Can you smell that? I questioned my husband. More interested in the television screen and suffering from slight industrial deafness, his reply was an inaudible mumble of agreement.
“Those kids are smoking,” I hissed. Without waiting to hear a response, I continued, “The rules are the rules, after all.” I’d had serious misgivings about hosting a party for my daughter Kim, and her young teenage school friends, but she’d convinced me they’d stick to the rules – No smoking, and no bad behaviour, if I allowed the, “gatho,” to go ahead. An hour or two had passed without incident before their voices became more animated, sharper and rising in crescendo. Then I smelt the smoke.
I did want to be able to trust the kids. I didn’t want to be that helicopter parent, hovering like some unwanted apparition at the periphery of the group. How else could kids be themselves? Even so, the responsibility nagged at me, giving me no rest as the evening progressed. I felt compelled to check things out. Surely, just a peek through the curtains to quieten my suspicious conscience would not hurt?
A half dozen or so adolescents were gathered in an undisciplined circle under the street light’s nebulous illumination. A sudden crimson glow burnt bright as I watched one of the boys drag heavily on a cigarette. With my heartbeat hammering in my eardrums, I stormed outside to confront them, just in time to see one of the lads hit Kim squarely, in the middle of her back.
Completely horrified, I yelled, “Right you, put that out, or get out,” to the boy with the cigarette still hanging from his lips. Then, turning to the boy who had hit Kim in the back, I blurted, “And you can get out, too! You never ever hit a girl or anyone for that matter.”
“It’s alright, Mrs B.” explained another of Kim’s young friends soothingly. “He’s my brother Daniel. He’s with me. It is his way of saying ‘Hello,’ because he can’t speak. He’s got a disability.”
Linking to Sammi’s Prose Challenge – write a story that uses the sound of a beating heart for dramatic effect.