Mark  Edwards

“about a boiled egg?’ He pulled a face. ‘Gross. What happened to that box of Frosties?’ I washed the green weed stains from my hands with my back to my eleven-year-old son. ‘I threw them out. There was a thing in the paper about sugary cereals and kids’ teeth. Do you know how many—?’ Ollie cut me off with a trademark groan of disgust. His teeth weren’t really my primary concern. Since moving here last year, while I had shed twelve or thirteen pounds thanks to the stress of it all, Ollie had piled on the weight. Megan always made sure he ate healthily, kept snacks out of reach, told him to eat an apple if he was hungry. I had been lax. I wanted to keep him happy, literally sweetening the ordeal of having to leave all his friends behind by giving in to his demands for Coco Pops, pains au chocolat and Haribo. I had ignored his evening raids on the larder. There was no delicate way of putting this – my son was getting fat. And worse, he was unhappy. ‘Let me scramble you some eggs,’ I said. ‘Or how about some fruit? I could pop to the little Tesco.’ ‘I’ll leave it,’ he muttered, and skulked off to his bedroom. I sighed and made myself a cup of tea. I briefly thought about calling Megan, but then dismissed the idea. This was something I should deal with on my own. I wasn’t going to give her any ammunition, any reason to say I wasn’t looking after our son properly, not that she had shown any signs of wanting custody. Sure, she had protested half-heartedly when I told her I was taking him. But we both knew that an eleven-year-old boy would cramp her style. Make everything less convenient for her and . . . A flash of what I’d seen that terrible day – white flesh against our blue sofa, her legs wrapped around him, the lip-biting pleasure on her face – invaded my head for the thousandth time. At the exact same moment, next door’s German shepherd, Pixie, started barking, and I dropped my mug on the worktop. It wobbled on the edge, rocking from side to side, and I thought it was going to be okay, a little spilt tea, that was all. But as if prodded by a poltergeist, the mug tipped before I could snatch at it, fell to the floor and smashed into a hundred pieces, spraying me with hot liquid. And Pixie continued to bark. The neighbours themselves, Ross and Shelley, were silent, probably still in bed. They’d woken me at around 2 a.m., singing along to an Ed Sheeran track. Then, when they finally shut up, I hadn’t been able to get back to sleep because my nocturnal visitors, the anxiety brigade, had come knocking: Ollie, Mum, Megan, my bank manager. They crowded into”

Mark Edwards, The Lucky Ones
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The Lucky Ones The Lucky Ones by Mark Edwards
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