Charlie’s heart felt bigger than his body, and he was sure it beat loud enough for everyone to hear. He had to find her. He was hurt but daren’t look down at his knee, frightened at what he might find, and to make things worse, he needed to wee. Without care or embarrassment he clutched tightly at his shorts. He was bewildered by the bright lights and no matter where he wandered, he only found himself further stranded in unfamiliar surroundings. No one noticed him. His tiny bladder throbbed and pulsed aggravated by nerves. He began to whimper, not sure what he would do next. I can’t do this he thought when suddenly his hand was clasped with callous familiarity.
“I told you to stay with me” The blonde haired lady cursed as she dragged him along. Charlie’s relief was hampered by his attempt to not wee and he clutched at himself harder as he hopped awkwardly beside his mother. Unable to keep up, she scooped him into her arms. “Don’t you dare wee until we get there. For God’s sake Charlie, I can’t even do the shopping without you making a scene.”
“M…my knee” He managed. His mother looked down at the fresh scrape that had teases of blood in the grooves of the graze.
“Oh Christ, it’s nothing.” The four year old threw one arm around her neck, putting his moist face into the reluctant crook of her neck. He clung tightly, to the perfumed skin that was his world, afraid that if he didn’t concentrate hard enough, he would lose everything.
“Won’t you be late?” Jess asked her husband as he contemplated the Columbian blend whilst standing at the breakfast bar. Alex’s eyes flitted from the clock to the empty driveway, distracted momentarily by Jess who was nibbling at a slice of toast that Alex could have devoured in three bites.
“Mornings are slow.” He leant down and kissed Jess on her temple. “What are you doing today?”
“Shopping I suppose…” Jess pulled the dressing gown around her and was about to speak when Alex swiftly put down his cup and headed to the door in a flurry of parting phrases.
“Okay great, you have a good day, love you, see you tonight.” And he was gone, buoyantly down the driveway where he met the postman with a smile and offered to save him the journey up to the house. Taking the letters he flicked through until he saw the postmark and became predictably irritated. The chase was getting a little too close and more frequent and he wondered how much longer she would take. He had spoken to his brother the previous week, and both had exchanged concerned enquiries as to the length of time. Alex hoped it was weeks rather than months, he resented having to deal with the chasing letters – he wasn’t like all of the others… He threw the letters onto the passenger seat and the growling engine drowned out his self doubt, his confidence roaring with the force of the acceleration.