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Mrs. Lana Greer.

I didn't start out doing it all the time. Billy cried a lot as a baby, and in those days I could just leave him in the crib when I was frustrated. Sometimes kids just need to be left alone. I'd put a couple of toys in the crib and go in the other room.

Well, I'd put on the TV sometimes. For a break.

What do you mean, what else would I do?

Sometimes I'd clean up, or I'd make dinner.

Yes, sometimes I left the house. He cried a lot.

No, I wasn't worried about him. He needed to be left alone.

The worst time was when Billy was weaned. My boyfriend helped me out. No.

I state for the record that my boyfriend when Billy was weaned was not Mick Greer. That boyfriend's name was Frank. I put Billy in his crib and left the house because he was crying so hard. I called Frank from a payphone because my phone wasn't working. I asked him to go over and make sure Billy was okay. I knew Billy would cry more if I was in the room with him. I couldn't deal with being in the house with him crying. So I met up with Frank to give him the key, and he went over there.

How much time went by? I don't know.

I left in the morning, around eleven am. I don't know what time Frank got there.

I don't know.

I gave Frank the key.

I don't remember.

I can't try and remember; 1 just don't remember.

Yeah, we hung out for a bit.

I don't think it's any of your business where we went. I don't see how that has anything to do with anything.

Fuck off.

Yes, I'm calm.

I can't remember; I just said that.

I know that you understand.

Yes! We were at Frank's house.

Probably about an hour.

Frank then went to my house.

I don't know if he stayed there all day.

I went out to a movie. I won a free ticket from a case of Coke so I went to a movie. Frank met me at the end and gave me back my key. When 1 went home, Billy was asleep. I knew he must be hungry so I woke him up and fed him some yoghurt. He was so sleepy. He whimpered a little, but he didn't cry. I held him in my arms. We fell asleep on the couch. The next day he cried more, but Frank was working. I paid my phone bill so that my phone would work again and called my mom. I hate calling my mom. She's mean to me. But after awhile I could get her to understand that Billy's weaning was really frustrating. She kept telling me it was too early. It wasn't too early. There was no problem. He was just being difficult. So she took him for the day.

He was five months old.

I fed him milk and yoghurt after that and applesauce. He puked it up at first, but eventually it stayed down.

What do you want me to tell you about that? I don't get it.

I would just put him to bed. What do you mean?

Yes, I'd put him to bed at about eight o'clock, usually.

Yes, he would cry.

He slept in the crib until he was four. Then, my mom came over with a new bed and threw the old crib away. That was the last time I talked to her.

He did try to climb out of the crib. I put the crib's feet on some bricks so that when he'd climb out, he'd hurt himself and not want to do it again.

It really frustrated me that he came to wake me up during the night.

Mickey moved in when Billy was three.

Yes, Billy started climbing out of the crib a little while after Mickey moved in.

Yes, Mickey was angry when Billy would climb into bed with me. He'd yell at us and make Billy cry. I'd yell at them both, too. It wasn't worth Billy crying that much so that's why I put the bricks in. Billy stayed in the crib after that.

After my mom threw away the crib and put the bed in, Billy would try and come in almost every night. Mickey started to leave at night. 1 was really angry at Billy. He was fine. There aren't any monsters in the dark or any of that kid stuff he was feeling.

I locked the door after Mickey left for a whole week.

No, I don't know where Mickey went.

Of course I wanted him to come back.

I don't know where Mickey went. I said that.

I only locked the door at night. I would put on music so that we couldn't hear him crying. But, it worked. So when Mickey and I went out during the day I would put some food and the potty in Billy's room and lots of toys so that he wouldn't be bored.

J got married to Mickey two years ago.

Billy was four.

Yes, I do recognize that photograph. It was taken at the wedding. That is Billy on Mickey's lap, and that's me in my dress.

The wedding was on June 5th. Oh right, Billy's birthday is June 2nd, so yes, he'd just turned five.

That woman's a cunt.

I don't have to do anything I don't fucking want to.

I don't remember.

I won't clarify for the record what 1 said at my wedding. I don't remember.

That woman is a lying cunt. She's some friend of Mickey's or she wouldn't even have been at my wedding.

That woman doesn't know anything about me or my family.

I don't know if she did or she didn't. I didn't say that.

Why is it so important?

