Apr. 12th, 2014

In an oak frame in the living room, on the wall that caught the best light, there was a silver medal. Some people might not have kept theirs so prominently on display, but Val was too proud of that single accomplishment to hide it away. She wanted to see it every day and remember that, just for one day, she had done everything right.

It didn't feel like she'd done much right since then. No, she corrected herself, feet pounding against the damp grass of the school oval as she ran, I did two other things right. Her children were perfect. Danny and Melissa had been such joys to her and for the short period of innocence Val had truly believed that she was doing okay at this mother thing. But now Danny was hurt almost beyond repair and Melissa was dead. Those were the legacies she had left for her children. Violation and death.

Five fast laps around the oval )
Rachel’s homework sat untouched in her school bag, a week of it piling up. Her desk had an empty spot where her laptop had been, her dad had taken it away and plugged it in downstairs, only to be used under supervision. No social media no email no time wasting internet sites, only homework. He had her phone, too.

“You made a promise to me, when you went back to school,” he’d yelled at her, when she arrived home after her night at Danny’s. “You promised to behave. No more sneaking out, no more parties, no more drinking, no more skiving off to do god knows what instead of being in class. And you promised me you’d attend school and you promised me you’d behave while you were there!”

... )
"I was glad you called back," Ben told Val after the waitress had taken their order. The restaurant they'd decided on was surprisingly full - Ben usually saw it half empty most nights when he walked past from the university - but the tone of the place was comfortable.

Val lifted her wine glass as she admitted, "I almost didn't. But I have made this habit of cancelling a lot of dates recently, and it feels rotten."



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Darker London

October 2014

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