Boisterous Boys

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
A possessive mother and the resulting tragedy.

Submitted: January 25, 2015

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Submitted: January 25, 2015

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BOISTEROUS BOYS

Kyle, the youngest of the three sons of Alec and Stacey, banged his way down the stairs to the kitchen. He grabbed a packet of biscuits and a glass of milk, which he threw down his throat, and then banged his way out of the back door with his bike and the family dog, and off they went to the park.

“Can’t he be just a bit quieter on a Saturday morning?” Alec complained to his wife, Stacey, as he got out of bed unwillingly.

Alec had the idea in his head that Saturday mornings were for a good lie-in, and then spend the rest of the day doing relaxing things, like watching sport on television or at a match. His wife, Stacey, opened her eyes and also got out of the marital bed. “Why are you always so grumpy? Kyle is the youngest, and he’s a good boy. You’ve got no right to criticize him. I’m going to make some breakfast. Is there anything special you’d like?”

Alec made no reply. He knew that as soon as the other two sons appeared, Stacey would begin making breakfast for them, and forget about his. He had a shower, dressed in his weekend clothes, and went down to the kitchen, which still bore signs of their supper the night before. The sink held dirty mugs and plates. Alec couldn’t stand it, he switched on the hot water and filled the sink with washing up liquid, and cleaned all the mess up. He then tidied everything away and swept the floor. Before leaving the kitchen, he gave a look round, and seeing that it looked all clean and tidy, he left. Stacey was coming down the stairs just then, and he said to her, “The kitchen is as it should be. I don’t expect it to be untidy when I return.”

Stacey said, “Where are you going?”

“You know where I’m going, and that’s to have breakfast in peace and quiet.”

“I promised Kyle I’d drive him to his match this morning.”

“Well enjoy yourself. There are times, Stacey, when I’d like us to have a weekend by ourselves, without your having to be on chauffeur duty. Still, it’s what you decided to do, it was your choice. I can’t believe that this devotion to children happens in every home. See you later,” and with these words, Alec left the house, got into his car, and drove off to the very upmarket shopping centre, where he would spend the rest of Saturday morning, shopping and having breakfast and lunch before returning to the turbulent household he blamed his wife for.

 

Meanwhile, Stacey, who ignored Alec and his comments, bustled about in the kitchen, preparing breakfasts for her three boys.

“Mum, we have to be at the ground before eleven. Can you hurry up a bit?” Jason, the first son, said.

Stacey was pushing herself to tidy up the kitchen and put some make-up on at the same time, her demanding sons were all shouting at the same time. “I’m doing my best to leave everything as your father left it, so try and be patient.”

Her words fell on deaf ears, and a lament came from Kyle, who moaned, saying, “Mum, you’re not fair. I took Spot for a good long walk to save time, and here you are messing about in the kitchen when we should be on the road. You know how far it is to the ground, and the coach doesn’t like us to be late.”

Stacey’s life was caught up with being torn between her husband and her sons. She wanted to leave the kitchen tidy, as she should, but there were three boys she loved to bits, and for her, their needs were more important than her own. She finished off the kitchen, and grabbing a warm jacket, ran out to the four-wheel-drive she used to ferry her boys about. They all got in, moaning and groaning about the time, and Stacey saw that the petrol gauge registered ‘nearly empty’. She said nothing to the boys in order to avoid more moaning. There was a petrol station on the way to the football club where they all trained and played, she would stop there. The traffic was not too bad, being a Saturday morning, and she thought that Alec was right about one thing, it would be lovely to have a lie-in on a Saturday morning, instead of having to keep to a tight timetable.

 

Alec drove into the centre where he usually spent Saturday mornings. He loved the fact he was alone and could wander into all the shops and cafes without being harassed by wife and children. He had noticed that he was not the only man alone in the centre. There must be more ignored married males than anyone really knows or cares about, he thought.

The weekend before, both Stacey and Alec had looked up on the internet ideas for the next summer holidays. They had also made a decision on the amount of money to be spent. Alec knew that the chosen resort would have to be where there was a lot of action for the boys. He and Stacey had thought of a few places, but hadn’t made a definite decision yet, as it seemed there was still sufficient time before a deposit had to be paid.

