Peter was lying on the bed
and staring at a large damp patch on the ceiling. It was
not his bed or his bedroom; he was in his Nan house. His,
was just four houses away but he knew that he would never
see it again, let alone his bedroom. From outside the noise
of children playing in the playground made his feeling even
worst. Since That day every one had behaved strangely, and
even Billy his best friend, looked at him funny. There were
lots of whispering when he was not around; - Did he cry?
- Did he say anything? – How is he at school? –
Does he play?
‘He is in shock’ his Nan kept saying, ‘He
needs time’. Peter remembered his father to say angrily
to him whenever he had cried. ‘You are a man, Pete
and a man doesn’t cry, does he?’ But now his
dad was away forever and Peter was glad that he doesn’t
have to see him ever again.
The newspapers called him the butcher of 10 Darling Street
because in frenzy, he had stabbed Peter’s mother 30
times. Although he couldn’t recall the all event,
the headlines and his friends at school made sure he knew
every details of the murder.
It was a very important day, because that day Billy asked
him to stay at his house for the night. He had run home
to ask his mother but when he stepped into the kitchen and
looked at her, he saw she was in trouble. So, he said nothing,
made himself his tea and sate opposite her. She looked awful
her blond hair was lifeless and her eyes were puffy and
red. He could see she has been crying, but then she had
done a lot of it since Laura’s death just over a year
ago. Although she had been eight and younger than him he
had loved her. She had been funny and a real tomboy who
would have done any thing for him.
Nan said God took her away and his mother said it was meningitis.
But who ever took her away took not only the life out of
his mother but Peter joie de vivre. Sleeping tablets had
become his mother new comfort and a way of living. As for
his father his temper, his drinking and his mood worsen.
He went on working at the factory, followed by long stops
at the local pub and although he had promised to give up,
he went on betting.
On the sink were two days of dirty dishes and on the floor
next to the patio door, weeks of soiled laundry. In fact
the house looked like her now, unkempt, unloved and abandon.
Staring at her cup of tea she said, “Pete! Your father
is coming back early today because….” looking
for her words she went on, ‘because… he lost
his job, and …and…’ Tears were showing
just at the corner of her eyes. Peter jump out of his chair
and rushed to her. ‘ Mum, don’t cry! Please
don’t cry! It will…’ But at that moment
the front door slammed and in a second his father was in
‘Bloody hell! Look at you both!’ he yelled,
‘Sitting and drinking tea!’ His face was red
and his eyes looked foggy as if he had hard time to focus.
‘Useless! That s what you are, f**** useless!’
By then his face was close to Peter’s and with it
came the odour of beer. Was it because Peter put his hands
on his mother’s shoulder, or because he started to
‘Dad, we were saying….’ but at that moment
he went for Peter and grabbed him by his school uniform
‘You F*** little brat, who ask you to say anything!
Get out!’ he shouted and with all his strength threw
Peter a cross the room.
As he landed on the corner of the dresser he felt a sharp
pain on the left side of his temple and then black out.
He never saw the killing and the 30 knife wounds the news
paper was talking about, he only remember waking up alone
next to his mother. She was lying on the kitchen floor with
a lot of blood around her and for a while he thought his
parents had a fight with tomatoes ketchup. He never saw
so much of it and he knew that he would always remember
the smell - sour and sweet - something he didn’t like.
He never screamed or cried he just walked outside; his school
uniform covered of blood and rang the next-door neighbour’s
Long after, when he asked about his father, he was told
that he went mad and lost it. But Peter couldn’t understand
what they meant by – lost it - the only thing he knew
was that he had lost his mother and that made him made.
So he never asked and nobody mentioned him again.
Now he was waiting for his future. The social services were
looking for foster parents because his Nan said she was
too old to look after 10 years old. ‘It would be unfair
on the boy’. She kept saying. She was right, thought
Peter because she was far too happy in her widow life. Although
she had done some odd baby sittings for her daughter, she
never went out of her way for him or even Laura.
They had also written two letters to his aunt Jessica who
lives in America but as far as he knew his Nan never mentioned
any replies from her.
It was a year ago when he last saw her. She had staid two
nights with them after Laura’s death and even his
dad has been nice. Whenever he though about aunt Jessica
warmth, smell of roses and laughter came to him.
‘Don’t forget’ she had said to his mother
before she left, ‘you can always send me Peter if
you can’t cope’. So, why didn’t she reply
to his Nan’s letters? Maybe she changed her mind;
maybe she doesn’t want him any more.
It was by now dark in the bedroom and Peter didn’t
bother to turn the sidelight. The playground was quite and
the only sound he could hear was coming from the kitchen
below. Earlier the doorbell and voices had told him that
the social worker and the child psychiatrist had arrived.
He had seen her many time and like her. He wished he could
please her and answer all her questions - how does he sleep?
- Has he having any nightmares? - When was the last time
he remember his mother? But the only thing he could do was
staring at his shoes.
It was just when he decided to get up that he heard someone
climbing the stairs. He sighed, sate and waited. No one
knocked but the door open slowly and then aunt Jessica step
‘Hey my little prince! Did you miss me?’ She
said softly, and with her came that smell of roses.
Peter stared at her, as she was a ghost. No word came out,
he just stared, then with a deep pain, his heart broke and
a strange sound from his throat came out and with it all
the tears he had kept for so long. Jessica rushed to him,
took him in her arm and cradled him like a little baby.
‘Hush! Hush! My little one, you are going home with
me.’ She said and took his face in her hands and kissed
his wet cheeks.
By Agnes McMillan