Breathing Space

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
Jason has a row with his father.

Submitted: February 18, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: February 18, 2017



Breathing Space


Jason flung his backpack onto his bed and grabbed things to quickly stuff inside it. It wasn’t massive and it wasn’t long before it was full almost to bursting. He pulled on his boots, shrugged on his jacket and stuffed what cash he had into his pocket. As a last minute thought he grabbed his phone, headphones already attached, and headed for his bedroom door.


Not even looking back into his room, he pulled the door closed and hit the stairs at a run. Jason just hoped he was going to be able to make it out of the house before bumping into any of his family. Especially his father. The front door was almost straight ahead of the stairs and the way was clear. He reached the lock, turned it so the door would open and even though he heard his mother call his name he slammed it shut and began to run.


The direction didn’t matter, just so long as he got away, put some distance between himself and this house. He raced across the road, turned left and kept going. Jason was no long distance runner though, so slowed his pace to a jog. If he headed away from the roads, into the parkland, his parents would not be able to follow him in the car. It was a fair distance but if he could just keep himself going he’d make it there, and then he’d be able to find somewhere safe where he could sit and think.


It was evening and the sky was beginning to darken, especially with the clouds building up. It had to rain, of course. Jason knew he should not have expected anything else. His jacket would give some protection while it stayed at just a drizzle but if it turned into a downpour it would be next to useless. And all the things he’d put in his backpack would get soaked as well. Nothing he could do about it now though. There was no way he was going to head back to that house.


The park was not far now. The gates would probably be locked but there were plenty of other ways in. Jason decided to head left, not even try the gate. If he bumped into the park keeper it could lead to awkward questions and he didn’t want to answer anything. Jason was fourteen but was big enough to pass as a bit older, at least with someone he did not know, but he was well aware that his appearance could well shout out ‘runaway’ to any adult he met.


The fence was easy to scale and Jason was up and over it in seconds. He landed in grass but made his way directly to one of the paths that made their way around and through the park. He knew exactly where he wanted to go; a bench by the river but well away from the road. He would not be seen from a passing car there, he would be safe to sit and think.


Jason sat on the bench, pulled his backpack on to his lap and rested his chin on top of it as he stared hard at the water. He could feel his eyes stinging but he would not cry. He was a teenager, not a child. And the anger was still there sufficiently to hold the tears in check.


It was hard to remember what the row had been about, at least initially. Was it his father that made the first insult or was it Jason, himself? He tried to think, to focus on the beginning, but he couldn’t get past how quickly things had escalated. He and his father had faced each other, shouting, swearing, putting each other down. Then it had turned even nastier; making threats, making fists, although no punches were actually exchanged. His father had paused to take a breath and Jason had taken advantage of that, making his escape up to his bedroom where he had packed his bag.


His bag! Of course he had not put any real thought into what went into it. In fact, he had no idea just what he had brought with him. He undid the zip and rummaged around inside it. A hoodie, couple of t.shirts and a pair of sweat pants. A book that was certainly not one of his favourites, a torch with low batteries, and his notebook computer. Jason rummaged around some more and was exasperated to find he’d not even packed the charger, either for that or for his phone.


The battery wasn’t too low on his phone though so he turned on some music and looked out across the river. What was he going to do? Where was he going to go? He’d got a few friends all right, but none that he was close enough to that would let him stay with them for a couple of days. And not only that but their parents would only call his.


Jason reached into his pocket and pulled out his money. If only he hadn’t spent so much last week! Now he had the grand total of £12.62. He was not stupid, he knew that would not even pay for a night in the cheapest hotel he could find. It certainly wouldn’t cover train fares to the city or for a bus ride all the way there, come to that.


Jason sat and stared at the water. How deep was it? Should he jump and be done with it all? He stood up and walked slowly towards the river bank, stopped at the edge and stared down in to the water. He could not see the bottom but it was quite dark and hard to see much at all.


He did not really register the footsteps as they approached him. Or was it just that he chose to ignore them. He knew very well that it could be a mugger – there had been several attacks in the park recently – but Jason did not think so. Those footsteps sounded familiar.


Come on home with me, Jason,” his mother said. “Your Dad’s sorry, and I know you are too.”


Jason carried on staring at the river. He did not want to show his mother how close he had come to jumping; he did not want to show her how relieved he was by her arrival. He needed a few moments to compose himself.


Come on, Jason. We’ll stop by, pick up a pizza, and the two of you can CALMLY talk it out. At least give it a try!”


What other choice did he have? Jason turned, walked back to the bench to retrieve his backpack, and followed his mother through the park and back to the car. It was worth a try, an attempt to patch things up. And anyway, what other choice did he have?

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