hear his voice telling me about something he had seen on the television or asking me about how something worked. His mind was always trying to work things out for himself and if he couldn't he would come and find me or his father to ask us for an answer.

As I stood in the kitchen I looked out into the garden and I noticed how the tree's were starting to bloom. The world was being renewed with colour and vibrancy. It was the first time I had even noticed it after all of these years the colour of nature was revealing itself to me at a time when I felt only blackness inside my soul and heart. I looked at the spot where the swing set had been, Darren had removed it for me so I didn't have to look upon it. I washed the dishes as my minds eyes took me back to the time that Jacob and I had been playing out in the sand pit. His big truck toy had been loaded with sand and he pulled it along with his hands telling me that it was going off to make buildings.

“You make sure they are a tall and strong!” I told him.

“Mummy can I make buildings when I'm bigger?” He asked.

“You can fly to the moon if you want.” I told him as I swooped him up in my arms.


 

That truck was now in the corner of the garden by the bins. It had no driver to take it to the building site to built those sand buildings. The fun times were gone and now I was forced back into adulthood instead of joining in that play world that I had gotten lost in just as much as Jacob.


 

I thought about the woman who's son had been shot and killed also. She had lost a child also and I had little information on her or what her son had did to be a target for this shooting. I wondered what she was feeling. Did she have these same emotions, did she care? Was she even around? What about his father? Something told me that she must be feeling at least a little like I did inside. We had both lost sons, she had hers longer than me and I felt ashamed for feeling a bit bitter about that.


 

“I have to tell you about this absolutely stunning real life model.”

“Mum, I have to get groceries.” I tried to get off of the phone.

“He came to model for us and let's just say he had it all going on in the bedroom department!”

“MUM!” I was shocked, I don't know why. “Please!”

“Well anyway I am meeting him for lunch today.”

“Good for you, mum. Now I have to get going.”

Mum kept me on the phone for another fifteen minutes telling me about this man who was built like a male model, young and viral and how he was taking her out. I didn't care. I should have told her to be happy and be careful but I just didn't care. I stood looking out at the squirrel who was making his way up the tree in the garden. I knew I was being rude to her but I just wanted to get off the phone so I could go outside, I needed to be outside in the garden.


 

As I stood in the middle of the garden I looked over to the shed where Darren had been busy sorting things into tins, things he was never going to use but thought that he should hold onto until his death! I smiled and walked over to where he had planted the Rose bush in memory of Jacob. That had been his idea, Why didn't I think of something like that? I had been so lost in myself that I didn't even think about a lasting memorial for him.


 

“Do you want to move?” Darren poured the wine into the glasses as we sat in the restaurant. I looked down at the table when he asked me and then back up to him.

“I can't.” I took a breath. “It's Jacobs home.”

“It isn't good for either of us.” Darren picked up his glass.

“I still haven't been into his room.”

Darren paused. “Do you want to?”

“Yes!” I took a sip from the glass.

“You just tell me when and we will go together.”

I placed my glass back on the table. “Tonight, when we get home.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes!” I wasn't sure but I found the word coming out of my mouth. Maybe this was something that I needed to do, WE needed to do.

“As long as you are ready.”

“When will the right time ever be here?” I asked him.

“I know.”

“Sometimes, just for a moment I forget.” I lowed my head as if in shame.

“Then it hits you like a truck!” Darren took my hand.

We stood outside Jacobs room just holding each others hand. We didn't know what to expect. Darren turned the handle and pushed open the door. Inside he switched on the light. As soon the light was on the room lit up and it was as if time had stopped for a moment. I glanced over at the bedspread on the small bed. It was Jacobs favourite, sky blue with race cars on it. The wall paper matched. Folded up on the bed was his pyjamas. I walked slowly over and sat down on the bed. I picked up the pyjamas and held them tightly. Darren had walked over to the shelf where the model race cars that he had given Jacob sat. HE picked one of them up. In a moment he had slid down to the floor and curled up into a ball. His tears were constant. I rushed over and knelt down beside him. I held him in my eyes and we wept together just rocking on the spot. I do not know how long we were there but it felt like an hour.


 

“What do we do with the room?” Darren tried to talk through the tears.

“I don't know. Maybe we should leave it. Let a part of him always be here.”

“That is going to kill us both.”

“Then you answered your own question.” It came out harshly. Darren shot me a look, one that I had seen a lot of lately.

