Back home with the family.
|Sammy is giving Tom his breakfast, just as she does every morning before school. The only difference today from any other, is that she has an exhausted expression as she sits down to eat her porridge. It looks as though she hasn't slept.
I'd give anything to be able to speak to her, to hold her. Or to be able to talk to Tom, ask him how school is; all the things I'd taken for granted until now. Sammy is so beautiful, even without makeup and when she's run down. She has long blonde hair, joyous blue eyes and a smile that can melt my heart. Marrying her was the best thing that ever happened to me, and the day I met Tom, of course.
I sit down in my chair, willing myself to be seen by the two most important people in my life. It doesn't work.
'Where did you say dad is again?' Tom says this with a mouth full of Weetabix.
'He's at work,' replies Sammy. 'And don't talk with your mouth full, please.
Sammy takes a sip from her mug of coffee. Her eyes look tired.
'Will he be home tonight?'
'He always is, Tom,' she replies. 'Now hurry up and eat your Weetabix, or you'll be late for school.'
'I'm right here,' I say, knowing they can't hear me, but willing them to.
Tom's a good looking blonde lad who has all the girls eating out out of his hand. He finishes his Weetabix and washes his bowl in the sink. I watch as he walks out of the kitchen and upstairs to his room. I stay in the kitchen with Sammy.
'Where are you, Matt?' She says softly out loud.
'I'm here with you, baby,' I reply, placing my hand on hers.
It seems that I can not interact with her or Tom. She doesn't shiver when I'm near and can't feel my presence. I only wish she could, just once, so that she knows I'm watching over her and Tom. If I could speak to her I'd tell her that everything is going to be ok, that she'll be set up for life with my life assurance cover. And I'd tell her about the seven-hundred-and-fifty-thousand I have stashed under the shed at the bottom of the garden. But I can't; all I can do is watch over them and it only makes me more angry.
Tom runs down the stairs, shouts goodbye and leaves. I don't remember him ever being that fond of school, but running there? I look into Sammy's bloodshot eyes and decide to walk with Tom to school. This is a chance to find out what he really gets up to; it's a chance no other father will get.
I blink and I'm walking by his side. It feels dream like; one second I'm one place and the next I'm some where else. It's disorientating.
Tom's wearing a black puffa jacket, light blue shirt under a dark blue jumper and grey trousers above black suede shoes. His ruck sack is on his back and he's reading a text on his iphone as he walks. I don't know how he does it; I can't. It dawns on me again that I'm dead. Rage grows inside me.
Tom sent his text and slid his phone in his side puffa jacket pocket. Jimbo, his best friend since he was five would meet him in a minute and had promised him a surprise. He shivered and ducked further inside his coat; it was almost freezing, which was unusual for mid November, but each winter seemed to get colder and earlier. He stopped outside a convenience store at the corner of his road and waited for Jimbo.
'Hey, Tom, check this out,' said Jimbo, his tall and thin best friend.
Jimbo was the year 10 stud, who had all the girls hankering after him. He had dark spiky hair and a boy band pretty boy face, with a smile that made the girls in his year and above swoon.
'What ya got?' Tom studied his friend's extra bag. It looked like a laptop bag.
'Oh, only an ipad 2,' said Jimbo with a mischievous grin.
'No way! How'd ya get it?' He studied the machine when Jimbo took it out of its case.
'My brother gave it to me,' answered Jimbo. 'He can get ya one, if ya want?'
Tom couldn't believe his friend could. 'Yeah, right,'
'Seriously, Tom, I'm going with him tonight,' said Jimbo. 'He's asked if ya wanna come along.'
Jimbo hurriedly put his toy away and beckoned for Tom to join him in walking.
'This isn't another one of your brother's stupid ideas, is it?'
Jimbo pulled him inside a side street between two shops. His serious face worried Tom.
'Promise ya won't say anything to any one,' said Jimbo. 'Promise me, before I tell you.'
Tom hesitated. 'What's all this about, Jimbo?'
'I can't say until ya promise.'
He didn't like the sound of it already, but couldn't say no. He had to promise.
'Ok, my brother's been casing a house he knows is loaded,' started Jimbo. 'He's been stakin' this place out for two weeks with his mates and the owners went away on Monday. They're goin' in tonight, Tom. Nick's asked me if I wanna come and I said ok. I want ya to come with me, mate.'
Tom looked away from his friend and lowered his stare. Burglary? Where did Jimbo's brother get these stupid ideas from? It could only lead to trouble. What would his dad say? Or what would he do in this position?
'Come on, Tom, say you'll do it.'
'I can't, Jimbo. Burglary's not my thing, mate,' replied Tom. 'If we get caught, my mum and dad'll kill me.'
'Come on, Tom,' pleaded Jimbo. 'When's that stopped you before? Remember when we set that field alight, all those hay barrels? Come on!'
'It's a bit different. We're talkin' about breakin' and enterin'.'
Jimbo took a step back and gave Tom an undisguised look of disappointment.
'Just think about it, yeah?'
I couldn't believe what I was hearing. My twelve year old son thinking about burgling a house? I knew he needed guidance; I just didn't know how much. I've known Jimbo since he was five years old and he always used to be a lovely kid. He'd been the brother that Sammy and I could never give him. Jimbo always had the girls over him, or so Sammy told me on many occasions, but so did Tom. He's his father's son.