Anthony asked if I wanted to go and stay at their house after we left the prison.    But I decided to go home instead… I just wanted to be on my own.

It was a bad decision.

Anthony dropped me off after checking I was OK.  I told him I was, but I honestly don’t know if I am.  I waved him goodbye as he drove off and let myself into our house.

I was about to go up to my bedroom and lock the door, when me ma bounced out of the living room and stood in front of me, shouting.  ‘Who the f&ck was that!?’ She screamed.   She’d be drinking.

‘Who was what?’  I said, my heart racing.

‘Don’t f&ckin’  lie to me!  I saw you get out of the car!  Who is that fella?  Have you been grassing me up to social services?’

‘No’ I screamed.

‘You’re lying!’

‘I’m not!’ I tried to walk past her to the stairs.  I could see that she was smashed, and that there was no point in having a screaming match.. she wouldn’t remember tomorrow anyway.  She grabbed my arm and swung me round.

‘Tell me who it was in the car!  You’ve grassed me up haven’t you!’

‘No!  It was my mate’.

‘You’re a lying little bastard!  You’ve grassed me up.. my own son! You’re a dirty, lying little bastard!’ She screamed in my face.

I felt so mad… I wanted to cry and scream at the same time.  I snapped ‘It was my mate!  He took my to see me dad in prison!’  That shut her up.  She stared at me like she didn’t believe me… her face all screwed up like an old woman.

‘You didn’t!’ she said it like she hated me.

‘I did!  He might be a murderer, but I still thought he’d be a better dad to me than you are a mother!’.

I didn’t feel the slap across my face – it was too quick.  I just felt my head smash against the wall as I fell sideways.   I laid on the floor by the stairs, surprised that the bang hadn’t knocked me out.  She was still screaming over me.

‘You scheming little bastard!   After all I’ve done for you – and this is what you do!’  She staggered away back into the living room – probably looking for the whiskey bottle.

I wondered if she’d meant to hit me that hard.  I sat up and felt my head; there was  a lump the size of mount Etna, but no blood.   But as a stood up, there was a metallic taste in my  mouth.   I put my hand to my face and realised there was blood.

In the bathroom upstairs, I stared at myself in the mirror, holding my mouth open with my hand.  I could hardly see my teeth for all the blood.   After a good five minutes of close inspection, I could see that not only had my tooth gone through my gum, but when I wiggled the tooth, it actually came out in my fingers.   There I was, standing, looking a state in the mirror, holding my tooth in my hand.

I clenched my teeth and tried to smile.  The big black gap wasn’t too bad if I just ‘half’ smiled.  Penny Salerno would never fancy me without teeth.

I suddenly felt sick… really sick.   It was lucky the toilet was in the same room, because I puked my guts up, along with the tooth next to the one I still had in my fingers.

I needed to lie down… so I staggered to my room and passed out on the bed to dream weirdly realistic dreams of Caribbean Islands.  I was swimming in this dead clear water with all little tiny tropical fish around me.   And when I looked to shoreI could see Penny Salerno sitting on the beach waving to me.  I was waving back.. and she was smiling.  She was gorgeous.   But then she stood up and started shouting and screaming to me… I couldn’t hear what she was saying.

I looked down into the water, but I couldn’t see the fish anymore, just red… the water was red, like blood.  The sea was red.    And then I turned to see what Penny was pointing at on the water… There was a body… floating face down.  I started screaming, and it was floating dead close to me.  It was then I realised it was me ma!    Floating, dead on the water.  I started crying… screaming, wanting to help her.. but the pressure of the water wouldn’t let me close enough.

It was too late.

The Dream... The nightmare - Photo by Jilly Gardiner

  1. jen says:

    Tommy, I’m not sure what a ‘grass’ is, but your Mom is being a cunt. Do you have a social worker? I hope you do, and I hope someone notices what your Mom has done to you and holds her accountable.

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