After spending the weekend at one of my friend’s houses, Mother realized things needed to change quickly if there was to be any hope of averting a complete disaster from taking place the following year, my final year at school. Taking me to a coffee shop after school, she did her best to address the dysfunction that had all but entrenched itself into our family unit.
“Darling,” she said as we sat down in a quaint little coffee shop. “I have something to tell you that I think will really make you happy.”
I looked at her with hope in my eyes, but not without a certain level of naivety and innocence.
“What is it Mum,” I asked hopefully.
Reaching over, she held my hand before continuing, “I’ve been thinking very seriously about everything you have said to me. I realize you feel I have not been working hard enough to ensure we all continue in our abilities to live happily and comfortably together. I am sorry if you feel I have let you down.”
I stared back at her, a little surprised by her confession.
My mother continued to speak. “I have found a nice flat near school which we will start renting in a few weeks. I intend to leave your father now and to get a divorce. You will have to help me, Oceané, with the move. I have arranged for some removalists to come, but I am worried about what will happen when your father finds out.”
“He doesn’t have to find out Mum,” I replied full of determination.
“What do you mean, Oceané? Once I tell him we are leaving, all hell will break loose.”
I leaned forward, full of insistence. “Mum, you’re not going to tell him. We will move out in secret. You will arrange to have the removalists come on a night when you know he will be staying at Francesca’s (his mistress). If the truck comes close to midnight, we will have enough time to get all our belongings and the furniture out of the house. That is the only way it will work Mum. There is no point tackling Dad head on. You will only walk away the loser from such a fight.”
“I hadn’t thought of that,” said my mother looking a little worried. “Do you really think such a plan will work?”
“Of course it will,” I said confidently.” But you can’t tell anyone. Not even Lucy. She is too young and may inadvertently spill the beans to Dad. This is our secret. I will help you, but you must promise not to say anything to Dad or anyone else.”
My mother hesitated. I squeezed her hand tightly in mine.
“This is not a time for fear Mum. You must be strong, for all of our sakes. I will write a letter to Dad and explain our reasons for leaving. I will leave it for him to read once we have left. No one can reason with him at the moment. The time for discussion is over. You need to be clear and resolute in your planning and thinking, and to break yourself out of this rut we have all fallen into.”
As we drank our coffee, the conversation continued as we planned the coming move together. I had my doubts about Mum’s ability to stick to this plan, but remained hopeful that she would realize taking on Dad in a headlong confrontation would only result in her being more victimized than ever.
Feeling a small sense of hope, I felt that perhaps our situation would improve after all, now that my mother had agreed to a plan for change. I felt my duty lay with doing all that I could to help her stick to the plan and avoid caving in at the last minute. It seemed like a tall order at the time, but I had a renewed sense of vigor and determination to ensure that we moved away quietly from Dad and avoided any more nasty confrontations.
Copyright © Vanessa Anne Walsh 2019
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