May challenge - FAILURE...or is it?
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Here is my flash fiction on the subject of 'failure.'
Gingerly Nina placed one foot outside of the bedclothes, flattened out her instep as she brought her other leg over the edge of the bed and placing weight on it, grimaced as the pain shot up her leg. Doubled over in pain clutching her ribs, biting her lip hard she balanced herself and steeled her mind to take her weight.
Nina hobbled to the bathroom, pulled the light switch on and blinked hard against the harsh glare of the overhead fluorescent light. The cold of the porcelain sink shocked her as she raised her head to the image in the mirror.
Two black eyes, stitches across her right eyebrow, that image was the result of another failure, another night when she couldn’t talk him down so he used his fists and feet against her.
The ambulance men and a kind police officer insisted she spent hours in Accident and Emergency at the local hospital. Sitting on the hard black plastic bed, the curtains pulled around for a semblance of privacy, listening to the swearing and vomiting outside a semi- sterile cocoon of misplaced safety at ten o’clock on a Saturday evening.
She knew it would probably get worse before it got better. She had no idea how the doctors and nurses dealt with the failures that turned up here every weekend patching them up so they could do it all over again. Legalised drugs of alcohol, non-legalised drugs of dope and coke and cocaine and LSD, teenagers high on whatever social party drug they could get their hands on.
Holding on to the sink Nina sighed and then wished she hadn’t, as she coughed her bruised ribs protested painfully at the intake of her breath. Where on earth did they find the money to purchase the booze and the drugs and whatever else they sniffed, snorted and injected?
Stupid, stupid woman! Look what he did to you just to take the last fiver from your purse. Look at last week when you nearly ended up in this very same place just because you were too slow getting your purse out.
Nina splashed cold water on her face. It was much better to block out the previous evening especially when she wouldn’t press charges. She finished her ablutions as much as she could and limped back in to the bedroom. She dressed in the loosest clothing she could find that didn’t press on her bruised ribs and kidneys, a tracksuit would be her attire today.
WPC Henning rang the doorbell of No. 2 The Green. This was the second time this month she had called here. Nina Chapman was a victim, of that WPC Henning was sure but getting her to press charges was going to be a long, hard struggle.
Nina opened the door to the lovely young policewoman who tried hard to keep the shock from showing on her face. She ushered her in to the spotless living room, no signs of the struggle from the previous night showing, even the blood spattered rug from Nina’s split lip had been removed, probably by her daughter.
‘Mrs. Chapman,’ began WPC Henning, ‘I would like to take your statement about the events of last night. I know it is hard but I am here to help you.’
Tears spilt down Nina’s face, she felt the gentle squeeze on her hand as she looked up in to the young policewoman’s kind eyes.
‘I know you do but I can't, I just can’t.’
Nina dashed away her tears, sniffed and blotted her face with a tissue.
‘I’m such a failure I don't want the whole world to know what a bad mother I am.’
Both women looked up as they heard the back door open, Nina held her breath hoping it wasn't Sam returning but it was her daughter, Lucy who dashed across the living room floor to her mother.
Lucy looked at the policewoman, ‘can't you make her press charges? We all know it was my useless brother who did this.’
WPC Henning closed her notebook and stood up.
‘It is not her fault. She is not a failure. The only way to stop this and to help Sam is to make him responsible for his actions then we might be able to get somewhere. Until then I’m afraid I can't do anything.’
Shaking her head in despair the policewoman made for the front door. ‘Please Nina, I don't want to come back here and see you in such a sorry state again.’
Lucy put her arms around her mother as she heard the front door close. She hugged her gently aware of the severity of the bruising. She put her hand under her mother’s chin and lifted her face up to examine her eyes.
‘Oh mum,’ she cried, ‘why do you let Sam do this to you?’
The same old story, her mother didn't know how she had failed to bring Sam up properly when Lucy was such a good girl and no trouble to her at all. Nina couldn't understand what had gone wrong, first at school and then the trouble Sam had got into as a teenager and now he was mixing with such a bad crowd, high on drugs that he didn't know what he was doing when he hit her.
Lucy lost her rag and shouted back at her mother.
‘Take a look at what he has done. You didn't fail him. I turned out alright. It wasn't your fault. He is just a mean, violent man and you let him treat you like this. One day he will go too far and you will end up dead on this living floor expecting me to forgive him as you do every day! That will never happen. He is not your son anymore. Help him and then you won't be a failure!’
Sobbing her heart out Lucy knelt by her mother. The two women held each other as their tears fell both feeling they were failures.
Word count: 999