Alec was quite happy walking around the centre. He went into his favourite café and ordered a large breakfast with all the trimmings, the sort he would have preferred having at home. Fat chance! A man he recognized as being one of the regulars like himself, greeted him, “Hello, Alec. Boys at football again?”

“Hello, Terry. You’re right, of course. How’s your home life coming along?”

Terry was a divorced man, who was on the verge of emigrating to Australia to begin a new life, after his ex-wife had made a declaration that she wasn’t in love with him any more. Terry had been shocked beyond belief, and when she had insisted on a divorce, he let her have it. He had also said to his mother, “She’s not getting any money off me. I prefer to go to prison.” Terry’s mother saw how he was suffering and gave him all her support. The judge fixed a sum he was supposed to pay his ex for her and their daughter’s maintenance, but Terry had stayed firm and didn’t pay up. “She’s getting a house I paid for, what more does she want, my blood too?”

When Terry met Alec, he was well over the divorce and had remained firm about what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. He had never made any effort to get in touch with his daughter, and let his wife have the lot. He said it was a sharp break. “I’m not going to be the weekend father. If she thinks so, then she’ll be wrong. I hope that one day the child will ask her what went wrong, or on the other hand, maybe the child won’t ask.”

“How much longer will it be before you leave the country?” Alec asked his friend.

“I’ll be off in a couple of weeks. I’ve got a job to go to, so I’ll be all right financially. I’m really looking forward to the journey and the opportunity of a new life. I don’t know whether I’ll ever be able to trust another woman, but you never know. If one does come along, I can’t see me getting married again.”

“Have a coffee with me?”

“Sorry, but I’m meeting my mother, who’s looking for a new handbag. She’s coming with me. According to her, she always wanted to go to Australia, and as she has her own pension and savings, there are no problems for her. She isn’t after working, only looking after me.”

Alec laughed at that. He wondered what his parents would say if he did the same.

 

Stacey was standing shivering on the sidelines with all the other mums and dads. There wasn’t a cheery face among them, any smiles or grins were unnatural and forced. Standing in mud every weekend was not anyone’s idea of a fun-time, but it was for the boys, who enjoyed it so much. When Stacey was standing watching the match, she thought about where they could spend the school holidays. She knew that Alec would be furious if the boys had any kind of training during the summer.

The coach went across to Stacey, and said, “Mrs Cooper, Kyle needs to practise a few hours more a week, let’s say on Tuesday and Thursday. That’ll get him up to the level of the rest of the team.”

“I thought he was already up to their level, and that was why he’d been accepted into it,” Stacey stated.

“He was the best of a not-so-good bunch when tested, but now that he’s in, he has to prove himself good enough to be in the team. So, unless you want to disappoint him, I suggest you come here next Tuesday and Thursday.”

Stacey called to her three sons and they walked to the car. “Do you know, Kyle, that you have to train an extra two days a week?”

“Yes, Mum, isn’t it great?” Kyle answered.

“The problem is that….” Stacey wasn’t allowed to finish what she wanted to say.

“There’s no problem, you can drive me over, and while Jason and Brandon are practising, I’ll be there too.”

“I’m worried about your school work. The teacher says you fall asleep in class, and when you’re apparently awake you don’t do anything. You’ve been put down as a passive pupil. That’s not a very good thing at your age to have on your report. I’m not sure about the extra training, to be honest with you, and I can’t imagine what your father will say.”

“He won’t say anything. He never does,” Jason, the first son, commented.

The three brothers were secure that Stacey would never let them down, and so weren’t worried about what their father would think, as he never said anything.

Of course, Alec said nothing about the extra training. He left it to Stacey to drive them to the grounds.

 

One day Stacey felt quite ill, and asked her mother, Lulu, to go with her to the hospital. On arriving, she was taken into a consulting room, where she was given a general check-up.

“Mrs Cooper, you’ll get the results in a week or so,” a nurse told Stacey.

