Jack

Jack had been out all night again. Walking the streets in the dark with no real direction in mind, just a vague animal instinct had him peeking over walls and knocking over people’s bins.  He remembered at one point he had been walking along a wall like a circus tightrope master.

He hadn’t been drinking but his balance was off as he came through the door in the morning to find his mother standing in the kitchen wearing a blue apron with a William Morris relief on the front, swinging a rolling pin down on the kitchen surface with unimaginable whacks that made him jump out of his skin every time her obese arms slammed into the MDF, causing the flap of skin on her elbow to jiggle disgustingly like the neck of a turkey.  It made jack feel sick whenever he saw that piece of skin flinging back and forth like a wayward scrotum.

“Jack,” she sighed, “Why must you hurt your mother like this?”

Jack could sense the inferno of rage building from within her, he always felt it, every time she was still up from drinking gin and blueberry.

“JACK! I’m talking to you.  Must you always turn away from me when I’m talking to you? Must you forever make me feel worthless Jack?”

He couldn’t say anything to her when she was in this kind of catatonic state of self loathing, she hated herself for the way she treated Jack, but she couldn’t help herself, she had to hurt him with words, to cut them into his skin until he bled from the tyranny of her malicious tongue.

“You just can’t ever do anything right can you Jack.  You swan off in the middle of the night without a word to your poor mother who sits up all night worrying. And you know what happens when I worry Jack don’t you. That’s right, Jack, I drink, I have to drink otherwise I’ll go mad with worry Jack, I’ll die Jack, I’ll cut myself open and it will be nobody’s fault but yours Jack – yours and yours alone.”

Jack could do nothing but sit on the floor and stare at his feet, he didn’t know how to help his mother, she was the one that drove him out into the night, made his home life so unbearable that he would rather walk the cold streets alone than be in her company.

“Last night was the closest I have come Jack.  The closest I have come to really ending it all because you weren’t around.  How do you expect me to function properly when I don’t know where you are Jack.  For all I know you’re out there trying to find some other poor old lady that will feed you and put a roof over your head.  You have absolutely no consideration for your poor old mother do you Jack?”

Jack noticed the excess skin hanging beneath her chin and in that moment he hated her for being obese, for being a terrible mother.  No one he knew ever had to put up with the hatred she poured into him, no one he knew ever had to worry about going home in the morning to an insane mother with suicidal tendencies.  He contemplated leaving again, but his mother broke his train of thought.

“You son of a bitch Jack, that’s right, I’m a bitch.  I’m the poor bitch who slaves in this very kitchen trying to make a home for you and all you can do to repay her is to go missing for hours at a time.  You selfish little bastard, you hate filled little fucker.  If your father could see you now he would string you up by your legs and give you the beating you deserve you filthy little shit.”

Jack looked at the door and wished for an earthquake, just a gentle little shake that would cause the disgusting old woman to fall to her knees so she would stop looking so grotesquely enormous towering over him stinking of gin and clothes that hadn’t been washed in days.

The floor was a sea of empty food cartons and remnants of bad meals that he could never stomach.  She always threw what he didn’t eat on the floor in protest of his insolence towards her. It wasn’t like he never tried to eat the food she gave him, but it was disgusting, under cooked and dangerous to consume.  Maybe she was trying to kill him.

“JACK! Look at me!” She screamed, “That’s it! I can’t take it anymore, I’m at the end of my tether, I’ve had it up to here and past it, I can’t take anymore!”

She fell to her knees, looking Jack straight in the eye with a freshly sharpened kitchen blade in her right mitt, a fist like a ham, pink and fat with white knuckles of rage.

Jack’s mother cut her wrists in front of him, she bled out on the floor around his feet.  He tasted the blood, shook his head and ran out the cat flap, his little bell jingling in the morning air.

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