“Why do you do that?”

“DO what?”

“Turn it around on me. I just think that the room will pull us apart every time we see it.”

“Then change it. Have the spare room YOU have always wanted!” I spat and walked off.


 

Darren grabbed my wrist and pulled me back to face him. He had never in all of the time that we had been together done anything like that before. I could see the hurt in his eyes and the look on his face that told me he could hit me right now. I knew he wouldn't and I found the tears forming in my eyes again. He let me go and turned and walked away into our bedroom slamming the door behind him. I stood on the spot for a while before I returned to Jacobs room. I closed the door behind me and climbed up onto that small bed. Jacobs bear and favourite book were by the pillows. I picked up the book and started to read it out loud. It was as if he was there next to me on the bed, begging me to show him the pictures in the book and asking me questions about what had happened, always wanting to know both sides of the story. Sometimes he felt the naughty fox was right to steal the food from the farm because he was only hungry and probably had a family at home that he wanted to feed. That was what made him such a special child, his heart! I had never seen another child with such a caring heart. He loved animals and was always trying to get us to get him a dog or cat, anything so he could give it some of the love he had inside.


 

In the morning I awoke to feel my back was in pain and after a few seconds I noticed that I was still on Jacobs bed, dressed in last nights dress. My hair was a mess and as I sat up the book I had been reading fell onto the floor. Just outside the room I heard the clinking of a bottle against glass. I walked over to the door and pulled it open until there was just a crack to look through. Darren was standing on the landing with a whisky bottle in one had and a glass in the other. I softly shut the door and closed my eyes. This was going to be Darren's answer to our loss, drink! I should have known that this was going to come. He had told me when we met that he took drink seriously because he had almost became an alcoholic in the past. Had I driven him to this? How selfish was her to turn to drink, didn't he think that I had wanted to pick up the bottle and pour my sorrows into a glass?


 

When I entered into the kitchen Darren was at the breakfast counter. I glanced down at the half empty bottle and walked over to the coffee pot. I poured myself a cup and looked back at Darren.

“I take you want a coffee?” I took his cup out.

“I'm fine!” He said without looking up.

“I think you need one, don't you?”

“I SAID I'M FINE!” in one swift move Darren picked up the glass and threw it at the sink where it smashed and fell into the soapy water. Darren got up and headed for the back door.

“Go on! HIT AND RUN!” I shouted after him. “COWARD!”


 

Darren spent most of that morning down in the shed and mowing the lawns. I took him out a coffee twice to find the cup still on the wall where I left it. I took it back indoors and poured it away. I noticed the bottle on the table was now empty and I picked it up and dropped into the glass recycling bin. I thought about calling the doctor, maybe Darren needed to speak to someone, maybe we both did. I knew that Darren would never go if I made the appointment. I wasn't even sure if it was grief or if he had enough of me. I still wasn't making myself available to him. I just felt so tired these days.


 

When Darren came in from the garden he found me asleep on the sofa. I heard him gently reach across me and pick up the book that he had been reading. I couldn't help but wonder if the book had been taking his mind off of Jacob. I had tried to read several times but my mind kept on taking me back to the moment and the pain that I felt on the inside. Darren had always liked spy novels and I had always liked the sloppy Romance kind. I just liked the simple stories of Boy meets girl. Darren had told me that their was plenty of romance in his spy thrillers but I still couldn't find the appeal.


 

“Do you want me to order out for dinner?” Darren had gently shaken me awake about an hour later and I was a bit groggy. The words on the menu all seemed blurred and I had to take a moment to focus.

“I'll just have my usual, thanks.” I told him as I sat up and stretched my arms.

“I saw the coffee but got distracted, sorry.”

“Don't worry about it.” I was still annoyed but I couldn't be bothered with it right now.

“Shall I put the kettle on or shall I pop out and get some fizzy?”

“I need to put some plates under the grill and tidy myself up so you might as well get some cola.”

“I wont be long.” Darren grabbed his coat and car keys and left the house.


 

I opened the kitchen cupboard and took out two plates and placed them on a low heat under the grill. I turned to face the cupboard above, to the right of the cooker, and took out two glasses. For a few seconds I felt at ease, It was as if a sudden wave of contentment had hit me. I should not have felt it. What kind of a mother was I, I wasn't a mother not any more. If you lost a child did you ever stop being a mother to that child? I felt sick inside and I wished I could just embrace that happy feeling but it went away just as soon as it came. Why were the Gods playing with my emotions in this way? GODS! Were they even up their, how dare the take my son, they didn't even give me many years with him. This wasn't right. This just wasn't right.


