Without Wings – Chapter 2 – WIP
wrote this as the first part, but realised there is more to come before it, so apologies. This is the second part. There is some strong language.
Problems with a teenage daughter begin to escalate.
The screams from upstairs resonate through the house. “Hurry up, I gotta get ready for school, your taking ages in there,” she shouts outside the bathroom door.
“I’m on the loo” yells her younger sister.
“Well hurry up I haven’t got all day. I’m gonna be late, shift your arse.”
“Yeah…whatever. Ohhh decided to go today did you?”
“I swear to god if you make me late I’m gonna slap you.”
“Mum, Angel’s having a go at me again.”
“Will you two stop it please and just get ready for school. Can’t we just have one morning without any arguments?” I shout up the stairs while rushing in the other room to get my son socks.
Raised voices continue in the bedrooms while I’m putting sandwiches, snacks and drinks in three lots of different themed school bags.
I switch off mentally, flick the switch on the kettle and look at the clock. It’s 8am on the dot. Coffee time will be soon.
“M-U-M, she’s used my straighteners and she didn’t ask!”
I breathe deeply. Here we go again.
“Mine broke so I used hers, no big deal.” Angel snapped.
“Yeah but if I use yours you have a bitch fit.” her sister shouted down the stairs.
The bathroom door opens. I hear my daughter say something but don’t catch the words. The younger daughter screams and the bathroom door slams shut.
“Mum, she pulled my hair.”
“Can you stop fighting! Please don’t pull your sister’s hair, there’s no need for that.”
The chain flushes. The bathroom door opens and Angel runs down the stairs, shoving something in her bag.
“Whatever!” yells Angel my fifteen-year-old, she stomps out the door and slams it behind her.
The door slams. I sigh with relief. She’s gone.
Five minutes later I usher her three siblings out the door. The eldest is waiting on the pavement opposite our house waving her arms around. Her sister follows and fiddles with her bobble in her hair, while their brother slowly walks down the steps dragging his bag behind him.
“Hurry up, you lot, you’ll miss breakfast club if you don’t get a move on.” I shout.
“Bye. Love you.” shouts my youngest daughter and waves.
I wave back.
The youngest of the three turns around, gives a cheeky grin and gives me a thumbs up.
I laugh and mirror his action. He runs off.
They all give one last wave before they disappear down the lane one by one.
I go in and close the door. Coffee time. I peek into the makeshift bedroom that used to be our dining room. Our youngest child, number nine was still sleeping in his toddler bed. I wake him up, give him a bottle and take out his night catheter. He has problems with his kidneys and has an over large bladder, so he has to be drained of urine throughout the night, which collects in a bag. When he finishes I get him dressed and ready for school. We wait in the doorway and he watches for the bus from his wheelchair. That’s the last one off to school.
I make a coffee and go outside. The gravel crunches underneath my feet as I make my way to the wooden love seats. I put my phone on the table, take a cigarette out of the packet and light it. There is still a nip in the air and I wrap my dressing gown around me a little tighter.
The birds chirp and hop around the garden. I smile and watch. Distant chatter on the footpath float across to our semi-detached three houses to the right.
Weekday Summer mornings were bliss. I sit down looking at our son’s memorial garden. White roses cascade bending the stems that have multiplied over eleven years. They stand out against the red cedar fence. The stone angel sits in the middle of the red bark and a slate plaque etched with a blue Teddy bear that says ‘Ben’s garden’ rests upon it. Other small ornaments are dotted around. The windmill blows slowly. I get up and walk over and pull up some of the weeds that have pushed through the bark and toss them onto the path. I sigh deeply and feel my eyes fill up. I blink them away, but one tear slides down my cheek. I sniff and brush it away.
“I miss you so much.” I croak trying to catch my breath.
I turn away to face the back of the house and take a drag of my cigarette, then drop it onto the path and crush it underneath my slipper. The seventeen years have gone quick, but emotionally I’m still raw, unforgiving and grieving.
My phone rings. My husband’s number shows on the screen.
“Hello love. How’s things?”
“Hi. Yeah, okay thanks. How’s work?” I ask.
“Same as always, busy, but having five minutes. Did she go to school?”
“Yes! and she didn’t argue about going.”
“That’s a first. So she hasn’t kicked off again?”
