Author: Sabre Hardy PM
A drama surrounding the life and death of a father and his son - interconnected with a cubby house.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama - Words: 2,173 - Published: 10-06-06 - id: 2258041
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I'm the father of two children. My oldest is a young man now, aged twenty-six, and the youngest is my darling sixteen year old girl. I myself would like to say that I'm thirty, but the reality is that my hair is thinning, I'm getting wrinkles and my joints are beginning to ache slightly.
I've always been a bit if a handy-man, always liked to build things. When my son turned five I made him a cubby house, and every year, on his birthday, I would add something to the cubby. It's still standing, actually, in my backyard. Two storeys, it is, and about six meters long. The kids had a ball in that cubby growing up.
I remember my daughter had been playing in it, when she saw a large huntsman in the top left-hand corner of the bottom storey, near the front door. She ran out of there screaming her head off, screaming for her brother, "David! David!" He was fifteen then, and had seen his fair share of spiders.
Some people remark at the age difference between the kids. Fay and I actually had three kids, but the second, Julia, died in her sleep when she was four months old. This was well before SIDS was common knowledge. There is more awareness now, which is wonderful, because I'd hate for other people to go through what we did. It was terrible. Anyway, Julie was only twenty months younger than David, but it took us a while, me and Fay, to think of trying for another child. We were heartbroken for a long time, but Amy brought us laughter again.
David and Amy get on really well for their age difference. They used to do almost everything together, but only because Amy followed him like a stray, friendly puppy. Not that I'm saying Amy's a bitch, mind you. She's nothing of the sort; sweet of temperament, and as warm and friendly a daughter as you'd like. She's also smart - and completing high school this year. She's the youngest in the class, and wants to be a lawyer.
David was a bit daring as a kid. He learnt the skateboard when he was six, and nearly gave his mother a heart attack when he broke his arm at seven. His left, it was. Buggered it completely. Never been the same since, because he can still barely move his wrist properly. The doctors never understood it, said it was very unusual.
He was always getting in a bit of trouble at school, too. When he was thirteen - that would have been grade seven, start of high school - he was suspended for fighting. Beat the kid up pretty badly, I was surprised he wasn't expelled. But we paid the medical expenses for the poor lad, and David apologised, and now the two are best mates. David and Andrew, what a pair.
Those two used to get up to mischief in the cubby house, all kinds of stuff, like playing war games, reading magazines of the kind you don't want your kids reading, and later, sneaking drink and girls in there after dark. We put a stop to the girls coming there, but when the boys turned eighteen I added a bar to the bottom storey, and kitted it up with a bar fridge, and said, 'There you go, but don't get too rowdy boys, you hear?'
I was in the backyard the other day, and I happened to look at the cubby house. I noticed that the door was falling apart from the weather, and the wood was rotting a bit on the lower storey. So I decided I wanted to repair it, for the grandkids, when they come along.
I went down to the hardware store to pick up the necessary supplies, including wood, and hinges to replace those in the door. I grabbed a new hammer too, because I'd misplaced mine. I took them up to the register and waited for a bit while the lass served another bloke that looked like he was going to paint his house.
Just as that bloke left, this lunatic came in, dressed in black with a beanie or something covering his face, screaming at the lass to shut the fuck up, give me the money you bitch, now! He had a knife, and held it pointed straight at the girl. Well, she was understandably upset, but she was just standing still. The knife was brandished again, and the bloke, he yelled out, 'In the bag, put the money in the bag, now!' Finally the woman complied, and she opened the till.
She mustn't have been quick enough, because he jumped over the counter and held the knife to her throat, drawing a thin trail of blood when the knife connected slightly with the flesh. I dropped the hammer and the hinges and took a few steps back. I was certain I didn't want to see any of this.
I was thinking, I have to get out of here, for Fay, for David and Amy, and for my future grandkids. I have to fix the cubby house. That's all.
Then the manager starts trying to talk to the guy. The bloke with the knife just gets angrier, and turns to face him, yelling insults and curses, all the while pressing the knife a little firmer against the lass' throat every time the manager moved a step forward.
I took the opportunity to move closer to the bloke, trying my best to keep quiet. I hoped the manager would have the good sense to keep talking to the bloke, just keep him busy. Within a minute I was crouched behind him, contemplating my next move.
If I grabbed him, the shock would probably make the knife press harder into the lass' throat, and I didn't want that. If I tapped him on the shoulder, like in those American movies, I might be stabbed myself. It was a risky situation I was in. Then I saw something wrapped in leather in his back pocket. It looked like the handle for something, but I couldn't quite place it. Thinking quickly, I grabbed the object and pulled.