 

The phone ringing broke my thoughts and I quickly grabbed the phone and answered it. I didn't even get a chance to say hello before the voice of my mother came rushing at me.

“HI, it's mum!”

“I guessed that, mum”

“I just wanted to phone you and tell you that I might be able to come back down to you after the weekend. Now I know it's short notice but I can stay in a hotel it's no problem.”

“Well the thing is mum Darren and I haven't been getting on much and...”

“That is why you need me there! You need your mother to bang your heads together and make you see how much you need each other.”

“We need to sort things out in our own way, mum.”

“Nonsense you need the voice of experience.”

I just sighed. “ What time?” I knew I wasn't getting out of this one.

Darren and I sat and ate the take away without the distraction of the television. I still hadn't told him about my mother coming to visit and I just hoped that he wasn't going to be too mad. I didn't even want to think what she had in mind, as for the voice of experience, well her relationships hadn't exactly been smooth ones. I wasn't surprised my sister had so many arguments with my mum. I tended to just let her get on with whatever she wanted to do but my sister had always stood her ground with mum and told her in not so many words what she thought.


 

I hadn't heard much from my sister when Jacob passed away. I knew she felt as sad as any of us and she just didn't know what to say. She would stand up to anyone but she didn't know how to express emotion very well. Her own children had to force responses out of her all of their lives. I had phoned my sister to tell her that it was fine if she didn't know what to say and that she was still welcome to come over any time that she wanted. I wasn't sure if she would show up at the funeral and I knew her reasons why. She had two children and she had lost one before it was born. The father was pleased and that just about said everything about the man who already had two children who hardly received his love.


 

“My mum phoned while you were out.”

“Everything OK?” asked Darren.

“yes, she said she is coming down the weekend.”

“What!”

“I know but I tried to put her off. She said she is willing to stay in a hotel.”

“There is no point in that. If she is coming she might as well stay here.” I could tell Darren wasn't best pleased.

“Still look at this way she will have plenty of stories to tell you about her Art class and this new mysterious man!”

Darren shot me a look that said I was on shaky ground. “I need a stronger drink I think!”


 

I stopped laughing as I watched Darren walk over to the drinks cabinet and take out a glass that he filled with drink. I went to say something but stopped myself. I had seen several empty bottles in the recycling bin outside. I picked up the plates and carried them out to the kitchen. As I washed the plates I found the tears falling down my face. I tried to wipe them away with the back of my hand in case Darren walked into the room. I wasn't sure if I should tell him about his drinking or if I should just let him do this for a period of time. Something was going to have to be done or I knew that I would lose another important person in my life. How would I cope with that?


 

I awoke early the next morning, Darren was still sleeping next to me and the smell of his alcohol breath made me feel sick. I walked across the landing and I noticed that Jacobs bedroom door was open. The light from the window inside was beaming out on to the landing and I could see the tiny particles of dust dancing in the beams. I walked up to the door and turned to walk inside. Somewhere from inside the room I felt a cold breeze and I noticed the window was open. I walked over and pulled it closed. I was about to leave the room when I looked over at the shelve on the wall. I saw a silver coin that I had given to him the day he had been a very good boy and he had looked at me with big wide eyes and told me that he was never going to spend it and that he was keeping it forever. He had placed it up on this shelf where it had remained. I picked up the coin and kissed it before placing it back in its place.

“I love you, son.” I whispered and hurried from the room closing the door behind me.


 

AS I walked back into our bedroom, Darren was there drying his hair with a towel. He was naked and I noticed that on the bed he placed his under clothes. I looked at him for a second and the urge to grab him, to kiss him, to take him inside of me, was so strong. Just like before in the kitchen it was a momentary thing before it was ripped away from me. He turned to face me and smiled.

“Your up early.” He said and walked over and kissed me on the temple.

Darren entered the kitchen, fully dressed now. I was busy at the cooker trying to make a fry up when my heart just wasn't in it. I turned to Darren and took a breath before I spoke.

“You slept well. Must have been the drink before bed.” I turned my attention back to the eggs.

A pause. “It was only a couple of glasses. Am I NOT allowed that now?”

“I didn't say that.” I flipped the eggs over.

“When is your mum getting here?”

