His mum had been tearful and concerned but also he had detected some relief. Peter acknowledged his guilt. He had known even as he was doing it that he was causing her anxiety and she didn’t have the capacity for any more trouble in her life. Dad was drunk and despairing since he lost his job. The bills were piling up and it was all just work and worry for her. On top of that him bunking off school and roaming around with Big Jake and the other low life’s had been too much for her to handle. She had tried occasionally to advise and reason with him but it had never gone anywhere other than to cause yet another shouting match and more tears for her.
“I’ll come back and see you in a week or two Mum. When I have a better idea of what I’m going to be doing. In the meantime don’t worry, I’ll ring you when I can and so on.” She nodded her head, little worry lines creased her forehead it was impossible to dredge up a smile.
“Bye then Mum, and I’m sorry, you know for all the crap.” They hugged and he left with his backpack, his laptop and his guilt.
“Phil, who else is staying there?”
“Last night I heard a door closing, who else is in the house.?”
“It would be better all round if you just take things as they come Peter. You have an opportunity here to put your life back on track and even more than that to do well. Don’t worry about other stuff.”
“No, that’s not an answer, that’s bullshit. If there’s someone else in the house then it makes sense that I’m going to meet them, see them. I only want to know who it is.” …
The birds were singing in the trees outside the window, the sun was low in the sky. Long shadows drew imitation furniture on the carpet.
Sitting up and rubbing at scratchy eyes Peter tried to regain his bearings. He was in the house with Mum. Now he was back here. What the hell?” The smell of cooking wafted up the stairs and sneaked under his door.
“Phil, what the hell is going on, what time is it.”
“Ah there you are sleepy. Do you feel better, you must have been absolutely whacked. You fell asleep in the car on the way back. You didn’t really waken up as I dragged you upstairs. Did you have a good sleep I’ll bet you did.”
“No, no just a minute. That won’t cut it again. I didn’t fall asleep in the car, I know I didn’t. What is going on. Do you know what I think I’m going to change my mind, there’s something going on here that’s not right. I’m outta here, thanks but no thanks and all that.”
“Sorry Peter that can’t happen I’m afraid. We are pretty well committed to this course now and you’re in it for the long haul.”
“No, sorry no that’s not right. I’m off.” He stormed out of the kitchen and up to his room. Mad as he was he wasn’t leaving his laptop and the other few things that he had here. He threw the few bits into a bag and jumped the stairs two at a time.
The huge front door was heavier than he had imagined. He turned the handle and pulled, it didn’t open. After trying once or twice he put down the bag and used both hands still the great door was well and truly closed.
“Peter.” He turned. Phil stood in the kitchen doorway a large key held before him a sad and sympathetic look on his face. “I’m sorry lad I really am.”