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I had a bath in the dark the other night.
Left the radio off.
Mum came home early that day,
I could hear her boots clattering on the tiled floor.
I sank further under the water, and exhaled shame.
It clouded the tiles, and found
The heart which I had drawn only last week, Now dripping and deformed,
Framing my girlfriends name.
I shuddered at the memory,
And sank still lower into the bath.
The heart leered at me. I scrubbed it out, And scratched in the one word I had left
inside, It had swallowed all the other words, and now sat there bloated.
Transferred to the glass it looked obscene.
My mum never let me say it, it was naughty to say The G word.
Time to leave,
A BandB tonight and then,
As I passed my mother, a vicious hiss,
“There goes the martyr.”
I turned, but said nothing, how could I?
I was drained after
Purging apology after apology.
She took a deep breath,
And in the tiny moment before she spoke, A strange alien voice spilled from my
“I love her mum”
For the first time,
She stopped, and looked at me.
I couldn’t help feeling smug, vindictive, She finally understood what silence was
like, It was her turn.
And, as I repeated the words, in my harsh new voice, She shattered, and wept.
Because we both knew,
Is more than her and Dad ever had.
Copyright © Phillip Landers