“She said she would call on Friday night when she arrives.”

“We had best get the room sorted. I will make it a bit tidier. You sort the linen out.”

“Sure.” I put the eggs onto Darren's plate and added the bacon and sausages. I put a spoonful of beans onto the plate and sat down.

“Are you not eating?” He asked me as I poured myself a juice.

“I might do some toast.”

“You need to eat, keep your strength up.”

“I AM eating!” I protested and I saw the look on Darren's face.

“What have I said wrong now?”

“Nothing, I'm sorry.”

“It feels like let's pick on Darren week, every week lately.”

“I said, sorry!”

“You wonder why I like a drink!” Darren put his cutlery down and grabbed his coat from the back of the chair and left the house, slamming the door as he left.


 

I sat in the kitchen for a while with my head down on the table, crying and rocking back and forth in the chair. I wasn't sure how much time had past but I was feeling like someone had come along and snatched my energy away from me. I felt like I was going to fall asleep right there at the table. I got up and made my way back to the bedroom. I put myself back in bed and pulled the covers up over me and I was there until two in the afternoon, Darren still wasn't home and the house was so still it made me feel uneasy. I walked into the kitchen and made myself a glass of water. I cleaned up the breakfast plate and I walked into the living room. It was then that I saw the dark skinned woman standing at the end of the drive looking up at the house. I stopped in my tracks and looked out at her.


 

The woman was average height and wore a summery dress. She had a light blue hat on her head and she held a clutch purse in her hands. Her shoes were black and didn't seem to go with the aqua blue dress she wore. I was going to go outside and ask if she was looking for us but she turned and slowly walked away from the house. I couldn't help but feel a little freaked out by the moment. I just hoped she wasn't confused and trying to find her way home. I wondered if I should go and help her when I saw Darren's car swerve up the drive and come to a halt. He got out and slammed the door shut and staggered to the front door. I heard him try and put the key in the lock. I hurried over to the door and opened it and he fell into the house nearly knocking me over. I staggered with him into the living room where he fell into the chair and went right to sleep.


 

That was the moment that I lost it and I went through the whole house and poured every single bottle of drink down the sink. There was no way he was going to be drinking anything in this house again. How could I let my mother see him like this? This wasn't the man I feel in love with and this wasn't the man who fathered my child. I didn't know how I was going to deal with this but I knew that he was going to be getting help or he was no longer welcome in this house. I wondered if I should phone my mother and tell her not to come because this just wasn't the right time. Then I thought that he wouldn't dare drink while she was here so maybe it was going to be a good thing.

“What are becoming?” I said as I put his legs up on the couch. I needed to get groceries and he was meant to be going into work but it wasn't going to happen now. I would have to text from his phone,pretend to be him and tell them that I was under the weather and wouldn't be able to make it. If Darren lost his job through drinking I didn't know where that would leave us, homeless maybe!

As the car pulled up into the drive I looked out to see my mother struggle with a huge suitcase. I couldn't help but wonder why she had packed up so much for such a short stay. The horror hit me that maybe she intended to stay longer than the weekend and I wasn't sure If I could face that not with Darren and everything else that was going through my mind. Something would have to be said to her if that was indeed her intentions. My mother had done this to me before when she was going through a (BAD) patch with one of her men. Sometimes it had been a blessing to have her here but at other times she would try and tell me how I should be bringing up Jacob and that would only make me mad. She had steeped very carefully since Jacob's death and I had to admit that she had been a God send with all of the things that she arranged. Maybe I did need her near me now.

As I helped my mother into the house I looked back towards her car. I noticed across the road the same dark skinned lady I had seen before. I went to step out of the door to cross the road and she turned around, who was she? Why was she watching my house? I made up my mind that if I saw her again that I was going to phone the police. She didn't seem dangerous but I knew from the television programmes I had seen that you just couldn't be too careful these days, God that was my mother coming out with me. I was thinking like her more as I got older.


 

“Well then he said I should paint nudes, well that's what I thought he said.”

“What did he say?”

“That he thought I should paint, NUDE!”

Darren and I started to laugh. “Oh mum!”

“Don't you both laugh, Dirty bastard!”

“So I take it you chucked him them.” Darren handed mum a glass of wine.

“I walked out of that place and I have not gone back!”

“Good for you!”

“So you didn't want to see his easel!”

