The Rancourous Citizen
He had always believed that grown ups shouldn’t cry, they should be strong— but all he wanted to do at that moment was cry his eyes out. He forced himself not to though, shedding only one solitary tear. A tear that felt as heavy as gold. As heavy and burdened as his aching heart. It fell on to his unconscious son’s feeble hand with a silent plop, leaving a wet print of emotion behind. Taking in a deep breath, the father searched his son’s shrunken face for any sign of movement. There was none. The boy lay unmoving apart from the weak rising and falling of his chest. His strong handsome features so carefully situated were drawn back into a distant, empty frown and his thin lips were slightly parted as if trying to suck in desperate mouthfuls of air. But he can’t, the man thought resentfully, practically glaring at the thin tubes going down the boy’s mouth and nose. If he’s taken of that machine, he’ll . . . he’ll shrivel away and die. The thought of that was too much to bear. The man clasped his son’s hand in an almost desperate plea. “Tommy!” his voice sounded small, lost in the huge hospital room. “Can you hear me?” He waited, but he knew his actions were in vain. Tommy wouldn’t reply. Maybe never— because of me, he thought guilt welling up once again inside him. Never! He sighed. Never was a long time. He drowned himself in a flood of guilt as he felt the memory of yesterday come surging back. Mr. Sutton stood stiffly, clenching his jaw, the temples on his face mowing uncontrollably as he watched the two police cars drive away. He whirled around to face his son, who was shifting his weight from one foot to the other uneasily and staring indignantly at the floor. “Why’d you do it?” he asked quietly, his voice almost a whisper as he tried to keep back the flood of anger that was threatening to erupt any second. “Huh?” Tommy shrugged offhandedly, staring at everything but his father. He glared out with dull, uninterested eyes from under long eyelashes. The gold stud in his left ear shone blatantly in the glimmering sunlight of the afternoon outside the window, which seemingly frustrated Mr. Sutton even more as he had completely forbidden his son to pierce his ear. But Tommy was uncontrollable and hardly ever listened. The way he wasn’t now, he could tell. “I dunno.” Tommy finally replied, his voice flat. “You ‘dunno’” Mr., Sutton repeated slowly and deliberately. “You walk into a shop, get arrested for shop lifting, cheeking and insulting the police and .
. . you ‘dunno’?” “I only took a packet of fags,” Tommy protested, in the same flat tone. “Only!” Mr. Sutton flared up at his son’s ignorance. “God boy! Listen to your self! You could have been put in the juvenile for what you did today! Can’t you see that? Cant you for once just—“ Tommy yelling, defiantly, cut him off. “Look lay off me, okay! I said I was sorry! Isn’t that enough?” He drew in a deep breath. “ But what do you care anyway. You’re always busy. You never have time for anything but your stupid job!” His mouth trembled, and tears were beginning to stream down his face. “Ever since Mum d-died the only thing you really care about is money! Not me, or . . . or any one else, just your job and money!” His dad looked shocked. “Now Tommy you know that’s not—“ Tommy shook his head disgustedly. “Don’t try and deny it. You know everything I said is true.” He sniffed, brushing away a tear. “And I’m not a little kid anymore!” He barged past his father and ran out of the house slamming the door shut. Mr. Sutton didn’t follow his son. He sunk to his knees with his head in his hands. Tommy’s sudden out burst had completely stunned him. He didn’t know what to think. He sighed. But Tommy would be back he was sure of it. He was wrong. Six hours later he got a telephone call. “Hello, Mr. Sutton?” “Yes?” “Your son, Thomas. He—“ Mr. Sutton gripped the phone tightly, an uneasy feeling building up inside him. “What? What’s wrong!”? “Well I’m afraid, there’s been an accident.” “What kind of an accident?” Mr. Sutton’s heart almost leaped into his throat. ‘’Your son is unconscious. He was involved in a car accident!” The phone dropped from his hand with a startled cry. Tommy stirred on the hospital bed, letting out a soft moan. The mourning father looked up in surprise. His son’s eyes were beginning to open. They did, slowly searching the room and finally fixing on his fathers astonished face. He wheezed softly, squinting his eyes. Then he spoke. Faintly. “Dad?” He whispered. “Can you teach me how to drive?”