“Hello, Grandpa,” I say. I’m seeing my very own grandpa. I want to hug him.
He looks angry again as he stares down at me. Then his head snaps back up to look at my mummy. “Why did you bring that little bastard here?” he asks really, really meanly. “Get him out of here. Don’t you ever bring him here again.” Stepping back, he slams the door in our faces.
My mum makes a strange sound and I feel like crying. I’m sad because my mummy is sad. She only makes that noise when she’s upset. I don’t like my grandpa. He’s mean. “Come on, baby,” she says. When her eyes meet mine, I see her tears are already falling. I don’t like seeing my mummy cry.
I’m almost running behind her as she tugs on my hand. She hurries down the driveway and back out into the street. “What’s a bastard?” I ask. I’ve never heard that word before. The way my grandpa said it, it doesn’t sound like a nice word.
My question stops her walking. Wiping her eyes with the back of her hand, she squats down in front of me. “You’re not a bastard,” she says sadly. “Pay no attention to what he said. You’re a beautiful boy.” She gives me a kiss on my forehead. “I’m sorry I brought you here.”
“It’s okay, Mummy,” I say trying real hard to be brave. When my bottom lip starts to quiver and the first tears fall, I know I’ve failed. I’m not brave.
“Oh, baby.” She opens her arms, pulling me tightly against her as I cry into her chest. “You’re not a bastard,” she whispers.
I want to believe her, I do, but why would grandpa say it if it’s not true? I hate that I’m a bastard. Even though I don’t know what it means, I know that this moment and that horrible word are going to stick with me for a long time. Maybe even the rest of my life.
1. Offensive A person born to parents not married to each other.
a. A person considered to be mean or contemptible.
b. A person, especially one considered to be unfortunate.
3. Something that is of irregular, inferior, or dubious origin.
It’s funny how one fleeting moment in time can change you. One stupid, crazy, fucked-up word can define you. I didn’t know it at the time, but after that day things changed—I changed. I was only five years old the day I learnt I was a bastard, and sadly as the years progressed, that’s exactly what I became.
The Present …
Packing the last of the boxes into the trunk of the car, I turn and take one final look at the only place I’ve ever called home. The place I’ve lived for the last seventeen years of my life. Sure it’s just a shitty old apartment block, but it’s my home. It’s all I’ve ever known. I’m fucking pissed they’re forcing me to leave here. I’ve been dreading this day. I hate that I’m going to have to live with that fuckwit my mum now calls her husband.
Thank God it’s only for six months. That’s when I’ll be turning eighteen; finally becoming a legal adult. You can be sure as hell the first thing I do, is blow this godforsaken place. My mum has that cocksucker to look after her now. She doesn’t need me anymore.
She started dating John Shepard six months ago. It was a whirlwind romance you could say. I guess she’s been alone since I was born, so I can’t really blame her for wanting a companion. It’s always been just the two of us. At first I kind of liked the idea of having a father figure around, but my hopes were soon dashed when I got to know Fuckwit. That’s my pet name for him. It suits him perfectly.
I saw the difference in her when she’d come home from being out with him. She was happier. Lighter. Like she was floating or some shit. I liked seeing her like that. She deserved happiness.
They’d been seeing each other for a few months before she brought him to the house to meet me. I was on my best behaviour the first time we met. I did it for her. He was very pleasant until she left the room for a few minutes to get us some drinks. The way he looked me up and down with disdain instantly had my suspicions rising. As time wore on, those looks turned into hateful remarks. In the beginning I’d done nothing to provoke them. I guess he just took a disliking to me for some reason. Maybe because I was a bastard. Who knows? I was used to rejection. I’d faced it my whole life.
My mum’s love has always been unconditional. Even when I acted up, she still loved me, still cared. I’ll be forever grateful for that. She’s been through a lot with me over the years, but her feelings for me never wavered. Not once. I was nothing to Fuckwit, I guess. Just a thorn in his side. Someone standing in the way of him being with my mother.