“DARREN!” I nearly fell off of my chair laughing and then I caught sight of the picture of Jacob smiling at me and I stopped. I looked over at Darren who had started to pour himself a drink. Mum had brought some wine with her and she had offered to open it. I went to protest when Darren beat me to it and said that it was a great idea. I gave him a look but he carried on anyway.


 

After Dinner we all sat in the conservatory. Darren was telling mum about the new project he was working on at work and I was telling her that we had both gone into Jacobs room to face what we needed to. Mum had gone silent, she didn't know what to say when thing got serious. I walked back into the main house and noticed that a bag sat on the kitchen table. When I looked inside I found two bottles if whisky. I didn't even notice Darren come in with it. I wanted to pick the bottles up and pour them down the sink, in fact I thought that was what I would do. Mum walked in and placed a hand on my back and distracted my thoughts.

“What's wrong, love?”

“Nothing.” I lied trying to hide the tears.

“Look, I wiped your eyes and cleaned your bum. I know when something is up.”

“I can't talk right now, mum.”

“Everything is all right with you and Darren, isn't it?”

“Not really, I talk to you later.” I gave her a hug and walked back into Darren.


 

In the evening mum and I sat by the fire. It burnt with a bright orange/yellow glow and we both felt the cosy and warm. We had no television on and I sat with a cup of coffee and mum sat nursing a warm wine. She looked over at me and gave a sigh. I turned to catch her gaze and she smiled.

“He is hurting more than you know.”

“He isn't going to find the answers in the bottom of a bottle, mum!”

“No, for the time being it's his master. You can get through this, he does love you.”

I didn't doubt that Darren loved me and I knew that mother had battled with the drink in the past. I guess that she had never really gotten over it but she was not as bad as she had been in the past. I could remember a time when were young that we had come home from school to find mum nursing a black eye and empty bottle at her side. She had told us that she had fallen down and hit her face and we would always take her word for it and even both joked how she was such a clumsy cow!

This had gone on until my sister and I had reached our teenage years and then we started to know that something was wrong. Mum had been a fighter but all the fight had been knocked out of her and she had become a shadow of her former self. For some reason she had become a little promiscuous after that. To this day she was going from one relationship to another but never settling down, never trusting a man fully. She told me once that if a man is full of fury you will be he target in one way or another. I had stuck with me and taken me many years to trust any boy who wanted to date me, be nice to me. I held out until I met Darren and my life had changed. We had been happy and when the baby came along I thought that we would reach new heights in our relationship.

“Your father never touch a drop of alcohol. Look what he did to me.”

“Mum, you don't have to drag that all up.”

“I'm not. Has he ever hit you?”

“GOD NO!” I snapped.

“Then you have hope. He needs help Judy. You BOTH need help. God knows how many couches I have been laid back on, I don't mean for pleasure either!”

“MUM!” I did not need to hear about my mothers sex life!

“What have you got to lose?”

“Do you think he blames me?” My voice was weak and shaky as I spoke.

“Why would he?”

“Because I was on the phone to you. I was talking to you and not looking after Jacob.”

“He was playing, so were all the other kids in the street. Look maybe you both need to get out of this house. Have you thought about moving?”

“I can't. This is where Jacob was growing up. This is where his memories are.”

“NO!, his memories are in your heart and in your mind. That is where they will always be. It doesn't matter where in the world you are.”

“I can't leave this place, not yet.” I stopped for a moment to drink some coffee. “Did I tell you about the woman I keep seeing outside.”

“No?”

“She has been looking at the house. She is dark skinned and when she catches my eye she walk away. I was thinking of calling the police.”

“How strange.” My mother paused. “Could it be... no surly not!”

“Who?” I asked eager to hear her thought.

“well, could it be the boys mother! The one who shot Jacob!”

“My God!” It hit me all of a sudden. Even from a distance I had recognised that face from the court room. This was the boys mother. What in the world did she want hanging around here? Maybe I should phone the police after all. Was she stalking me? Blaming me in some way for her son's prison sentence.

“You will have to do something about that.” My mother was right. I couldn't let this go.

When I awoke the next morning I found Darren was already up and I walked down the stairs and into the kitchen to find that he wasn't there. I looked around downstairs but I couldn't find him. I returned to the kitchen and looked out of the window. I saw Darren pottering around down by the shed. It was strange for him to be out there this early. I went over and flicked the kettle on. I wondered if I should call out to him and ask if he would like a coffee but I decided to leave him to whatever it was he was doing. I made myself a tea thinking about what my mother had told me the night before. I would have to sit down and talk to Darren when she had returned home. I didn't want my world to fall apart any more than it had already. So much had happened to us and in many ways our bond had grown stronger. I couldn't let anything come between us now.

