Every second weekend and half the school holidays

I sit with dad and my younger brother at the Laundromat. It’s 8pm on a Sunday night. Tomorrow we are back at mums. It’s been a wet weekend. Dad digs deep in his pocket for another $1 for the dryer. Dad pulls us boys close and apologises that we wont have money for an ice-cream tonight. He knows there will be hell to pay if we bring back dirty clothes to mums.

 I sit with mum in the foyer of the Police station, just like we do every second Friday afternoon. Every time that door opens, my heart quickens – will it be dad? It sinks as soon as the door closes and he’s not walking through the door. I know it’s been a few months now, but I just know one day he’ll come and get me for the weekend.

“Do I have to go?” I beg mum “It’s so boring at dad’s on the holidays, can’t I just go to Nannas?”.
Mum looks down at me “Sorry honey, but you need to spend time with your dad. He loves you a lot and you need to see him” I can tell she is trying to be as supportive as she can. At least she’s not saying bad things, like she used to. 
“But all I do is spend time with his new wife and their baby” I plead.
“Sorry darling, but you have to go”.

“I’m off to mums” I yell out to dad, grabbing my bag.
“Are you staying there overnight?” dad chimes from the kitchen.
“Nup. Her boyfriend is over and you know he gives me the creeps. I’m just going over to use the internet”.
“Take care sweets, Dinner at 7. Take care”
For some reason, mum & dad are just nicer when they are apart.

“Please don’t argue with dad today, please” I implore mum “Just for once, it’s my graduation”. She always seems to cause a scene when dad is around. It’s been years, but she’s still angry. Why cant she just be a grown up for once? We get out of the car. She sees dad. I see the red building up in her.

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2 comments

  1. Rosie

    I see this all the time too, dads in restaurants, dads in the library, dad at the park … With a toddler or a couple of children … Then mum turns up. No one says anything much but the children are handed over, usually without a fuss. They give dad a cuddle and a kiss and walk off with mum. It seems so sad.
    It’s a scenario that seems to be played out all over town every Friday and Sunday night. Obviously impacted you too Pete, well done.

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