By. Amy Lovell
Five, and another one‟s still on his filthy hand. Six to eight cans of beer each night, almost
a dozen when he brought victory back home, gambling with the money his son had been
saving for a better use. Jack gritted his teeth. The foul smell of the room was more than
disturbing. It‟s disgusting, really. It made him wonder at what he had done in his previous
life, to be trapped and punished with this fat-ass bastard he called father. If not for his
mother, Jack would have left that miserable place and lived his own life. A happy one.
But here he was. Coming back from work and still had to clean up his father‟s mess. Picking
up the empty beer cans, his stinking socks, and kicked the oversized shoe under the table
with a rage, hoping it was his father‟s head instead.
Sometimes he wondered on how his mother could end up marrying that pig. The man
stirred, his heavy eyes opened as he groaned. Jack watched silently as he poured the drink
into his mouth till the very last drop, wondering what would happen if he put a spoonful of
poison in it. Would he die? “Get the light.” He ordered. “Yes, Dad.” He obliged, switching the
light on. “Hey, get me another one from the fridge!” He tossed the empty can aside clipping
Jack on the side of the head. Jack shook his head with resigned rage. “There‟s no more.
You‟ve drunk them all.” “Well, go get some, then!”
Jack cursed under his breath. As if he heard none of his father‟s words, he left to the other
room across the hall, where his mother was resting. How many years had it been? He
nearly lost count. Three years, if not mistaken, when his mother was forced to stay for a
never ending bed-rest. Jack stood at the door frame, resting his head on the painted wood.
Staring. She looked twenty years older now, her cheekbones were sunkin in, in a terrible
state. Her once rosy lips were ashen, her hair seemed lifeless, as well as her bony body.
Jack clutched his own chest, as if he knew she would soon leave. The sickness had no mercy
on her. She used to be a strong independent woman, a great mother… “You‟re back. Have
you had your dinner?” she asked suddenly. He turned a little as he wiped a thumb across
his eyes before he came near the bed. Jack sat at the edge of the bed, giving her the best
smile he had as she touched his hand. “I ate just now. How do you feel?” She smiled her
own weary smile. “Much better.”
She‟s lieing Jack thought. Even the doctor had given up and advised him to bring her home
after a long five months at the hospital, said it best to let her spend the time with family.
When a doctor told you that, it‟s another word to say „sorry, your mother‟s going to die
soon‟. He scoffed at that thought, blaming his consciousness for bringing it up again.“Lillian
came here just now, she brought me some soup and crusty bread.” “I know mum, she
called me.” “Have you talked to her yet?” Jack couldn‟t answer. As much as he loved Lillian
and his desire to marry her, he couldn‟t find the courage to ask her. Not yet anyway. She‟s
been too good for him, what could he offer? A small house to live in, or a drunkard asshole
as a father in law? Not to mention that his whole pay would always go to his mother‟s
Just when he was about to talk, his father came, throwing curses. “Are you deaf?! I told you
to get me another drink!” Another pair of wrinkles came to his mother‟s face as she frowned, struggling to pull herself up to sit. Jack helped her, holding her bony shoulders
gently, carefully, as if she would break at his touch. “What is it?” she asked, staring at her
husband. The man pointed one round finger at her, and then at his own son. “I don‟t know
how you‟ve been teaching him, such a disrespectful child! Never even heard a word I said,
or did as I told him.” “He‟s tired, let him rest for awhile.” Not wanting to let his father yell in
front of his mother again, Jack stood and told that man he would get him his precious
drinks. He‟d do anything to wipe those awful wrinkles from his mother‟s face. He took two
cans that he hid under the sink before, staring a long moment at them. His eyes darted to
the kitchen knifes on the table. Hesitantly, he took the biggest knife out. No. Not the knife.
So he took the insecticide instead, opening the bottle. He could just pour the beer into the
jug, together with that strong smelling liquid, and then put some rock ice on it.
A shout jerked him from the thought, and he dumped the insecticide away. He kicked the
kitchen table so hard he hurt his own foot. After a pause, he went to the living room and
handed the beer to his father, who had already sat on the couch, watching the soccer game.
The man took those drinks without a single thank you. “I hope you choke on those!” Jack
screamed, at his good for nothing drunken father.
* * *
She was lovely. Beautiful, smart, and caring. He loved her. So very much. He watched with
a smile as Lillian scooped a spoonful of soup and fed his mother, all the while telling her
how wonderful the view outside was, that