As I walked towards the living room I heard my mother moving around upstairs. I didn't pay much attention to it until I realised the sound had come from Jacobs room. I put my tea down and walked out of the room. I walked up the stairs to the landing. My mother was standing in the doorway of Jacobs room, a hand to her face as she wiped her tears. I walked over and placed my hand on her back. She turned around and just wept. WE stood there holding onto each other and I reached out and closed the door. I took her back into her room and sat her down on the bed.

“It hurts so much, doesn't it?” I asked her.

“You need to clean out the room. I know you can't now but that is going to prevent you from healing.”

“I'm not sure I ever will be able to wipe out his presence in the house.”

“You must. I don't know how I would have been if I had lost you but I know I couldn't live for long with all of your things around me.”

I didn't know what to say. “Do you want coffee?” was all that came out.

“please. I'll be down in a moment.”

“I'll make some toast.” I told her as I left her sitting on the bed.


 

Darren walked in the back door and walked over to the sink. He switched the tap on and started to wash his hands. I smiled at him as he turned around. As I got closer to him to give him a kiss I noticed that his breath smelt of alcohol. I knew in a second that the shed had become a bar. As soon as I could I was going to go down their and see just what he had stored away. I was starting to wonder what was worse, another woman or his liquid mistress? I needed to think about what I was going to do. Maybe I should tell him to move out for a while, would I be able to keep an eye on his drinking then? I just didn't know what to do for the best.

“Do you want anything to eat?” My tone of voice told him I knew his secret.

“Just some toast.” Darren sat down in the chair and started to look at the morning paper.

“mum is on her way down.” I told him. “She go upset looking at Jacobs room.”

Darren carried on reading. “It isn't easy!” he didn't even look up.

“I'll get the toast going.” I walked over to the bread bin.

When mother walked in the kitchen she was dressed as though she was about to go out to the disco. I looked at her and my face must have told her everything because she waved my thought away and sat down. Darren looked over the paper and then carried on with the article he was reading.

“I was thinking I might pop into town today.” She was checking if her nail polish was perfect.

“Oh, why is there something you need?” I placed the bread into the toaster.

“Well I thought I would just have a shop around. I hear that Warren Hayes has some great new fashion lines in store.”

My mother loved her clothes! She could simply open up her own shop and earn a fortune. She didn't buy cheap and he didn't buy low quality. I had seen how many tops and skirts that she had the last time I was over at her house. She had showed me one of the spare rooms that had become her very own wardrobe. Shoes were another thing. I had never seen a pair of shoes upon her feet that were not under several hundreds of pounds. I couldn't help but wonder how much money she had earn t from the times when she was working on her paintings and house designs. I guess it was enough so she could now go around and spend whenever she felt like it. Some of the outfits that she purchased for Jacob had always caused people to look and wonder how I could have afforded to put those kind of clothes upon my child's back.

After breakfast mum had left the house and Darren had told me that in a short while he was going out to the office to pick up some folders that he needed to work on at home because of the deadline he had. I told him that it was fine and that I wanted to give the house a good going over anyway, mother always made me feel like cleaning up when she was here. She never said anything or gave any kind of looks but I just felt I had to do more than I usually would. I'm sure my mother would have paid for someone to come in for me but it was my home and I got great pleasure in knowing that once all the work was down my home was neat and tidy and I had been the one who had done it.

When Darren left for the office I took the opportunity to go down to the shed. I unlocked the padlock and looked inside. The shelves all held little boxes that were labelled with things that men needed but never used. I saw the lawn mover,covered over, the garden rake and shovel all sat neatly again the wall. Then in the corner,at the back, I noticed several empty bottles and two full ones ready to be started. I stood for a moment just looking down at them. I quickly came out of the shed and closed the door back up. Now I knew that this problem was far worse than I had first thought. Something was going to have to be done. I needed to find Darren some help but first I knew that I would have to sit him down and make him see that he had a problem that needed to be addressed.

