by Simon Evans
My father was making his speech at the front of our home. Clustered before him were the world’s press – a throng of shouts, clicks and flashes.
My mother paced before me in the living room, one hand clasped to her forehead, the other clutching a ragged tissue. Occasionally a heart rending, pathetic whimper would force itself from her. Even though my Mother, my Father and I were only separated by a few metres it felt like we were worlds apart from each other.
My father’s sing song political diatribe (his work voice) continued outside. A few well-chosen phrases found their way through the open door to plague us, buzzing around in the silence.
“…invasions into my privacy are wholly inappropriate and unacceptable…”
I was lying beneath the small telephone table, underneath the living room bay window, hiding from the cameras which kept banging against the glass. Mother had shut the curtains but the flashing of cameras continued. It was like sheltering in the wake of a retreating thunderstorm – flashes of lightning following inaudible thunder. Alternatively I could also imagine that I was huddled in a bunker, as the flashes of hostile explosions grew ever closer. My terror had formed an icy, pulsating pool in my bladder, which insistently pressed for release.
“…I feel very satisfied with my work since I was elected and I am sure that my constituents would agree…”
I was still clutching a piece from our Ludo set with both hands. I lay on my back and slowly swivelled the blue plastic little chap around and around. It looked like a little blue man with no arms or legs, helplessly falling from a great height. My knees knocked together rhythmically – I needed a wee, I really needed a wee.
“…I have been forced into an increasingly untenable situation…”
Mother and I had spent the afternoon playing board games whilst Father had been in his study with his legal team. Mother had been unable to concentrate during Chess, I had become frustrated by Scrabble, we had settled on Ludo.
“…ultimately I have no regrets, my conscience is clear…”
My head now rested on the carpet, the Ludo man clutched to my chest – I watched my mother’s slippered feet treading their well-worn path from fireplace to sofa, sofa to fireplace.
“…some people have misunderstood what has been said and have jumped to ridiculous conclusions…”
Mother had brought in some soup around mid-afternoon. Neither of us felt hungry but I dutifully ate it nonetheless. I think it was the first time we had ever eaten in the living room, it was like we were under siege, all our usual family routines had suddenly been discontinued.
“…I hope to serve this city in some capacity for years to come and that is why I welcome this inquest…”
The television still played away silently to itself. Mother had turned it on while we were eating – another rarity. When the News had finished she had pressed the mute button and had stood in front of silent adverts for pay day loans and personal injury claim lawyers, tapping her chin with the remote control. I had collected the half empty soup bowls and placed them on the tray. I’d left the tray on the floor – the kitchen seemed a long way away.
“…these allegations are utter fabrications and I strenuously deny any wrong doing…”
When I approached my mother from behind and placed my hand tentatively on the small of her back she had turned and clasped me close – my cheek pressed against her sob shuddering stomach. There were three of us in this embrace – the remote control rested uncomfortably against the back of my neck. Our intimacy had been shattered by a thunderous knock at the door and a series of camera flashes at the window a few seconds later. It was then that Mother had ushered me out of view and pulled the curtains. She had then stood, frozen, while I crawled under the table. Then her troubled pacing had begun.
“…I’m a happily married man and I look forward to spending some time with my wife and son…”
Mother had stopped pacing and was now facing the television set again. I shifted over on to my belly and rested my chin on the Ludo man. Our home was on the TV screen. My father was silently mouthing words I had heard him say about thirty seconds ago. On the far right of the screen was a sliver of our living room window. I could see the edge of our Neighbourhood Watch sticker. I briefly considered squashing my face against the window and then ducking back to watch myself but there was no way I was going to stick my head up to get shot at.
“…I strenuously deny having sexual relations with him …”
Mother sank to her knees. A guttural noise escaped from her that I had never heard before and never wanted to hear again. The hot shame of urine welled beneath me and I lay, paralysed, alone and afraid. Outside, the clicking and flashing reached epic proportions. Hideous shadows rose and fell around the room like short lived ghosts. The flashing from the television illuminated the room a few seconds later. The screen was filled by my father’s face; his eyes looked directly at the camera as if he were talking to me.
“…my family are behind me…”