by Lina Taylor
it is about a single mum
|Please comment! i would really love to hear it. thanks
“Mummy, today, teacher asked the class a question and everyone didn’t know the answer except me!” I held my son’s hand as he gloated about his day in kindergarten. “The teacher asked what was equals to ten plus two and I said twelve! The teacher praised me in front of the whole class,” he continued. I smiled and said, “Yes dear, very good.” My son, Benjamin, grinned. I smiled again in reply as I led him into the backseat of my car. I secured his seatbelt and headed for the driver’s seat. “Aren’t you proud of me, mummy?” Benjamin asked delightfully. I nodded and said, “Yes dear, I’m very proud.” “Then give me candy! I want candy,” he squealed. I turned around to face him and shook my head, “Now dear, you can’t. Remember what the doctor said…” “Do not eat sweets and brush your teeth often,” we said together but Benjamin continued to plead, “But mawwwmmy! Just one time! Pwetty pwease?” I was just about to reject him when he gave me his puppy-dog-eyes. He was just so adorable that I could not help but sigh and drive to the nearest convenience store. I bought a lollipop for Benjamin. Benjamin was so happy that he hugged me and said, “You’re the best mummy ever! I love you, mummy!” I patted his head. Of course, Benjamin was not always an angel. There were times when he can be such a nuisance but anyhow, he was still my own flesh and blood and I love him no matter what.
As I continued to drive, I saw a couple walking down the pavement. The man had golden spiky hair and blue eyes. He looked like someone I know – my ex-boyfriend, Aaron. Even though, I had not seen Aaron in years, I was quite sure it was him.
I met Aaron when I was sixteen. He was the quarterback of our school football team and I was a cheerleader. We saw each other all the time on the field and it was not long before we started dating. It was said that we were the “perfect couple” and that we were meant to be together. We were popular and even won the statuses Prom King and Queen! Everyone envied us and I felt really lucky to be with him too. He was always so sweet to me, buying me little gifts, saying “I love you” all the time and calling me every minute. He was the perfect boyfriend! But everything changed when we decided to share our love. He made me pregnant and ran away and I never saw him ever again.
Beep! I shook my head into reality and realised I had stopped in the middle of the road to reminisce. Beeeeeeeep! The cars behind me honked again so I quickly drove away. I stopped at the side of the road and got out of the car. I chased after the couple and grabbed Aaron’s shoulder. It was only when he turned around that I realised he was not Aaron. “Aaron” sweared at me, said I was crazy then walked away with his girlfriend. I hung my head down and return to my car in disappointment. I rested my head on the middle of the wheel and just closed my eyes. My mind was in a whirl. I was not thinking about the car honk my chin was pressing on or the surrounding traffic. Somehow all these years, I was hoping he would return to me and we would be one happy family but why was I trying to find the jerk that dumped me in my time of need? Why?
“Mummy?” I was woken up from my thoughts by Benjamin’s voice. “Mummy, can you stop the beeping sound, it’s very noisy! Mummy? Why are you not answering? I want to go home,” he continued. I apologised, lifted my head up and drove to the day-care center which I found through the internet.
When we got into the day-care center, I went up to the nanny and told her that I was leaving Benjamin there from three to eight o’clock everyday from the current day onwards. After that, I squatted down next to where Benjamin was standing and whispered, “Benny dear, this auntie here,” I pointed at the nanny, “will take care of you while I’m gone. Now, be good, dear.” I kissed Benjamin on the cheek and stood up. I tried to walk to the exit but I was held down by something. I looked down and saw Benjamin grabbing my leg and not letting go. He started crying, “Mummy, don’t leave me here! I’ll be good! Don’t leave me here. Don’t go! Please! Mummy!!” I stroked his hair, removed his hands from my leg and nodded at the nanny before walking out of the center. From afar, I still could hear his screams. I could not bear to leave him like that but I had no choice. I had to go back to work as money was tight and the only money coming was from working as a hairdresser in a salon. Before Benjamin went to kindergarten, I always brought him to the salon with me. My boss agreed to let my son stay if he did not create any trouble. When Benjamin was younger, he was an angel and was not a nuisance at all. But as he grew older, he became more rebellious and did not want to stay put in the tiny play corner. He screamed constantly, disturbing both the customers and staff. It was then I knew I had to send him to kindergarten. As kindergarten only took up half the day, I had to keep him busy in a day-care center as well, at least until my work has ended at eight o’ clock everyday six times a week.