Stacey and Lulu went to a café for lunch, and then Stacey left, saying, “Mum, I have to go and get some shopping. The boys will expect their food to be on the table when they come home. Tonight is training night.”

“I was given to believe that in your house every night was training night,” Lulu said.

“It’s for the boys. Perhaps one of them will be famous, you never know,” Stacey said to her mother.

“How are their studies coming along?” Lulu asked.

“Well, they’re not the best students, but they’re good at sports.”

Lulu, just like Alec, said nothing. There was no point. “I hope that check-up was all right. See you next week.”

“Yes. See you.” Stacey went indoors, and Lulu drove off home.

 

Stacey faced the mess her sons and the dog had left behind them. She began tidying up and putting things away. She also felt very tired, and wondered whether it would be of any use to ask Alec to take the boys to training. And then she realized that he would insist on seeing their homework first, to see it was correct. What Alec didn’t know, because Stacey had never told him, was that they practically never did their homework, due to being so exhausted after the training, the only thing the boys were fit for, was a hot shower and bed.

 

After several days, Stacey received news from the hospital, asking her to go back for another test. She rang her mother, asking her to go with her. Lulu said that she would take her on the day and at the time recommended in the letter.

Mother and daughter arrived at the outpatients punctually, and silently waited along with others. A good half hour after entering the waiting area, Stacey was called to enter the doctor’s consultancy. She sat down, and the doctor came straight to the point.

“Mrs Cooper, you have cancer, and need to have an operation. At the moment it’s operable, so you shouldn’t wait. When it’s over, we’ll have to see how you’re doing, to decide whether or not you need chemotherapy.”

Stacey was dumbstruck, and was unable to take in what the doctor was saying to her.

Lulu asked, “When should my daughter have the operation?”

“She can have it in two weeks’ time. To delay, would make the treatment take longer.”

Stacey asked, “Is it sure, I‘ve got what you say?” She was incapable of saying ‘the word’.

“Yes, I’m afraid so. You’ve got a small tumour, that for the moment is possible to remove, but it will grow, and when it does you’ll be in a worse state than you are now. I suggest you and your mother see the registrar to book a date for the op. Good morning.”

 

Lulu stared at the closed door behind them. “That was a bit short and sharp, wasn’t it?”

Stacey said to her mother, “I’m worried about the boys. I hope they will be able to cope without me.”

“You’ve got a husband for that. Let him get on with it. They’ll be all right.”

 

Alec was very worried about Stacey when she told him that she would need an operation. He didn’t know how the boys were going to take the absence of their mother. All three of them were moaning, “Who’s going to take us to train?”

“How can you be so selfish when your mother is so ill?” Alec shouted at them.

“Don’t get angry with them, they’re not used to illness, and certainly not me being ill. Please, don’t worry boys, I’ll be out of hospital soon, and everything will be back to normal. I promise,” Stacey told them.

 

Two weeks later, Stacey was admitted to hospital, with Lulu and Alec at her side. The boys were allowed to visit every evening for a short while. During the time Stacey was in hospital, Lulu went round the house to tidy up and prepare the food.

One evening, Lulu had made Shepherd’s pie. Jason and Brandon arrived home with Kyle in tow. The first two grabbed the plates that their grandmother had just heaped up, and a can of orange from the fridge.

Kyle looked at the food on the plate, and declared, “I’m not eating that.” He took the plate full of food and emptied the contents into the rubbish bin. The plate was thrown into the sink. Kyle walked to the freezer, took out a frozen pizza and put it in the microwave. Imitating his brothers, he took out a can of drink from the fridge, and when the microwave told him the pizza was done, he took the plate and the can into the living-room, and joined his brothers on the sofa, where they were eating and watching sports on the television. Lulu looked at her son-in-law and said, “Exert yourself, Alec.”

Her words fell on deaf ears. Alec had exerted himself at the beginning when there was only one boy, but Stacey had never let him take any kind of control.

