letting go

 

“Don’t go. Stay.” Charles’s chubby hands clung to his mother’s suit skirt, his big eyes imploring.

“I have to work, sweetheart.”

“You said…”

“I’ll be back.”

“But…”

“Be good.”

“I am!”

“Of course, you are, Charles.” His mother looked at her watch and grabbed the keys. “I love you. I have to go.”

“You promised…” Charles let the skirt go.

 

For Friday Fictioneers – 24 August 2018.

PHOTO PROMPT © Carla Bicomong

Tribute – Carla Bicomong

 

19 thoughts on “letting go

  1. Like all abandoned seven year old kids Charles looked at the passing people with hopeless terror in his face. She was the fourth woman who had taken him under her wing since his dad died three months ago. He also found a familiar brown package in his pocket. The girl approaching him was hard faced and frightening.
    “You must be Charles…” she began, but this time he’d had enough.
    “No, I’m Francis,” he stammered. But though she backed off, he was sure she was following him into the evening crowd. He only had five dollars in his pocket!

    Now you carry it on, Nelkumi. Thanks. Good fun. Anton

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I looked at the photo and thought that Charles mother has died and he is now an adult remembering her promise to stay. Or…..Charles is an immigrant arriving in the USA with his mother and she is removed from him. As they are taking him to the detention cage she tells him she is going to work as she thinks that will make him feel better . She used to leave him to go to work when they lived in Salvador ( Mexico/Nicaragua etc) and she would always come back to him. But now…..?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nelkumi,there’s a famous detective story written some 85 years ago which has every chapter written by a different crime author who has no idea what the denouement is going to be. In the hope this may take off I want to incorporate Anne’s ideas and write the next bit. Then you or one of your followers can carry on the tale! Let’s see how far it can go, Only rule is it must follow on and be credible. I will start in the next comment box 🙂 Anton.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Charles wandered into the evening crowds beside the lake and sighed to himself again as he thought of all the horrible things that might happen to him.

    His parents had often told him of their exciting adventure two years ago when they trudged from their native Colombia across the Panama Canal, through Central America and eventually found an empty goods van on a train which smuggled them into the USA. Young Carlos, as he was then called, saw his parents move from servile job to low paid work of any sort that they could get, while living hand to mouth in search of security. The first awful moment in his life came one day when his mother complained of chest pains after a twelve hour stint cleaning an office block for just fifty bucks. She gave her husband the money but said she had to get to a hospital quick. All Carlos could remember was the hospital refusing to let her in as she had no identity papers, and her collapsing and dying on the sidewalk. That was when he learned the meaning of the word Hispanic.

    His father was a different man from that day on. He mixed only with fellow illegal immigrants from Latin America and Carlos often saw him happy, waving a few hundred dollars at his son, and taking them for a good meal. He was working for a drug smuggling ring and keeping very dangerous company. That was when he came back one night to their small dark room in an old shack and told his son to hide him. He gave Carlos a $100 bill and told him to take care. The little boy did not realise what he meant. The next night he found out. His father staggered into the room clutching his tummy. He was dead within an hour, two bullets in his stomach. Carlos ran screaming into the street where a cop finally asked him what was wrong. The little boy said, in his fast improving English, “My dad’s been shot!”

    After that he was taken to a police station where he could not produce any identity papers and did not even know what they were. Three cops were sitting round a desk playing cards. The chief one drawled, “hearts are trumps, even if he hasn’t got one.” The others laughed.

    “What do we do with this Latino kid, Joe? Take him to the cage and leave him with all the other youngsters we can’t identify or have removed from their parents?” Joe grunted and nodded. And that was when Carlos knew he had to escape. Sliding along the bench he was sitting on he got close to the door and, as the men returned to their game, he made a run for it. Nobody even noticed him.