When we had Jacob, Darren had told me that our lives were complete and that as a family we were going to be strong and that nothing or anybody could ever break that apart. I had believed that with all of my heart. I knew how much we loved each each other and Jacob was our Earth angel that came from that love. I was not a religious person but it had felt like a true blessing from God or whatever was above us. We had sat down cuddled up together at night with the baby and just cried together with joy. It had taken a while to fall for Jacob and now he was with us we had everything that we had wanted. Darren's job had been going well and it looked like he was going to be moved up the ladder. We were on our feet. I should have known that something had come crashing down on us sooner or later. No one could stay that high and not come down again.

As I busied myself around the house I put one of my favourite music CD'S on and I sang to myself as I polished and dusted. I picked up the picture of my mum and Jacob and polished it before putting it back in its place. I couldn't help but wonder how fantastic the discovery of photography was. I would always have these moments of time, captures in these frames. If that had never came to be I would have to rely on the pictures in my mind and those could fade over time. I had many pictures on the computer also, what a wonderful thing that everyone of us could have. My mother looked so happy in that picture and Jacob was dressed in his action hero outfit. I can remember that day when he tried to pick up the sofa using his super powers.

Darren had taken so many pictures and film. I still hadn't watched any of the films since Jacob had passed. My God I didn't know how we were going to cope when that moment came. I know that one day we will sit down and watch them. There was one film taken of Jacob in the garden playing when a bee stung him and he had cried out. Darren had come running over to him and comforted him. On the film you can see Darren wiping the tears away from Jacobs eyes and soon after Jacob running off as if nothing had happened. His fathers love and assurance were all he needed to know that the sting wasn't as bad as he thought. I had gone inside to get the medical box. I knew there was a film of me and Jacob when he was born at the hospital. That would be hard to watch now!

I had been working part time in a little business office up until Jacob had passed away. It was only for a small amount of money but it had taken me from the house for a few hours a day. I had made some great friends there, one of which was Carla, a average sized woman with a brown bob hair style. She always wore the most pristine looking outfits. I had admired how she carried herself and she was so professional when it came to the business. I looked up to her. When I found out that I was pregnant she had gone out of her way to make sure that I had everything that I needed in the office. She even ordered me in a new chair so I could be comfortable. When I left to have the baby she had come to visit me all the time and we became good friends. When Jacob passed I found that she was calling me less and less and in the end the phone calls and the visits stopped altogether. I had left the job by now because Darren was bringing home more than enough money to keep us comfortable. I felt sad at the loss of our friendship and had never fully understood why she had stopped coming to see me. I had tried to phone her on occasions but I guessed that she had changed her number. It was with great surprise then that the knock at the door found Carla standing there.

“I know you don't want to talk to me but please hear me out.” Carla still had that pale skin tone and bright red lips. I guess some people never aged!

“Don't be silly.” I told her. “I'm so please to see you, come in.”

“Thank you.” I could tell Carla was nervous as we made our way to the kitchen.


 

As Carla sat down at the table I picked up the coffee pot and started to pour out two coffee's. As I did I could feel the tension coming from her and I just had to beak that away. It didn't matter how long it had been, my old friend was here and I wanted to know how her life had been treating her since the last time I had seen her. She looked well and I hoped things were going OK.

“I'm so please you come to visit.”

“I didn't know what to expect. I knew you had the funeral. I just didn't know how to help you, I should have been here for you.”

“Look, that doesn't matter. I didn't want anyone around me anyway. I still have times when I want to be alone, even from Darren.”

“How is Darren?”

“We are coping the best we can. It has been hard and is going to be harder as the weeks go on.”

“There is a reason I stopped calling.” Carla looked at me as I handed her a coffee.

“IT doesn't ma....”

“Yes, it does. I had a brother who was killed when he was ten. He was out with a friend playing around a old building site. They both climbed up the scaffolding and my brother fell to his death.”

“I'm so sorry, Carla.”

“When this happened to you it brought it all back to me. I thought for years that it was my fault because I let him go out when I was meant to be looking after him.”

“I know how that feels. I keep thinking if only I wasn't on the phone at the time. If only I was outside with him. I thought that maybe I would have taken the bullet and he would still be here.”

Carla reached out a hand to mine. “I would like to be here now, if you would like that.”

“I missed you so much!” W both hugged and cried.

“I left the job about a week ago. My husband came home so I decided to leave to try something else.”

“As long as your happy.” I told her with a smile. “You always said you wanted more.”

 


 


 


 

 

 


 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 


 


 


 


 

 


 


 


 

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