Sunday, 14 October 2012
October Flash - Day 12
The Flash Fiction Project at Google+ has something new going on! There will be a visual prompt for every day in October, and I'm going to try to write a (very) short piece for it every day as well. Due to time zone differences, I'll try writing and posting mine early in the morning, so it's a day after the original post for me, but still the same for them.
Let the fun begin! Here is the prompt for today:
"What do you mean, there was no reason to teach him how to swim?!"
"There was no reason to teach him how to swim."
"Every small kid learns it!"
"He never wanted to. He wouldn't go near water, anyway. You should know that, you're his dad!"
"And you, as a mother, should know that kids have to learn how to swim!"
He hadn't wanted to fall.
He had never liked water much; he loathed bathing and he couldn't see a great difference between a tub and a swimming pool.
It had been an accident.
"Please, Mr. and Mrs. Swanson, stop arguing. It was an accident."
"If that dumb cow had taught him how to swim we wouldn't be here now!"
"Why didn't you do it, then?! That would have been a great father-son thing. I'm busy enough raising the boy. Whenever he returns from a weekend with you, all his manners have gone down the drain and I have to start from scratch!"
"Stop it, now! For God's sake, your son almost drowned and instead of being there for him you're going at each other's throats!"
Ben had liked the idea of a getaway with both his parents. He had hoped they would realise how much they still loved each other once they were together on a sunny day... Instead, they had argued. And argued.
The boat had rocked with the force of their argument, and Ben had been thrown overboard.
The moment his head had passed the water's surface, quiet calmness had engulfed him.
"Right, now tell me, how long has he been underwater?"
"Not long, half a minute at most. He fell in and when he didn't come back up, I jumped in straight after him."
"Wait, are you saying he didn't even try to breach the surface again?"
"What were you doing before it happened?"
"You were arguing."
He wished the voices would go away. He had enjoyed the peaceful darkness so much, but there was a light, coming closer, and voices growing louder. They were shouting, he wasn't surprised.
Ben tried to withdraw from the light and the noise.
"How dare you blaming us for the state of our son! Just because your stupid medicine won't work you're looking for a scapegoat. Let me tell you, that won't be me, and neither my wife!"
"No, Sophie, he has gone to far! He should concentrate on saving our son, instead of lecturing us."
"All I'm saying, Mr. Swanson, is that maybe you should consider thinking a bit more about your son..."
"The nerve of him!"
"... and a bit less about yourselves! Have you paid him any attention during your boat trip?"
"Of course, we..."
"No, David, we've only paid attention to each other and our dispute."
The voices were fainter now, but there was a change in tone that troubled Ben. What was it?
Ah... Mommy was crying. Had Daddy hurt her with his sharp words again?
Ben hated when Mommy was crying. It always tore him apart that he couldn't help her. She was even calling his name!
Maybe he should go back to her and comfort her...
"David, what have we done to our son? What have we done?!"
"Nothing, Sophie, it wasn't us."
"Of course it was! Oh, Ben, please forgive us. We love you, Ben... Please, come back. We won't argue any more, I promise."