I don't know. I may have had a conversation with her about whether or not Mickey was a good dad. She's just jealous.

Fine! I state, for the record, that I don't remember if I said to Janet Young on June 5th that the reason I loved Mickey was because he was a good dad.

Fine, because he has good rules for Billy.

I don't know if I did or didn't feel that way. Fuck off.

Yeah, why don't we? Asshole.

Billy went to kindergarten that fall.

No, he didn't go to preschool or day care at any time.

Sunny Hill Elementary.

No, he didn't go to school every day.

Mickey and me didn't like his teacher. She kept saying that Billy peed himself. He's a kid. Sometimes kids pee themselves. She kept at it. Mickey said that if we didn't keep Billy at home sometimes then he'd be kicked out. I had finally gotten a job, and Mickey had to be out during the day so when we both had to be away I locked Billy in his bedroom with the potty and some food and some toys.

I don't know how many days.

I don't know if that sounds like an accurate figure.

I don't know; I didn't keep count.

No, I can't clarify for the record how many days I locked Billy in his bedroom.

Yes, sometimes he did go back to Sunny Hill Elementary.

We moved him to a new school at Christmas.

Whitely Elementary.

He did continue to pee and poop himself at school, if that's what you mean.

Mickey disappeared right after Valentine's Day.

Yes, the school nurse from Lord Whitely Elementary came over to help Billy potty train. He picked it up very quickly. She was really helpful, and I really liked her until she brought that other man, her supervisor, over one time.

Her name was Barb Donald. She visited every day for a week, then came back once about a month later, and then about two weeks later with that other man.

Yes, between March 1st and March 5th sounds accurate, and then April 2nd, and then April 30th, all sound accurate.

I just didn't like him, and I didn't understand why he was there. Yes, that was a very strange week for me. Billy's dad, Chris--yes, Christopher Allan Reynolds--turned up at my work out of nowhere. He was very nice. He bought me a coffee. He used to be kind of a party animal, really strung out on drugs, just crazy. After I told him I was pregnant with Billy, I didn't see him again. When he bought me coffee he said sorry to me. He'd gone through NA, really cleaned himself up. He was even off methadone. He'd gone to night school to finish high school and become a plumber. His clothes were so nice. He was wearing glasses, which was funny to me because he'd never worn them before. He said that his sight had gotten really bad because of all the, well, everything he'd put in his body, I guess. I remember the night I got pregnant with Billy because he was so fucked up on whatever, and I was so drunk. We were at my parents' house, hanging out in the pool-back when I had nice clothes all the time too, you know? My parents have so much fucking money. I liked his bad boy thing, but that was all gone when I saw him. It was so weird. I don't know why I'm telling you that. He had some gray hairs, too, even though he's barely thirty. He had a five-seater Honda parked outside, and I made fun of him for driving a Honda, and he said he had another car at home. I couldn't believe it. He said, Lana, let me give you some money to help out with Billy. He went to write a cheque, but I said that I didn't have a bank account, so I wondered if I could have it in cash. He said sure. He went out to get cash and then came back and handed it to me in an envelope. He asked if he could see Billy. I said sure, sometime.

Yes, I definitely said yes.

