NB: This post contains inappropriate and offensive language.
I spent the majority of the evening sat on the carpet amongst shards of glass and splinters of wood holding my boy who was crying like his heart had broken. It was like handling a gigantic toddler that had just had a major strop and was now beaten with raw emotion. He refused to let me leave his side, clinging on to me like I was his only safety net and blocking any form of exit. He didn’t want to talk; just cry. Every now and then, when thoughts played through his mind, he would violently thump the chair at the side of him with such force his knuckles bled.
“ I hate him, I want him to leave.” His words were broken with the gruffness of strained vocal chords.
“Shhh.” I whispered “This has to stop. You have got to learn how to speak to people, particularly adults. You can’t just go at people when you feel like it.”
He pushed me away abruptly and began to sob violently into his hands. “Why are you on HIS side? What the fuck Mum?”
“ I’m not on anyone’s side. I don’t agree with how either of you behaved.” I pulled him back to my arms.
Of course he was my main priority and the one I wanted to protect but if I voiced that he would see it as a green light to kick off whenever he felt like it. My job was to help him fit into the social norm so he could be accepted and not pushed away by others. He had to find a way because the world was not going to change for him.
“ I want the router back. Get it from him. He shouldn’t just take stuff away. He’s a bad parent and I hate him.”
“ No, he’s not. He loves you. I’ll see what I can do about the router but no promises” I soothed. “ Go to bed, get some rest.”
“Get it back, I mean it.” He lifted himself from the carpet, his t shirt ripped from the brawl and raised, angry scratch marks down his arm. I winced at the sight of my child in this state.
As he lumped himself upstairs I went into the lounge where Karl was sitting watching the news. His face was tight and his stare way beyond the physical being of the newsreader represented on TV. He was in another place and I knew he found it unbearable. God knows I did.
“We need to talk about this.” I sat on the edge of the sofa and clasped my hands in my lap waiting for him to reply.
“ Not now, I’m really not in the mood.” he quipped.
“ Neither am I but we can’t go on like this. I can’t have you both fighting like that, its horrendous. It scares me and it scares Bryony - she was in tears.”
“ Please, you need to walk away from it and not react, I know it’s hard but coming back at him just provokes the situation not help it. You are the grown up remember.”
“ Right now I couldn’t give a flying fuck about who the adult is,” he spat “ He uses Aspergers as a fucking excuse and it’s not. I want him out of this house. I cant live like this anymore. He goes or I do.” He finished.
Clearly now wasn’t the right time. Despite earlier events neither one appeared to have got rid of their ‘ego humungous’. But when was the right time? Deal with it or die by it.
“I get it. I know it’s difficult not to react but what happened earlier isn’t going to work. Your son hates you, he believes you hate him, he’s got scratches on his arm...”
“Yeah where I was holding him by his shirt when he threw himself to the ground. I didn’t hurt him Sophie, is that what you think? I just STOPPED him from pushing his weight around.”
“ Whatever. It’s still not right.” I continued “ And he wants the router back. You should have warned him before you just took it away. That’s what we’ve been told to do.”
“I dont CARE what we’ve been told to do by these psycho babbling, hippy-fied, do-gooders who have NO comprehension of what we live with everyday. That child needs to get a grip and learn to respect the rules of this house or get out.”
He snatched the remote and killed the newsreader mid sentence. I waited like a berated child, wondering if he was still going to talk or not. He threw the TV control on the sofa and without even looking at me said “I’m going to bed” and left the room.
I felt depleted, angry and useless. I didn’t cry very often but the sobs forced their way out of me like exorcised demons. I stayed, head in hands, until they finally abated.
On the day Karl left he stood on the threshold like a man torn in half. A man on the crossroads of choice; neither being a road he wished to travel down. Though tall and stocky he appeared a weak and shattered resemblance of his former self. I didn’t believe he would actually go but the fighting and the strain of our day to day life had triumphed over any shred of love that was left.
“ I’ll miss you and I’ll always love you.” He whispered. As his eyes looked up from his bent head they were filled with tears.
I gripped the Victorian radiator in the hallway, hoping that the heat burning through the enamel would somehow deaden the sickening pain that was threatening to engulf my entire being.
“I know.” I whispered. “I know.”