Number 46

Again, names have been changed.

The night after Tom had gone missing ( read the story here – 129600 ) I came down with a bad cold. The boys had had it, so it was inevitable I would have it. I had driven to work, but had to turn around, as I felt ill. I hate being off work. I think I was also exhausted from the day before. I went home. Both the boys were out. I got back into my pyjamas and fell asleep on the sofa.

Early in the afternoon, Tom appeared with a friend, someone he knew from college. He was surprised/disappointed to see me. They went upstairs. After a while, he came down, said he was going out with his friend. I asked him to be home earlier than usual, as I was feeling rubbish and he had work in the morning. He agreed he would be. He left. I fell asleep. James came home. I made tea. It was starting to get late. I sent Tom a text, asking if he was on his way home. He replied straight away, he was staying out. I called him.

He was already angry. He was back at Paul’s. He was staying there that night. He might move in. Paul this and Paul that. He was not bothered about work the next day, he had a bad back anyway. I couldn’t tell him what to do. The phone cut off.

Tom was working with a friend of mine, in the back of his shop. It was only casual work, helping out in the back with deliveries. I called my friend to say what was happening. He was that end of town, he would go and bring Tom home. We had a street name, but no number. He would call me back. After an hour he called back. He had asked someone walking down the street where Paul lived – number 46, but the place looked empty. He would go round in the morning to collect Tom for work. There was nothing else I could do. I knew where Tom was. It was his “choice”.

I don’t remember if I slept. I sent Tom a couple of messages. He didn’t reply. I could see on his phone tracker where he was. He was online. He was at number 46.

I had told work I was not going in the next day. I was coughing and sneezing. I felt hot and then cold. I was woken by my phone ringing. It was Tom. He was whispering down the phone, it was difficult to hear him. He was telling me to tell my friend to go away. He was not going to work. He did not have too. I could hear the banging in the background. I tried to tell Tom to tell himself, he refused. The call ended. My friend called. He had tried for ages, but he was not sure if they were there. I told him Tom had called me, he was at the right place, they were ignoring him.

I left it a couple of hours and sent Tom a message saying I was looking forward to seeing him later. Two or three hours later he replied. He was not coming home that night. He wasn’t sure when he would be coming home. He was enjoying living with Paul. The day rolled on. Whether it was because I was unwell, or because of what was happening, but I felt I was not my body. Out of control. Numb.

I continued to send positive messages, no pressure, just keeping in touch. It was his choice. The next day was the same. Messages. No replies. Then a message saying he would come home the next day. The next day came. He was coming home. Would I collect him? My friend was going to collect him, as he was with his son at football practice down the road. I called Tom to tell him. Tom was stressed. Why hadn’t I gone for him? Then Paul started a barrage of swearing and threats down the phone. He was going to kill me if I came near his house again like I had the other morning. I told Tom to tell him it wasn’t me, and Paul could discuss with my friend in the carpark. The phone went quiet. Ten minutes later Tom was home. He looked ill, drawn, pale. He looked sad. He went straight on his computer. I took him some food. He was talking to Paul. They were shouting to someone on a group chat. I could hear them from downstairs. Tom came down, he was cross. There was something he needed to sort out. He was gone.

I messaged Paul asking what was going on. He replied nothing, just Tom wanted to go back to his place.

The replies to my messages came less. I would get them, single word replies. I would message Paul to check everything was ok. Eventually, I would get a reply.

I was back at work. Life felt numb. Unreal. After 5 days he was coming home again. He would come for tea at friends. He came home aggressive. He wanted an argument. He lasted an hour. He was going again. The next day we were having work done to the house, I needed to borrow Tom’s key for the workman. He threw the key at me. It was fine, he did not live with us anymore anyway. He was still wearing the same clothes he left in 5 days before. He was gone.

Two days later, Tom posted on Facebook he had moved out. Most of the message was incoherent at best. I needed to tell my parents what was happening. My parents were brilliant. They knew something was happening. They were very understanding. Whilst I was with them James phoned. He was at College. Tom was outside the college entrance, screaming at him to give him a key to the house. I told James to find a member of staff, to stay safe. Security was called. Tom was escorted off the site. James was shaken but OK.

An hour later Tom called me. He could not remember what had happened at college. He had smoked something Paul had given him. He felt very tired. He was coming to get some things to move into Pauls.

He came home. He was disheveled. Falorn. Eyes sad and sunken.

He packed a bag. He had a sausage roll. We stood in the doorway.

I told him I loved him, that this would always be his home. That I was always here for him.

With that, he gave me a hug.

He left. Back to number 46.

The story continues here – Invisible String

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5 thoughts on “Number 46

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  1. I’m going to be honest here, I don’t know how you have so much patience. Their behavior is extremely disrespectful. I would have done flipped my lid on both boys and some seriously harsh punishment would have been doled out. However, when you say college that makes me think that Tom is of age and therefore there really isn’t anything you can do for him accept to let him go. If he wants to move in with Paul, then let him. If he is in fact, of age though. Regardless of a child’s trauma, they still need boundaries to be set and once they get to a certain age, their behavior is no excuse. This is my opinion though and I don’t know the whole situation so I don’t want to sound unsupportive of you. You really are amazing though for being so patient and holding it together the way you are.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi. I’m not sure how many posts you’ve read here. This father does set firm yet loving boundaries. Children need a safe place to land. He is of legal age but emotionally he is an abandoned toddler. These boys have a loving and safe father. He will come home eventually. Serious punishment wouldn’t change this behavior. Trauma doesn’t respond to punishment b/c nothing could be as harsh as what has already happened to them. Trauma responds only to love and learning a new way to relate and interact.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Again, I’m in awe of your patience and steadfastness. I can only imagine how heartbreaking it is to keep the door open for him and see him make other choices. I am storing your example away for the day that ours are older and start to do this. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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