I threw out all of Billy's old clothes and bought him new ones. I bought a lot of frozen groceries and filled the fridge freezer. I bought myself some new shoes. I bought myself a pretty dress. That was all on Monday because I told my boss that I had my period so I could go home. The next day Barb turned up after school with this man that she said was her supervisor. His name was Tim. He asked me a lot of questions, and I asked him to leave. Barb said she was sorry that she brought him over; she said she had just wanted to show him where she went to help Billy because he was her boss. She said that Billy had made a lot of progress. I remember being jealous because Billy really liked her, and he always just cries at me. She said she liked my dress, and I told her that I had just bought it because I had run into Billy's dad, and he'd given me a bunch of money to make up for the fact that he'd abandoned us. She asked a lot of questions about Chris. Then, on Friday, Mickey turned up again. He was really angry about the money. He locked me and Billy in Billy's room. I was alone with Billy in the room, and he was okay; he was really surprised that I was in there with him, so we played together, and that was when I realized that it was okay when I locked him in the room by himself, he would just play. I had been a good mother. I wish my mom could have been there just then. Then, Mickey came in the room and told me he was going to take Billy to the potty. Billy was so good at it by then that 1 told Mickey that he didn't really need to take him. But Billy jumped up and ran out of the room, and Mickey locked me back in the room before I could get up. Then I heard Billy screaming and lots and lots of thumps. Mickey swung the door open and threw Billy back in the room. Billy was bleeding and crying. Mickey locked the door again. Billy cried and cried and cried. He wouldn't stop. I couldn't get him to stop. I was never able to get him to stop. I tried to make him go quiet, but he hit me in the chest and told me to go away. I think I blacked out for a minute. Billy was out cold when I woke up from blacking out. Then I got scared and put my hand on his chest. He was breathing, and his heart was beating. I went to the other side of the room and lay down. I don't know how long I slept for. While we were sleeping, Mickey came in and got all of Billy's new things. He also took my new shoes and my new dress from my closet. He threw everything out while I was asleep. Later, when I woke up, Billy was awake too. He was away in the corner. He wasn't crying. Mickey unlocked the door and came and got me and put me into our bed in our bedroom and said it was okay that I had hit Billy, that we all make mistakes. He said he was sorry that he'd thrown away all the stuff. He was just so angry at the idea of another man giving money to his wife and his son. He said he was home for good, that he was sorry. Marriage is for life, and I forgave him. He said he was going to go look for a job in the morning. He also said that we should keep Billy home from school for a few days so that no one would know that I'd hit him because everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes bad things just happen. Mickey went out the next morning, and when I went in to Billy's room he was asleep in the corner where I'd left him and--

No, I didn't check to see if he was alive. I just knew. I put in toys and food and the potty and locked the door and went to work.

I did that for a week.

No, I forgot that his cuts needed to be cleaned.

Yes, I forgot.

I don't want to talk about that day. Can we talk about something else?

I said I don't want to talk about it.

I don't know, just something else. Have you talked to Chris?

I don't know why I'm asking.

Oh. What do you mean?

Custody?

Oh.

No, I'm not fucking ready to talk about that day yet.

Why do we need to talk about it?

I don't give a shit what I said to the lawyer.

No, stop asking me.

Talk about what?

Why?

I don't want help talking about that.

What do you mean? Where's Billy going? They don't tell me anything.

Is he going to my mom's? I don't want him fucking going to my mom's.

That's a mean deal. That's discriminatory. I'm his mother.

So you'll tell me where he's going if I tell you about that day?

Do you promise?

Fine. Barb, the school nurse, came to the house in the middle of the day when we weren't home. She called the police, I guess, and then told them that there was a key under the mat. I didn't know that she knew I put it there so that I wouldn't lose it. She's a nosey bitch. They took Billy out of his room. Then the cops showed up at my work. And they found Mickey somewhere. And my lawyer said they got in touch with Chris.

Yes. That day was May 6th. So where's Billy?

What are the foster parents like? Are they nice to him?

Good. So Chris wants to adopt him from them? I don't really understand.

Oh. Well when all this clears up I can take care of Billy again. He's a little older now so maybe's stopped crying as much.

Why? I got rid of Mickey, that's why. I love him lots, but I see now that he never really liked Billy. So I filed for divorce. As soon as they can get him to sign we can get divorced. I never even knew he did all that other stuff. I guess he'll be in prison for a long time. His parents have lots of money too, but oh no, neither of our parents paid the bail. They paid for us to get married, but they won't pay our bail. Fuckers. So now that Mickey's gone it will be better.

Chris doesn't really know Billy. He abandoned us. Besides, he said he had a girlfriend. She won't want Billy around.

I just know. She'll want children of her own.

Sure, but that was different then. Billy was younger, and he wouldn't stop crying. Now that he's older, and he's been with the foster parents, he probably won't cry as much. I'm a pretty good mother outside of the crying.

I'm his mother.

Chris would probably give me some more money. And I can get a different job. Once all this clears up. I'm really good with people, so I've thought about being an airline hostess. That way I can get to travel. Maybe I'll find a really good place for Billy and me to live. Mickey was an asshole, but I love him and what he said was true, sometimes people make mistakes. I bet you've made mistakes, too. We all make mistakes. Sometimes bad things just happen, you know? Besides, now Billy's older. He probably won't cry as much. It'll be a lot easier to be his mom now that he'll be crying less.
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Author:Packer, C.R.
Publication:Boulevard
Article Type:Short story
Date:Jun 22, 2016
Words:3006
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