“Ring!” That was the sound that was always made when I entered the salon. I greeted my boss and my fellow colleagues and got on to work. After an hour of working, my phone rang. Who could that be? I wondered. I excused myself and went out to answer to phone call. “Hello?” An anxious voice answered, “Miss Watson? This is…Jen, the nanny from the center? I...I…Benjamin…kind of…ran away from the center…” I gasped, “What do you mean Benjamin ran out of the center?!” “Well, I went to…the toilet…and when I came out…the door…was…open and…Benjamin was gone.” “HOW COULD YOU LET SUCH A BIG KID RUN OUT OF YOUR SIGHT???? AND WHY DIDN’T YOU FIND HIM?” I yelled. “I’m…so..ss..sorry, miss… I couldn’t go out to find him because I could not leave the other kids alone in the center that’s why I called you…” I was in shock and had a hard time breathing, I whispered in between gasps of air, “How long have he been gone?” “Just. If you can come straight away, you might be…able…to catch him, miss,” the nanny stammered.
I ran back into the salon, grab my bag and ran out leaving my boss and staff in wonder.
“I should not have left him in the day-care center. I should not have. He must have been so scared…” I cried and collapsed into Jen’s arms. I had been looking for Benjamin for hours but to no avail. I had no one to confide with so I had no choice but to find Jen. I wanted to call the police to report Benjamin missing but they said that I could only do so if he stayed missing for 24 hours but how could I wait for a whole day knowing my one and only son is out there, alone?
I continued looking for Benjamin, going to his favourite places like the playground. I even went round showing a picture of him I always put in my wallet to passer-bys and asking them if they had seen him but nobody had seen him. Another couple of hours flew by and nobody has seen Benjamin -- the boy with golden hair and beautiful, big blue eyes. It was already midnight but I continued looking for him on and on until finally I collapsed on the side of the road.
I woke up in the hospital in a daze. A nurse was aiding me. The first thing I asked her was, “Where is my son? What am I doing here?”
The nurse answered, “You fainted probably out of exhaustion. Luckily, a kind man found you and brought you here and about your son, I don’t know anything about him.”
I screamed, “Of course you don’t! He’s missing. He has been missing since seven o’clock!”
“7pm, yesterday right?”
“What do you mean? How long have I slept?”
The nurse replied cautiously, “About twenty hours.” I was shocked. I was asleep for twenty hours? No, more importantly, my son has been out there alone for almost a day? “I have to find my son now,” I whispered. I got out of the bed and was prepared to run out but the nurse stopped me and told me that I needed to stay in the hospital for further observation. I ignored her and ran out of the ward only to be stopped by a doctor. He repeated what the nurse said, but firmer. I had no choice but to stay for one more day.
I felt so useless lying on the bed and not doing anything to find my son. I felt the urge to do something, something that I could do just lying on this bed. I was thinking and thinking about whom I could ask to help me. Suddenly, I had the strangest idea, it might not be the best idea but I had no choice. In order to save my child, I was going to call my mother.