    In the street he felt safe, but dared not return to his room. The Californian sky was just turning to dusk and he made for a row of shops and eateries. In one he met the first of his four ‘mothers’. She approached him,

    “What’s your name son? Where do you live? I can help you if you’re lonely and lost.” But he was smart and streetwise enough now to be afraid.

    “Charles Brown, lady. I don’t have any parents.” So the sequence began. He was taken to a nice apartment, fed and clothed and asked only one thing. To take a paper package to a friend of the woman who lived a few blocks away. When he returned the woman was gone. Three more followed over the next few weeks but the last seemed much more concerned for him than the others. She was really kind to him and it was more than a week before she gave him a package and left him on a street corner. She had told him to call her Mom.

    “Don’t go. Stay.” Charles’s chubby hands clung to his mother’s suit skirt, his big eyes imploring.

    “I have to work, sweetheart.”

    “You said…”

    “I’ll be back.”

    “But…”

    “Be good.”

    “I am!”

    “Of course, you are, Charles.” His mother looked at her watch and grabbed the keys. “I love you. I have to go.”

    “You promised…” Charles let the skirt go.

    Like all abandoned seven year old kids Charles looked at the passing people with hopeless terror in his face. She was the fourth woman who had taken him under her wing since his dad died three months ago. He also found a familiar brown package in his pocket. The girl approaching him was hard faced and frightening.

    “You must be Charles…” she began, but this time he’d had enough.

    “No, I’m Francis,” he stammered. But though she backed off, he was sure she was following him into the evening crowd. He only had five dollars left in his in his pocket! He hadn’t a clue where he was going or what to do. He was wearing a long sleeved shirt and jeans and still had the brown envelope in his pocket. Then he realised the last ‘mother’ had not told him where to take it. For the first time he wondered what it was. He had left the crowded Marina area and was starting to walk long the lakeside. The hard faced girl, she looked about eighteen or so, had disappeared as far as he could tell and he he sat down on a lakeside seat. Then, just as he was about to investigate the brown package a little girl about his own age sat on the bench beside him. Smiling she introduced herself.

    “Hi, I’m Consuella, although I was born in New Mexico, I’ve never had any family and just escaped from an orphanage run by Cuban refugees. Who are you?”

    Some sixth sense told him to be careful so he altered his name slightly once more. “We seem to be in the same boat. My name’s Francisco and I’ve escaped from the cops. Both my parents are dead, but I’m Colombian and have no papers or anything on me. Only five bucks and a small package.”

    “Hey, let’s see. What do you keep in it?” Carlos thought her inquisitive giggle was somehow suspicious. He didn’t want it to be because he could do with a friend, yet there was something about her he didn’t trust. But he couldn’t put his finger on it, a shame because she was smilingly pretty. Then he did something he’d seen his dad do. He noticed an apparently empty brown envelope under the seat and deliberately took the package out of his pocket and clumsily dropped it.

    “Darn! Hang on I’ll get it out from under the seat.” Consuella didn’t even look at him as he swapped a sealed plastic pouch in his own package for the envelope on the ground, putting the plastic pouch in his jeans’ hip pocket and keeping the envelope in his side pocket. He sat down again and handed the girl the envelope he’d found.

    “Hey, Frankie. Look! Look, Frankie, we’re rich.” And they counted out twenty $100 bills from the envelope Carlos had found.

    “Wow, Frankie meeting you was a double whammy. You have the pouch of smack in your other pocket and we have another $2,000.” However, the little boy was petrified, not because of their good luck but because The hard faced girl was standing behind Consuella and was pointing a pistol at them saying,

    “Ahora lárgate, perdedores. Te ves bien chicos y no quiero dispararte. Tienes un minuto para desaparecer.” His Spanish was still good enough to understand the peril they were in.

    Nelkumi, let someone else carry on if they want to. Ciao. Anton

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Having been one, I saw her as a single working mother and felt her pain at having to leave her child. I assume it was the light of Charles’ life almost literally ebbing away that was your inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

Please leave a message. ご意見、ご感想、お願いします。

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.