 

Lulu let herself out of the house and took the rest of the Shepherd’s pie home. A few days later Alec rang her to say Stacey was coming home on the Friday morning. On the Wednesday, Lulu went to Stacey’s house to see if it needed any tidying up. The worst scenario for anyone who’s been in hospital is to go back to an untidy house. Lulu remembered the boys eating and watching television sitting on the sofa instead of at the table. What she saw on entering, remained in her mind for the rest of her life. There was not one space in the hall; coats, jackets and boots were strewn all over it. The living-room was a real pit. The sofa was covered in bits of crisps, bread, and ketchup. Greasy finger-marks were on the arms of the sofa and the armchairs. Lulu felt like bursting into tears. She remembered a cleaning company a friend had used not long ago. She had put the number in her mobile, just in case, and now was an emergency. Lulu rang them, asking them if they could go round on the Thursday to clean up the whole place. They said they could.

 

On the Thursday, the day before Stacey would leave the hospital, Lulu waited outside Stacey’s home for the cleaners to arrive. A bright green van stopped outside Stacey’s, and four men got out with machines and ladders. Lulu opened the front door and let them in. They knew what to do and set about it. Lulu went out with the dog to get him out of the way. The head of the group said to Lulu, “We’ll be a couple of hours at least. Is there a list of things you want done especially?”

“Yes, you can throw all those sports magazines away. They never actually read anything, not even if it’s about sports. I shan’t be long. I’m taking the dog for a walk. The washing machine is on. I’ll be back soon enough, and I’ll dry everything in the tumble dryer.”

 

Two of the men began upstairs, and cleaned the bedrooms and the bathroom. All the paint work was wiped over, and the windows too, both inside and out. The extra-strong vacuum cleaner removed the maximum dirt from the fitted carpets in the bedrooms and the landing. Downstairs, the other two men cleaned and polished furniture. The windows were also cleaned both sides. The two men came down from upstairs, and cleaned the mud from the patio and swept the garden path. By the time Lulu returned, the house and garden were immaculate. She put the bed linen into the empty washing machine, while the tumbler was drying the clothes. At lunchtime, the house was as it should have always been, in Lulu’s opinion. There was nothing out of place. Lulu paid the men, and gave them a handsome tip. She got into her car and drove home.

 

On Friday morning, Alec went to the hospital to fetch Stacey home. The doctor’s parting words were, “Your wife needs a good rest, no running around. She has to get used to the idea that she is not a well woman. She will be eventually, but not for a while.”

Alec said, “Whatever you say, Doctor. Did you hear that, Stacey?”

Stacey didn’t feel up to speaking, she had missed her boys too much to take any notice of the doctor’s words. The couple drove home in silence.

 

“I’m so proud of you and the boys for giving me such a lovely coming-home surprise. It’s so tidy. I can’t believe it’s true.” Stacey settled herself on the incredibly clean and crisp-clear sofa, and closed her eyes. Alec didn’t even bother to guess who had cleaned the house. Lulu rang to see how her daughter was. Stacey was asleep, and Alec told Lulu, “She’s fine, and is quite positive about everything. When shall we see you?”

“I might pop over tomorrow. Anyway, on Sunday there’s a family lunch to celebrate her coming out of hospital.”

“Thanks. I’ll let her know.”

The boys got in at that moment and woke their mother up with their yelling and screaming at seeing her back with them.

“Now you’re back, you can take us to the training sessions again,” Jason declared to his worn-out mother.

 

The following day was Saturday, and the boys were after their mother to drive them to training and matches. Alec offered to take them, “I’ll take you to training. Your mother is supposed to be resting, not running around after you lot. Come on, we’ll go in my car.”

“We’re not going with you, we want Mum. She’ll take us. We don’t need you to take us, now that she’s home,” Kyle said, pushing his father out of the way.

Stacey stood up, and said in a very tired voice, “Oh. All right, I’ll take you. But don’t mess me around. After the match and training we return straight home. Understood?”

“Yes, Mum,” the three chorused as they ran out to their mother’s car.