The bloke dropped the girl and whirled around. A quick glance at the girl confirmed that she was alright, and she was already scrambling onto her feet. As the knife came level with my stomach, I lifted the object in my hand and brought it on his head, wincing as I heard the smack of metal against bone. The bloke went down, but the knife cut my skin as he fell, cut right through on the hip.
But he stayed still once he hit the ground. I saw the beanie dampen near the bloke's forehead, already soaked with blood. I checked to be sure he was still alive, and he was, his breathing laboured and his heartbeat erratic, but still alive. I looked at the manager, shared a quick sigh of relief, and then looked at the young lady, who was still really worked up. Glancing at my hand, I quickly examined my weapon. I saw the leather grip, and the cold head of metal with its bloodied tip.
I sank my knees to the floor in disbelief. It was my hammer, the one from my toolbox that I had though I'd lost, the one I was just about to replace. With a sick feeling, I looked at the bloke crumpled on the floor, and reached out to remove the beanie. I howled with anger and grief when my son's face was revealed. David, my son, my only son.
They took him to the hospital afterwards. He had to have part of his skull repaired, and when that was done, we were told he was in a coma. They didn't know how long it would be until he woke up.
My son turned twenty six today. But he won't be able to celebrate it. I doubt he'll ever recover, my beautiful baby boy. I figure if he can't celebrate it, then neither can I. I can't celebrate Amy's birthdays, or Fay's, or any of those that my future grandchildren may have. No, I don't deserve to live anymore. Not for what I did.
I can't have my grandchildren thinking their grandfather is a violent man. The cubby house will never be repaired.
So, that's what happened then? I can't even remember the hold-up, or the knock on the head. Hell, I can't even remember taking the bloody hammer. All of this is a mystery to me.
I woke from my coma three years ago, and had no idea where I was. When Mum and Amy were told that I had woken they came straight from home, and told me everything that had happened. Except the robbery.
Mum said that Dad had a heart attack two years ago, and had died. I grieved, of course. Then Amy had calmed me down, and shared her grief, but she seemed so far away, like she was hiding something. She was twenty-one then, with a job, a good one, with a large law firm. She still lived at home, she said while Mum went to get coffee, because she didn't want to leave Mum all alone.
I started rehab a couple of months afterwards, when I was strong enough to get into a wheelchair. Those few months, I felt so useless, and my body that I was once so proud of was weak, the muscle tissue long since deflated through inactivity.
Rehab lasted a year. I saw Mum and Amy as often as they could come in, but they were very busy, and Amy was working very hard on a case that she wouldn't talk about, except to say that the police wanted to talk to a client and she was buying time. At the end, a lawyer approached me, saying that the police wanted to talk to me, about a robbery. I said I had no idea what he was on about.
The lawyer said that he worked for my sister; she'd been trying to let me recover all year. But now there's nothing she can do. The police have to talk to me, now.
The police said that I was involved in a burglary on the day that I was knocked into my coma, and wanted to know if I recalled anything about the incident. I said no, I didn't, and it was the truth. A shrink came and verified it; I had amnesia, and therefore could not be imprisoned for my crime for the full sentence, but a shorter period.
I was up on charges of assault, battery, attempted murder and attempted burglary. I was imprisoned for everything except the attempted murder charge. I apologised to the family of the girl I had apparently put a knife to, and served my sentence willingly. I was willing, yes, but bewildered.
In the trial, they didn't even mention my father, or what had happened to him. The judge gave me a look of deep pity and he sentenced me, and then said that, given the circumstances, my sentence was lighter than usual. I was in jail for nine months. I spent those months thinking about the judge's words, thinking about the look of pity in his eyes, and what it all meant. It didn't feel right, not for my injuries or coma. There was definitely something else.
When I was let out, I went straight to Mum. She told me nothing, just kept maintaining her heart attack story. In the intervening months, I met a girl, Jessica. We got married last month, and are expecting our first child next year. We are very excited, and so is Amy. She likes the sound of Aunty Amy.
Today though; Mum gave me Dad's suicide note. I have read it three times, but I still don't remember anything about the robbery. But now I know the truth about Dad's death. It was me, I caused it, and it was all my own bloody fault.
I've decided, I'm not going to go Dad's way. I'm going to the hardware store, the one I held up eight years ago. I'm going to get some wood, some hinges, and a new hammer. My kid is going to want a cubby house to play in, and I'm going to build him one. With every year, I'll build something else onto it, and make it bigger, and taller. It'll be two storeys tall, and when he's older he can invite his mates, and maybe a few girls over, and use it as a hang out.
It will be our cubby house.