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Ethan
June 4th, 2014, 08:27 PM
Michael turnedtoward the corner, curling into a foetal position his shoes scraping noisily on the floor as he pushed himself into a tighter ball. The muffled argument from downstairs was unintelligible, but he knew what the fight was about, what it was always about.
‘No one on my side of the family has any history of deformity, but you had an aunt with curvature of spine…didn’t you… and don’t give me that hurt look; it’s about time somebody said it.’
‘Please John, he’ll hear you!’
‘Please John, please John…do you think he doesn’t know what he is for chrissake…he’s seven years old and if he doesn’t know now he never will, it’s not gonna suddenly go away is it?.’
John stop, please, you don’t know…’ Her eyes, red rimmed and shining pleaded desperately with her husband.
John threw his arms in the air in frustration,
‘You know what he’s doing right now…well do you?’ He leaned close to Esther's face as he spat the words venomously, ‘he’s up there, curled in the corner, waiting for Mummy to come up and tell him it’s all gonna be alright, but it’s not gonna be alright is it. He’s a hunchback, and he’ll be a hunchback until he dies, why can’t you face it for Chrissakes just tell him that he’s…that you can’t…that we can’t do anything about it.’
Esther sobbed, covering her face with her handkerchief to hide the tears she knew would infuriate him further.
‘Ahh Christ, what’s the use of talking to you…I can’t seem to get it through your…’ He stopped mid-sentence and stared at the cowering figure before him and the anger left him as quickly as it had arrived. John took a deep breath and stepped back closing his eyes as his temper drained.
He turned slowly and snatched the car keys from the table, before walking down the hallway and out of the house.
Michael heard the door close and minutes later the car starting, the crunch of the tyres on the gravel drive confirmed John’s departure, for a few hours at least. Slowly he uncurled himself from the corner and sidled over to the window and furtively double checked the empty drive before sighing and perching himself awkwardly on edge of the bed facing the door.
Moments later he smiled as he heard the soft footfalls of his Mother climbing the two flights of stairs to his room.
The light from the hallway illuminated the darkened room as Esther entered and Michael cocked his head and grinned. Sitting down beside him she fumbled with the wet handkerchief that was still clasped in her hands.
‘I’m so sorry Michael… I just don’t know how to make it right.’ She leaned over and kissed the top of his head and she tenderly slipped her arm around his shoulder.
‘Don’t worry Mom, maybe it’s time to tell him.’ He looked up into her still tearful eyes.
‘Oh Mikey,’ She ruffled his hair, ‘I don’t know how he’d react …if he can’t accept this;’ She gently ran her hand down his neck and across his back ‘how’s he going to deal with the truth if I just blurt it out?’
‘Maybe if you just told him how it happened he would understand …maybe if we told him about Ga...’
Esther placed a finger on his lips as she shook her head and heaved a great sigh.
‘If he knew he wasn’t your natural Father he would never forgive me, he’d probably throw us out immediately…or worse, I just don’t think I could go through all that trauma, anyway,’ she slapped her hands on her thighs and stood up signifying the end of the discussion.
‘He won’t be back before closing time so it would be stupid talking to him tonight, maybe even dangerous, and anyway, it’s way past your bedtime young man, so let’s be getting you ready.’ Thrusting the damp handkerchief into the sleeve of her cardigan she stepped in front of him and gripping the bottom of his sweater drew it carefully up and over his head. As Michael began unbuttoning his shirt Esther reached under the pillow and drew out his pyjamas. Below his shirt a rigid canvas harness, carefully buckled, strained under the tension of his flexing torso.
‘Can I take it off Mom?’ He looked pleadingly at Esther as he plucked at the straps, ‘just for a while.’
Esther smiled as she started to undo the buckles. ‘Can’t do any harm, but just for an hour O.K. we don’t want John coming back and seeing…do we?
Free of the rigid constraint Michael straightened his frame as his wings stiffly unfurled in glorious relief. Michael smiled as Esther walked to the window and opened the curtains to stare wistfully up at the stars.

Reject
June 6th, 2014, 06:08 PM
I didn't see that coming! Well written, leaving me with a hundred questions! I need to know what happens when John comes home!

Cran
June 6th, 2014, 07:24 PM
Something of a sense of deja vu with this one, Ethan - is it an older piece, or influenced by an earlier work?

A couple of spots that might benefit from a re-think:

Michael turned into the corner, - "turned into" describes the sort of improbable metamorphosis that often becomes part of a joke. If the boy's proximity and orientation to the corner are important, then "turned to" or "faced" or similar might work better.


he’d probably disown us immediately…or maybe even worse,If I understand the family relationships here, then disown (in the legal sense) would only apply to the boy, not to his mother. But the bigger issue for me is the probably + maybe - you really only need one of these: eg, he'd probably disown us ... or worse.

Other than those, a well-executed scene or flash piece.

Ethan
June 7th, 2014, 07:17 AM
Thanks for the read and comments guys, Cran I LOL no it's not deja vu, closer to senile dementia, I might have posted this before but I can't remember? Still, it needed a tidy up.
Still laughing as I write this, if I have posted it before please just delete it. Many thanks!

Cran
June 7th, 2014, 02:54 PM
Thanks for the read and comments guys, Cran I LOL no it's not deja vu, closer to senile dementia ...Could be equally true for me; just as likely that it resonated with something I read years ago.

G. L. Argain
June 11th, 2014, 08:01 PM
I don't know why I dislike a story when I feel confused as I read, trying to find an explanation as I trudge on with the text, yet I love finding an element to the story that suddenly makes everything crystal clear. Does that happen to anyone else? Anyway, well done.