 

Alec wondered what on earth Stacey was doing with her health. He got into his car and drove over to the shopping centre, and met up with Terry, who would be going to Australia with his mother the next weekend. He had met that doughty lady, and thought that Terry was lucky to have her going with him.

“How’s Stacey? She’s out of hospital, isn’t she?” Terry asked.

“Yes, she is, and out of her mind. She’s gone back to her old ways of driving the boys to training and matches. She only came out yesterday. I can’t even contemplate what’s going to happen in my house. There’s just so much out of control.”

Terry patted Alec on his shoulder, and said, “It’s always the darkest hour before the dawn. You have to hang in there for as long as you can. I’ll let you know how we’re getting on down-under. OK?”

“Yes, that’ll be fine,” Alec responded, knowing he’d miss his Saturday morning conversations with Terry.

 

Alec made up his mind about Sunday’s activities, as he saw Stacey was in no state to do anything. He told her that he wanted to go with her and the boys to see the match. If Stacey was surprised, she made no reference to Alec’s general lack of interest in the boys’ sports. Alec drove Stacey’s car to give her a rest. The boys weren’t at all keen on their father’s presence, as he had never shown much interest.

 

On Sunday at lunchtime, Lulu’s family were all at Stacey’s favourite restaurant. Lunch was earlier than usual, as Stacey had told her mother that the boys had to play in a match that afternoon. At just after one o’clock, before the puddings were to be served, the boys jumped up, saying they had to leave for the grounds where the match was to be played, and Stacey and Alec got up to follow them. Lulu was highly offended, and said to Stacey, “I wouldn’t have suggested a lunch with you if I’d known about the match. This lunch was for you, and I don’t see any appreciation at all.”

“The boys’ have a match, and the time can’t be changed just because of a lunch,” Stacey said.

“I hope you enjoy yourselves hanging around in the rain,” Lulu answered, rather unkindly.

 

The rest of the family stayed for the puddings, the chocolates, and the coffee. Nobody mentioned Stacey’s behaviour, and they dedicated themselves to making the most of the afternoon.

 

The rain bucketed down onto the football pitch, which was soon a mud bath. The boys were playing in water with nothing solid under their feet. In spite of the dreadful conditions, they all stayed till the match was over. The boys and all the other players were ages in the showers cleaning off the mud. Their football gear was placed into plastic bags to be washed at home. Stacey, Alec, and the three, didn’t get home till it was nearly supper time. The sky was dark, and it was still raining. They were all in a bad mood. Stacey was making an effort to remain cheerful, but the boys weren’t buying it, and demanded fish’n’chips and coca cola for their supper. Alec got out of the car and got the fish’n’chips from a chipper they were passing. The boys grabbed at the parcel and ate inside the car, which reeked of fish, chips, salt, and vinegar in no time at all. It was the same as always - what the boys wanted, they got. What annoyed Alec was, that they couldn’t wait to get home but had to eat in the car, something he had always prohibited. Stacey said nothing about the boys’ bad behaviour. Alec felt lonelier and sadder than ever, wondering how things had come to such a bad situation.

 

Throughout the following days, Stacey drove the boys to training. There were two matches for the following weekend, and the boys had already informed their mother that she would be on chauffeur duty.

 

Lulu paid a visit on the Wednesday, and saw how bad the house looked, after the men had done such a good job. She felt it was Alec’s job to get a cleaning company in, if he wanted it clean and tidy again.

Stacey was pale, in pain, and was lying down on the sofa. The boys were moaning that their magazines were missing, and that their clothes were not where they had left them. “Alec must have had a blitz in here, before I came out of hospital.”

“He must have done,” Lulu answered. She knew where the boys left their clothes - and that was on the floor. Stacey had always tidied up after them, and was now paying the price. Lulu only knew that something awful was about to take place.

 

On Thursday, Lulu rang her daughter to ask her how she was. Stacey said, “Mum, I feel awfully tired. Could you take me to the hospital tomorrow. I wonder if anything has gone wrong.”

“It’s all right. I’ll take you. Does Alec know?”

“No, he doesn’t. I’ll ring him from hospital if I have to stay in, and if not, then he won’t ever have to know, will he?”