“Hello?” a gruff voice answered. “Um, may I speak to Clara Watson?” I asked timidly. I heard a sigh at the other end of the line then the voice said, “She has passed away six months ago from a heart attack. This is her husband speaking.” I stopped dead. My mother died? She died and I was not there to say goodbye at her funeral. I felt really guilty and started sobbing. “Hello? May I know who is on the line?” I did not say anything. “I’m hanging up now,” he threatened. “Hi…Dad, it’s …me,” I finally managed to say. I heard a gasp and my father said shockingly, “Tammy? Is that really you?”…
I finally told my parents about my pregnancy a month after I found it out myself. They were in absolute shock and they wanted me to abort the child. I refused and insisted that I keep the child. My father yelled at me and ordered me the abort the child. My mother was playing nice and she advised me to do as my father told me and abort the child as he would affect my studies. I tried to run away but all the attempts were unsuccessful as I knew I was too weak and spoiled to stay out in the streets for more than a day. After weeks of arguments and discussions, my parents finally allowed me to keep the child. They were worried about my studies so I assured them that I would return to school after the baby was born but I lied. I did go back to school after the baby was born but because I had so many distractions from the baby; my grades slowly went down the drain until finally I dropped out of school. My parents were really upset that I broke my promise so we argue, screamed and shouted. One day, I really ran away from home and never returned back since…
I told my father everything about me. I even told him about how sometimes I regretted running away. I should have known why my father told me to abort the child. It was best for me at that time. Even after my parents agreed to let me keep the child, I did not keep my promise by studying hard. Ashamed and afraid, I ran away. I should have thought about my parents’ feelings. I should have thought about my surroundings, instead of running away. Because of my mistakes, I did not have a degree and thus had hard time finding a job. Even so, I had never regretted keeping my child. I told him how I worked at a salon and rented an apartment and most importantly his grandson, Benjamin was missing and I asked him whether he could help me find him while I was still in hospital. He agreed immediately. He went over to the hospital and we had a father-daughter bonding moment. After that, he took the photograph of Benjamin that I always kept in my wallet. He left to photocopy the photograph as he wanted to make notices and paste them around the city. After he left, I called the police to file a report on my missing son. Everything was done in two hours tops. I lied on the bed slightly consoled that there were people out there finding my son and soon I fell asleep.
I dreamt that Benjamin was in trouble and woke up immediately to hear my cell phone ringing.
I requested to go out of the hospital into the gardens to answer the phone call. I answered the call but all I heard was deep breathing, sobbing and then a whisper saying, “I’m scared…big scary bus…” then the line was cut off. This time I could not wait patiently on the ward bed anymore, I changed my clothes, paid the hospital fees then ran out before anyone could stop me.
Night had already fallen. I checked my watched and realised that it was already close to midnight and that I had been asleep for a couple of hours. I wanted to slap myself for sleeping so much. I ran to the nearest police station and reported what I just heard on the phone. The investigators said that all the buses had already stopped roaming around and had already returned to their stations. Possibly, Benjamin is trapped in a bus. The police said they would track where the phone call was made.
Meanwhile, I hopped into a police car and the police drove me to the nearest bus interchange. There, we looked through the window of every bus for a sign of Benjamin. I took a torch light and shine through every window while calling Benjamin’s name. Finally, after an hour of searching, a police found something in a particular bus. We all ran to that bus and peered through the glass. There I saw my boy lying on one of the seats crying. We broke into the bus and I ran towards Benjamin. He was all hot and sweaty. I carried him up and swung him about. I was so relieved that I kissed him on his forehead and stroked his hair. I also called my father to tell him that I had found Benjamin. I was really happy that Benjamin was safe and sound but a few questions still lingered in my mind. I asked Benjamin, “Why did you run away? How did you call me?” He said, “I wanted to find you because you left me so I sneaked into this bus, trying to find you…Someone… dropped his phone under one of the backseats. I saw your number on this weird card…” “Benny! Mummy would never leave you. Why would you think that. Mummy just went to work. Oh and about that card…I gave you that name card in case you got lost. I guess it came to good use after all and you are so lucky to pick up a phone!” I paused, “You must always remember that mummy loves you, Benjamin and mummy is always here for you.” Benjamin smiled…
“Hey, dad! Dinner’s ready! I made your favourite fish pie for dinner!” I shouted. My father came out of the room and sat at the dining table. “Mmm, smells nice,” he complimented. “Not as nice as how you cook it,” I said. “Aw, thank you! thank you. I know my cooking is superior. You don’t have to tell me,” he boasted. We dug in. “Dad, I’m really glad that you let me move in with you,” I said. “Yes, I’m glad too,” he smiled. “Urgh, stop this mushy talk and eat,” Benjamin huffed. Everyone laughed.