This is what life feels like. Being in the middle of a tornado. Sometimes maybe a little one, but sometimes a towering, storming mass of chaos. Sometimes you walk straight through, but sometimes you can’t breathe, as the air is moving so fast around you. Sometimes the noise is deafening and explosive, sometimes it deafeningly silent, which causes a cavern of silence deep inside.
Day 1 was their birthday. It went from nice and pleasant, to aggressive and defiant. Typical teenage stroppiness.
Day 2 we met with friends and family for drinks and lunch and pleasantries, oh and presents “why do we only get toiletries now?”
Day 3 we went for a trip out, then met the grandparents for a huge pub tea.
Day 4 was work/college and scouts. Then one went out with his mates. He was meant to be back at 9.30. I rang him at 10, 10.15, 10.30. No reply. I phoned his mate, he was surprised he wasn’t already home, they had left him an hour before.
10.45 no reply. 11 no reply. He never stays out that late. Phoned the police to report him missing.
11.15 no reply. 11.20 the police phoned back, the had categorised him as absent. They would send a car around to look out for him. 11.20 I checked the other one – fast asleep, oblivious. I left a note on the mat saying to ring me. I got in the car.
I came to a junction. I had no idea which way to go, which way to turn. I tried to look as far as I could down the roads. I turned left, left again and left again. A police car went by. I went to the end of the road, and turned left. I headed next to the playing fields which were pitch black. The police car came down towards me again. I flashed, he stopped. Yes he was looking too. Yes, it was better for me to drive round. Two sets of eyes patrolling he said. Check he’s not got home and just got to bed.
I opened the front door. The note was still there. The house was silent. I went to his room. Nothing changed, nothing moved. I checked the other one, still fast asleep.
I got back in the car. I drove to the library, to the park, to bus shelter, to Church at the top of the hill. I got out of the car as the street lights flickered off. It was midnight. The lights go off to save the money and to save the planet. It was dark. It was lonely.
I got back in the car. I drove along houses, some with no lights on, some with televisions flickering. There were a few people about, on their way home.
I went back home. The note was still on the mat. His room was untouched. The other one was still asleep. The house was silent.
I went out again. I did the lefts again. Left, left, left, left. Nothing. I went round again. As I drove towards the shops I saw the police van. I stopped, I went over to them. The were having a hot drink. Yes, they knew about him. They had driven round several times, and nothing.
Time had gone from seconds to minutes to hours. It was 1.45
A text message. “I’m home”. I drove back. He was sat on the sofa. He had fallen asleep in the park, he was sorry, he was tired, he was off to bed.
Day 5 A call from college. They were sending him home, he was missing lessons and being a nuisance. He went home and slept.
Day 6 He was too poorly to go to work experience, he needed the day off. He wouldn’t go to cadets or scouts as he was too tired. That evening, he was better, he said he was going out with his mates. I said he shouldn’t be going out if had been poorly. He left. Soon after one of his friends phoned in a panic. My lad had run off , he was going to kill himself, what should they do, oh they had seen him. All I then heard was shouting and panic. The phone went dead. There was silence. I phoned back, – no reply. I phoned my lad – no reply. I phoned his friend – “oh, everything’s fine”
Messaged him to be home for 10. He came home 10.40. He was angry. Someone had said something about his brother (he usually says much worse, but that’s different!). One of his friends messaged me. He was worried about my lad, he was going to harm himself. He had said I had “chucked “ him out. He had said he was homeless, I replied he was in lounge having a pot noodle. My lad came upstairs in a rage, how dare I speak to his friends. Etc etc etc
He stormed off, turned his music up and played on the games console. The other lad came up and said the music was too loud, he couldn’t sleep. I went to the lounge. I told him to turn the music down. He shouted and swore at me. I said again to turn the music down, he did slightly. I said to turn it down properly, as me and his brother were trying to sleep. He asked what I was going to do about it. I told him I would turn the game off, if he didn’t. He stood up, he was coming towards me. He lifted his hand to throw the game controller at me. His eyes were blank, his mist had surrounded him, his whirlwind of anger was building. He was filled with fury.
I told him if he threw it, if he hurt me, I would call the police, and I would have him arrested. I told him to sit down and turn his music down. Then I can go to bed.
He sat down. He turned the music down. He told me how he was going to kill me. I walked out.
I lay in bed. The games console has parent control and a timer on. I knew he would be stopped soon. It was utterly silent. At 3am he went to bed. I could sleep.
Day 7 I went to work, they went to college.
Sometimes the tornado is so chaotic and frightening, but so silent….