fiction, life

ABSENT WITHOUT LEAVE

Chris R-0232.jpg Image by Christine Renney

The boy had pushed his dad so far that he had hurled his dentures across the room. They lay broken beside the dog bowl. His dad picked them up and sat at the kitchen table pushing the pieces together, trying to stick them with glue.
The boy kept on pushing. He didn’t really know very much about anything; he was just a numb blonde kid with bad skin and braces. He had once threatened his dad with a knife but on this occasion the boy’s mum pulls them apart and no weapons are involved other than their fists.

At seventeen the boy’s dad had enlisted in the Army. He had begged and pleaded with his own dad until at last the old man, worn down, signed the papers.

The boy’s dad was posted to Germany and he had learned to drive on the Autobahn. But he didn’t fit, wasn’t suited and so the boy’s dad had headed for home. Just like that.

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11 thoughts on “ABSENT WITHOUT LEAVE

  1. This is strange story, Mark, but in a good way. A tale of control and needing to be controlled; of being lost and wanting to belong; of approval and rebellion. Third read and still intrigued.

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  2. This reminds me of families I’ve known that stubbornly run aground together, through the generations, out of touch and seemingly unable to move in any direction beyond push and shove. Poverty comes in many shapes and sizes. The title is perfect Mark. So is Chris’s photo.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. the image of the dentures landing near the dog’s bowl and then the phrase “he was just a numb blonde kid with bad skin and braces” stay with me. that the boy is angry enough to break his father’s dentures yet still seems “numb” tells me how much anger the boy is trying to suppress. seems real to me.

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