Lulu sighed, “No, I suppose he won’t. I’ll pick you up tomorrow, when they’ve all gone out.”

 

On Friday, Stacey and Lulu got to the hospital quite early, and as Stacey had already rung to tell them she felt bad, she was admitted straightaway. Lulu had taken a bag to put Stacey’s outdoor clothes in. Stacey got dressed in pyjamas and bed socks. A nurse came out of the room and said to Lulu, “You can go in now, your daughter is in bed. She says she’s very tired.”

“Thank you. I shan’t stay too long. Just long enough to let her feel safe.”

Lulu opened the door to Stacey’s room, and made her way gently to her daughter’s bedside. Stacey looked wasted and worn. There was no strength left in her. Lulu sat down on a chair by Stacey’s side, and held her hand. It felt weak. Lulu was reminded of holding Stacey’s hand when she was small and ill with measles and mumps. Stacey spoke, “Mum, thank you.”

“You don’t have to thank me for anything. I’m your mother, and there’s nothing left to say.”

And there was nothing left to say. Stacey made a slight noise, and she had gone. Lulu couldn’t believe it. She stood up and rang a buzzer. A doctor and nurses went straight away, and Lulu went outside the room. The doctor left the room, and outside he spoke to Lulu. “Your daughter is dead. We’re not surprised. She was in a bad way. Wasn’t she supposed to be resting?”

“She directed her life around her sons, and she hasn’t had any rest since she left hospital. Now I’ll have to ring her husband and let him know.”

 

Lulu rang Alec, who was at work. Stacey hadn’t told him she felt so bad, or that she was going to the hospital to see how she was. Lulu broke the tragic news to him.

“I’d better get over to the hospital to see what’s going on.”

“I’ve nothing more to do here, so I’m going home. I suddenly feel very old. Be seeing you, Alec.”

“Yes, thanks a lot. Now I’ll have to tell the boys. I can’t imagine how they’ll take it.”

 

I can, thought Lulu. They’ll be wondering who is going to take them training, and it won’t be Alec.

 

Alec saw the direction the boys were going in, and decided what to do. First of all he had to sell the house, but not in the filthy and untidy state it was in. He sent the boys to live with his parents, telling them that it was while he was having the place decorated. The furniture was in no way good enough to sell, so he threw it away. The decorators painted the house from top to bottom in white, and then the kitchen and bathroom and cloakroom were refurbished. When it was all done and the garden tidied up as well, Alec put it on the market. The estate agent who was in charge of selling it, said it shouldn’t take long, as it was in excellent condition. Alec thought that it was better to sell it, than have the boys going back in and wrecking it all over again.

 

Lulu took it into her head one day, to go and see her late daughter’s house. Her surprise was unimaginable when she saw the For Sale notice in the front garden, which had been paved over, with two large stone pots standing on it. Lulu peered through the front-room window and saw how clean it was, and wondered why Stacey had ever let it get into such a mess. That evening Lulu rang Alec and asked him how he was handling the boys, and he told her they were staying with his parents while he was getting everything sorted out. Alec’s parents had accepted taking in the dog as well as the boys, leaving Alec free to do what he wanted with the rest of his life.

 

The boys left nobody in any doubt where their priorities lay, and so, Alec sold the house, gave money to his parents towards the boys’ keep, and the rest for going to Australia. Through Terry, he had got a new job, and for the first time in years, he felt like he was his own man. Alec told the boys and his parents he would send for them when he was set up, but they all knew they were only words.

 

Stacey was soon a memory, not a bad one, nevertheless, a memory. It wasn’t long before he forgot what she had looked like, and he had forgotten the boys, too, even though his parents sent him photos of them.

 

Alec’s father now ferried them from one sports event to another. The boys’ grandparents had more control over them than Stacey and Alec had exercised, and appeared to enjoy getting them into line, too.

 

Alec and Terry got in with a new group of friends, men and women, and what with the sunshine, sea, and good food, there were no regrets - only a new life.

 


© Copyright 2019 Georgina V Solly. All rights reserved.

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