A Shoebox X

Posted: August 1, 2011 in #tuesdayserial, A Shoebox

Gemma glared at Ryan who had been quiet since the conversation started. “Ryan. Are you ok?”

Ryan shrugged.

“Talk to us Ryan,” Kim pleaded.

“What do you want me to say?” Ryan said, with a look on his face like the one he had the day their mother died. “I’ve just lost my mum. Now I’ve lost every memory I had as a child!”

“No you haven’t Ry,” Gemma explained putting a hand on his knee, “Those memories are yours; ours; and will always be there. This doesn’t change anything.”

Ryan looked at her with disgust. “It changes everything Gem. Are you my sister or my cousin? My dad isn’t a coward and a selfish good for nothing that left us when I was a few months old. My dad is actually a psychotic arse who raped our mum! He is your uncle. A retarded pig!”

“Now Ryan, that’s enough!” his Gran said sharply.

“That’s enough!” his voice raised but the trembling at the back of his throat was clear for all to hear. “That’s enough is it Gran? Do you not agree?”

“We all have our issues,” she said calmly.

“With respect Gran, Uncle Bill has more than bloody issues,” Jess said from the corner of the room. Having been silent for the entire conversation, she was now bubbling with rage at the pathetic attempts her Gran seemed to be going to trying to protect her son.

“He has severe issues,” Pops said standing to his feet, “issues none of us have ever been able to digest. But there is no point trying to bad mouth him in front of your Gran, she won’t hear him blamed. She never has.”

“I have my reasons,” Gran said also getting to her feet.

“Yes but those reasons aren’t enough to justify what the poor boy is now going through in his head. What his mother had to endure all these years and the reason why this innocent family were torn apart!”

“Don’t start Frank!” Gran was now beginning to show a side to her that the children had only witnessed on a handful of occasions. Her neat, shy and motherly persona was cracking, like an earthquake to tarmac, the cracks were forming and gradually breaking away.

“I’ve sat back long enough. I’ve listened and I’ve kept quiet. But I will not allow this to continue. He is evil!”

“He’s your son as well as mine!” she said, almost pleading with him to take back the hurt she was feeling.

“He is no son of mine!” Pops roared from the bottom of his stomach. “I disowned him the day he raised his fist to a woman. My wife. His own mother!”

The room fell silent.

Tears began rolling down Gran’s face as she starred into her husband’s eyes.

“Clearly this family has been messed up for years!” Ryan said forlorn. He stood and without making eye contact with any of them left by the front door.

“Well that went well!” Jess said slumping back into her seat, “Another successful family meeting.”

“Shut up Jess,” Kim said agitated by the whole thing, “I’ll go after him,” and with that she grabbed her coat and ran after Ryan.

Gemma didn’t say a word, as she too got up from her seat and headed to the kitchen. She had to have a drink; this was too intense to get through totally soba.

As she sat with her hands clasped around the glass of brandy and coke, she watched from the living room through the pane glass windows to the dining room, as her Grandparents argued and waved their arms around. She had no idea the extent this family had kept secrets. Every time one unfolded, another quickly followed like thunder and lightning. She could hear them and as she closed her eyes whilst sitting in the chair, her hearing became even more alert.

“Never. We said we would never talk about this again!” Gran said tearfully.

“Well, never say never unless you mean it enough to say it twice!” Pops shouted.

“This family is doomed. I knew the day that dog was murdered and tortured, he was evil. We should have known, he was rotten. Rotten to the god damn core.”

“He’s our son Frank. He’s that way because of something we’ve done when he was growing up.”

“Its nothing we’ve done.”

“It must be. Maybe because we had him so late in life. Maybe because I mothered him too much, or he had no-one to play with at home.”

“Listen to me, its nothing you’ve done. He’s a badd’en, thats all.”

Gran looked at him sorrowfully, “He’s our flesh and blood. It must be something we have done.”

“It is NOT SOMETHING WE DID!” Pops explained loudly and frustrated, “It’s not your fault we lost the wrong twin!”


Gemma’s eye opened automatically, like a gold-digger hearing of an elderly millionaire looking for a spouse. She stared into the room where they both stood, now motionless. It was like watching a slow-motion picture, as her Gran collapsed onto the nearest chair and sobbed. Pops, now mellow and heartfelt, went to her side.


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