“If we keep going this way we will never get back” he mumbled under his breath as his mother kept walking. “I didn’t ask you to come with me. Go home if you want.” She pounded on angrily. “Not much point turning back that way either. I’ll still be late.” “Fine so, come on, just over this hill to the turn.” He preferred her when she lounged in front of the telly.

“Sure I had to come with you. It’s still dark” he shouted as she raced on faster than before. “I’m not a baby you know. I can mind myself”. He sometimes thought otherwise. He snorted. She stopped and turned her angry red face on him. “What’s funny?” “Just wondering who’s the adult” he laughed. “Why are you killing yourself mam?” “I’m not. I’m saving myself so you’ll not be alone.” “Ah mam, sure there’s years in you yet.” “That’s what we thought about him and he’s gone.” She turned back to the road and went faster.

“Exercise wouldn’t cure what killed him.” he whispered. She was gone too far ahead to hear. Just as well. Better for her to think he was unhealthy than stressed. Ironic how all that stress left when he went. That’s why they all went. He read only yesterday. “Almost 500 additional suicides linked to recession.” He hadn’t done that. At least it wasn’t proven. But that stress left then. The banks were no longer ringing aggressively. They left them alone in their home. He spotted his bus coming over the hill and he ran past his mother to pick up his bag at the wall and get on. He watched her pound on from the window. He preferred her when she lounged in front of the telly, with Dad.

Flash Fiction, FInalist Maria Edgeworth’s Literary Festival 2015

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