“No, but she did pull Toyah’s hair because she took too long in the bathroom.”
“Oh for god’s sake. She should know better. She’s four years older than her.”
“I did say something, but you know what she is like. Only hears what she wants to. She never listens to me.”
“I know love. I will have a word with her when I get home from work. I hope after sending those text messages to Becca and all the trouble she got into she will calm down for a while.”
“I hope so too. I’m not sure how much more I can take, if I’m honest.” It’s been a lot to deal with, especially with refusing to go to school and…” I sigh.
“Hang on a minute love. Sorry.” My husband says and shouts instructions to one of his work mates. “Sorry love. I gotta go I have lorries lined up to load. Any problems give me a ring.”
“Okay honey. I will. Love you.”
“Love you too.” He replies. I hear him shouting again at one of his colleagues before I end the call.
My husband’s words played over in my mind. “I hope she will calm down for a while.”
I hoped so too. Teens weren’t easy, but not even our eldest, now in her twenties and the two remaining teens we had had not been as hard to deal with as Angel. She was in a league of her own. She had her own rules and abided by them and no one else’s. The last four years had been tough, the first two of those were spent in and out of hospital with our special needs son, with minor operations, but nothing compared to the stress that our teen drama queen put us through…mainly me. Sometimes it was relief to go into hospital. A break.
The next two hours I spent doing housework and pottering around the garden. The house phone rang several times. Each time I had to stop what I was doing and come in. One asked if I wanted to swap my gas and electric supplier. Another asked if I would be interested in double glazing windows and doors. The third asked if I had time to do a survey. I cursed under my breath as I heard the static tone on the other end and put the phone back in the charging cradle.
I hit the ground hard with the shovel. My frustration and annoyance subsided slightly with each blow to the earth. I wiped the sweat of my brow and above my lip with the side of my hand. At least it would be Friday tomorrow and I could relax with a few cans of lager when the children were in bed or open a can an hour before they went to bed. My husband would be working his first night shift. So another weekend on my own. I lit up a cigarette and sat down on the love seat, as my work trousers touched the wood, the phone rang. I sighed heavily.
“Oh for God’s sake. Is there no peace?” I got back up and walked into the lounge.
“Hello Mrs Jenkins. It’s Lowri Roberts from Bethryn Comprehensive. I’m sorry to bother you, but I need to speak to you about Angel.”
My heart sank like a brick in my stomach. Oh now what’s happened? What has she done?
“Oh hello Mrs Roberts. Is there anything wrong?”
“Well, sort of. Umm I have just had one of Angel’s friends come to my office and tell me that she is worried about her.” She paused. “The friend said that Angel told her that she had a knife in her bag. She didn’t believe her, so Angel showed her to prove it. The knife is from home, a small kitchen knife.”
Knife! she has a knife. She’s taken a knife to school. What the fuck is going on.
The word kept spinning around in my head and I tried to process it as quickly as I could before any words came out of my mouth. There was a few seconds silence.
“Hello, Mrs Jenkins?”
“Hello. I’m here. I’m sorry your words are still sinking in. I’m stunned. Why would she take a knife to school? I had no idea, obviously.”
“I didn’t think you would. Her friend asked her and Angel said because she wanted to and because she could.”
I stood there speechless. What the hell was going through her head?
“I’m so sorry Mrs Roberts. I’m stunned really. I’m not quite sure what to say. I…”
Mrs Roberts cut me short. “I have spoken to Angel and told her that is not acceptable. She cannot fetch things like that into school. They are classed as weapons. Please, can you have a word with her when she gets home and if you can check her bag before she leaves the house every morning.” her tone was the serious I had heard her in the last few months we had been communicating.
“Yes, of course. Leave it with me. I will chat to her when she comes home. I don’t know what has got into her lately. Her dad is not going to be at all pleased when I tell him. I apologise for her behaviour, it is certainly not acceptable.”
“We have a school counsellor here. Do you think it would help? Would she come to see her?”
“I don’t know. You understand the problems we are having at the moment and have had in the past. I have asked her before to get counselling, but she refuses point-blank.”
“Maybe you could ask her? We are always here ready to help our students.”
“Yes, of course, I will.”
“Thank you, Mrs Jenkins. I would really appreciate that. Please if you have any problems or concerns don’t hesitate to ring me to discuss things.”
