Amelia Parker grabbed her laptop and booted it up, also grabbing a stack of newspapers. She opened Google and typed in ‘available jobs in Claremont’. There were a few apprenticeship jobs for plumbers and electricians, and a handful of ‘Teachers Wanted’ ads, but nothing that Amelia could do without further education. She thumbed through some newspapers, looking in the ad pages, hoping for something simple, with a good pay. All she needed was some more money to provide for her boys!
Finally, a pretty ad on Facebook caught her eye. It was asking for a cleaner for a house right down the road. The pay would be $30/hr. Amelia wrote down the number of the lady asking for the cleaner. It was a good job; simple, with good pay. Just hopefully it would be enough to provide for the family.
Amelia sucked in a breath and swallowed the lump in her throat. Then she slowly grabbed her phone and dialled the number.
“Hi, this is Amelia Parker…yeah, I’m interested in the cleaning job? Yes…yes…Parker…yes. Thank you. Bye!”
With another heavy sigh, Amelia placed her phone back on the table. She leaned over to grab the photo of her husband from the cupboard. Clutching it in her sweaty palms, she hung her head and let the tears fall. I got the job, but it just doesn’t feel right! If only Kyle was here, she thought, Why did everything have to change?
Amelia didn’t know how long she sat there, holding her husband’s photo close to her, as if she could bring him back, but it felt like hours later that her boys came through the door, sweaty and tired from basketball practice after school.
“Mom…” Christian hurried to his mother’s side, wrapping his strong arms around her.
“I-I’m sorry, I just—” Elijah stopped his mom’s words with a hug.
“Don’t be sorry, Mom. We all miss him.” His voice cracked on the last word, and Christian reached for him too. And, as the sun sank in the sky, the three sat together and grieved for the husband and father they lost.
Tim Wellington sighed deeply as he turned the car onto the highway, heading back home. It had been a busy day at the hospital, and he was ready to relax in front of the TV with a beer and some chips. Suddenly a black SUV swerved in front of him on the road, nearly crashing into him. Tim clenched his fists and honked the horn as hard as he could, his heart pounding in his chest. The SUV zoomed off, the driver pulling the finger at Tim and sneering. Tim took a deep breath, trying to get rid of the fear that still pulsed through his veins. That had been close. Too close.
Tim pulled over on the side of the road and rested his head in his hands, his mind bringing him back to a day so many years ago…
“Timmy, we’re going to go to the store now! C’mon!”
“Coming, Momma!” Tim jumped in the car, grinning at his mother. His smile faded as a heavy figure filled his vision—his dad.
“Do you have to come, Steven? It was just going to be me and Timmy—”
“Shut up Adele! I’m allowed to accompany you on a trip with my son!” Steven, Tim’s father, snarled. Adele Wellington slammed the car door shut, and they began to drive. Tim happily drew on the windows covered in condensation, smiling and giggling to himself, oblivious to his parents arguing in the front seat.
“You came home so late last night, Steven! Sometimes I wonder if you’re going to come home at all!” Adele yelled.
“Well maybe you shouldn’t be nosy about where I am or how long I’m away!” retorted Steven.
“You were probably just getting drunk at the pub again! I’m sick of you wasting our money on your stupid drinks!”
“Stop distracting me, Adele—I’m trying to drive!” Steven yelled, his veins beginning to pop out on his dark, bald head.
“Well that would be the first time you were trying to do anything!”
The car swerved as Steven slapped Tim’s mother across the face.
“Daddy! Stop!” Tim screamed as the vehicle began to spin out of control. All Tim could feel was fear, swirling around him and drowning him in its hateful currents.
“Steven!” Adele’s voice, full of rage, was the last thing Tim heard before he heard a sickening crack and the world turned black.
Tim snapped out of the flashback, his heart racing. He fingered the scar on his cheek, his face wet from tears. In that accident, his mother had died, leaving his father to look after him. He had always fed him well, but was gone every night. Tim had always thought his dad was a big, brave man who went out every night to defeat bad guys, and he was proud to stay home by himself, even if there wasn’t much to do by himself.
He now barely remembered his mom; there was only the odd memory of a gentle touch, a bedtime story, a muffled argument coming from downstairs. Tim’s parents had never hugged or kissed when he was around, and he rarely ever saw them spend time together. Tim didn’t have many friends growing up either; he always stayed home by himself. Then when he met Shannon, he’d been eager to marry her. Something always seemed lacking in their relationship. They felt distant, but Tim didn’t know what was wrong.
Tim shook away his thoughts, turning the car gently back onto the road. He sighed and tried to swallow the lump in his throat, not even knowing why it was there.