“I won’t, thank you very much.”
“Bye, Mrs Roberts. I will be in touch. Thank you.”
A Knife! I checked the kitchen drawer and pulled out all the knives.
Where was it? It wasn’t there. I’d washed it. It would be on the draining board. You silly cow. She wouldn’t take one from here, would she?
It wasn’t on the stainless steel sink. I checked the worktops, moved the coffee, tea and sugar canisters, the bread bin, the kettle. Nothing. I pulled the cutlery organiser out of the draw. Empty. My small, sharp brown handled knife was missing.
I felt stunned. How could she be so bloody stupid to take a knife to school? What had gone through her mind to do this? Why? Did she plan on using it? Was it just to act cool in front of others or to threaten those she said were bullying her?
Too many questions swirled around my head. Things were getting out of hand. I had felt the build up and could see it coming slowly. A few questioned me in their own minds, I could tell. I sensed it. Could it be her depression? Was she a drama queen? Was she looking for attention? Was she over exaggerating? I always felt as if I wasn’t fully believed. I felt my friends sometimes silently questioned my words, my husband too. What do you do when you feel that no one believes you….not fully. What do you do when they think it’s YOU and not HER?
Where do you stand? How can you prove it’s not all in your head?
I refuse to cry again. I pick up the phone and dial my husband’s number.
“Hey, love. You alright?”
“Hi and umm no not really…”
“Why what’s wrong? What’s happened now?”
“I’ve just had a phone call off Lowri Roberts, Angel’s head of year.”
“Oh right. What’s she done now?”
“You’re not gonna believe this, but she took one of our kitchen knives to school!”
There were a few seconds of silence. I could hear him breathe deeply a couple of times on the other end of the phone.
“What? Are you fucking serious?”
“Yes. Deadly serious.”
“Why the fuck did she do that? A knife! To school? For fuck’s sake. Doesn’t she ever learn?”
I cringed, but it was the response I expected. My husband wasn’t one to mince his words and beat around the bush. I knew he would be fuming. I hoped he would really put his foot down this time. Sometimes he would give in briefly.
“Wait til I get home. She’s gonna have a right bollocking.”
I hope you stick to your words.
“I know honey! And she deserves it. I don’t know what the hell has got into her lately. Whatever I say she ignores. I’m always the bad one. I can’t do any right in her eyes.”
“It’s okay love. I will have a word with her when I get in. What knife did she take?”
“Mrs Roberts said a small sharp brown handled knife.”
“Is it ours? Have you checked?”
“Yes, it’s ours. I have turned the kitchen upside down. We only have one sharp knife in the house, that one. The other one I use doesn’t look sharp and has a round head tip, but its great for peeling the potatoes.”
“How did they know?”
I explained the conversation and repeated Mrs Roberts words. His silence lasted a few second longer than mine had when I had been on the phone to the head of year. We both ranted and let out our anger and frustration to each other for forty minutes before he had to go on break and said our goodbyes.
I watched the clock. It seemed to be getting quicker. Sometimes I hated home time when school finished. Sounds bad doesn’t it, but I knew what was to come and I was alone.
The bang on the door sounded as if my glass would shatter. The dogs bark. I got my keys and ushered my three Staffordshire bull terriers into the lounge and unlocked the door. Her eyes raged. Her make up perfect, flawless, beautiful on the outside. She slammed the door and thudded up the stairs without looking at me.
“I know. You had a phone call off Mrs Roberts. Stupid bitch. It’s the last time I trust Becca again. The little fucking snitch.”
“Angel, we need to talk and that’s enough of the language.” I paused. “Why did you take a knife to school? A knife are you nuts? It’s so dangerous. You’re fifteen, you know right from wrong. What the hell were you thinking of taking it to school?”
“I dunno. I wanted to…because…”
“Because what?” I replied. I could feel my anger bubbling beneath the surface.
“Because I fucking felt like. You don’t do shit about the bullying and neither does the school.”
“Dad and I have spoken to the school, about the bullying and asked them to sort things out. To move you away from those girls.”
“Well, the school do shit. And you are as useless as them! You don’t care.”
“That’s bull and you know it.” She slammed the bedroom door and I felt the house shake.
The bus beeped outside and my son’s bus was outside. This would keep, but I knew it wouldn’t be the end of it…far from it.