The Teaching Mum

A light-hearted look at parenting through the eyes of a very busy English Teacher.

A Tale to Tell – the second 1000 (well, 1341, but who’s counting?)


If you missed part one yesterday, just click on these words!

Part Two

The back door was locked and Jack fumbled for his keys in his trouser pockets.  His numb fingers grasped at the metal, but they were too cold to clutch onto anything.  The security light suddenly lit up the whole garden as his mother opened the door.

“There you are!” she exclaimed, looking him up and down.  “The storm got you then.”

“Humph, can you tell?”

She smiled at him, but it was the kind of smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes.  Jack began to recite the dramatic events that had unfolded only moments earlier, but his mother hurried away muttering something under her breath about potatoes boiling over.  Sighing to himself, Jack decided not to tell her about the incident that never was as there was no need for her to worry over something that didn’t happen, not when she had potatoes that were spoiling.

Passing his father watching television in the living room, Jack muttered a quick ‘hello’ and gestured a wave before dashing upstairs and into his bedroom.  Ah, his room: his base camp; his escape hatch; his chamber of secrets, or, as his mum sometimes called it when she was cleaning the house in a bad mood: ‘his shit tip’, but that only happened on a few occasions – it was rare to hear his mum swear.  Mostly, she would just open his door, roll her eyes, tut and then close the door again.  Over dramatic, that summed his mum up perfectly.  Jack’s room was without fault.  He pushed the door open and immediately it stuck on a lone sock thrown on the floor.  Oh.  Perhaps it was not entirely without fault then.  He pushed harder and the door crashed open and smashed into his desk chair that was lying like a defeated soldier in the middle of the floor having succumbed to the pile of clothes that had been balancing on it for more than a week now.  Frowning, Jack jumped over the mine field that was his carpet and landed firmly on his bed, which, he was proud say he made perfectly before he left for school that morning.  Before he was almost hit by a car and before Michael had been unceremoniously dumped by Chloe Peterson from English.  Yes, a lot could happen in a day and a lot could change.

Jack glanced around his room.  His walls were strewn with his latest crazes: the new hot girl from the Disney Channel, (Jack didn’t think that Disney would condone the fact that their newest teen offering was deemed hot by numerous testosterone filled teenagers, but what did he care?  She was hot); the latest warfare game on the Xbox and sickest new rock band out right now.  His dad didn’t understand how a rock band could be touring and putting albums out if they were ‘so sick’.  ‘They should be tucked up in bed with a Lemsip,’ he would say before wondering off and chuckling to himself.  In and among the posters, however, was something that his dad certainly approved of: a framed and signed AC/DC Back in Black tour poster from 1980.  He had given it to Jack on his thirteenth birthday.  It was an obsession passed down from father to son and Jack loved their music.  He recalled the day that his father had given him the poster and he had said that he was impressed that his son had decided not to follow the crowd and like the ‘crap the charts are spewing out these days’.  No, his son rocked to the beat of his own drum and that, he said, was ‘sick’.  Jack recalled cringing at his dad’s lame attempt at teenage slang, but secretly he loved having his father’s approval.  Smiling at the memory, Jack stepped from his bed, picked up his desk chair, put his pile of clothes into the washing basket (which he knew his mum would thank him for later) and paired up a few odd socks that had been discarded on the carpet.  Once he was satisfied with his tidying, he switched on his X-Box and saw that Michael was online trying to connect with him.  Just then, he heard his mother calling him for dinner and he decided to leave Michael waiting which was – he decided – the lesser of the two evils.  He would deal with Michael’s wrath after he had eaten and feigned enjoyment of his mum’s ‘spoiled’ potatoes.

Evening dinner was a subdued affair with Jack’s parents barely speaking.  They usually asked him how his day had been and if anything exciting had happened at school.  But, today, things were different.  A dense atmosphere hung over them like a spider closing in on its prey.  They hadn’t been arguing though, that Jack could tell, because mum didn’t have her stern face on and dad wasn’t scowling over his cup of tea.  No, this was unusual.  Mum had a far away look in her eye as if she was trying to see into a future that didn’t exist yet.  Dad, well dad, just looked exhausted.  Seeing the look on her only son’s face Sadie, Jack’s mother, made an attempt to lighten the atmosphere.  Her voice cracked when she spoke.

“Come on then.  Anything good happen at school today?” she asked.

Jack glanced down at his spaghetti hoops and concentrated.  He could barely recall what happened half an hour ago, never mind period one this morning.

“Well, we had English this morning, which was mint because the whole class had to leave the room when Adam Ward threw a pen at Mr Harris and called Shakespeare a boring git,” Jack chuckled.

“Why did you have to leave the room?” his mother inquired.

“Because Adam wouldn’t.  He just sat there and refused to be moved by anyone.

“That’s not mint, though is it Jack?  That’s reckless behaviour.  His poor mother.  I bet she doesn’t know what to do with him when he is at home.”

“I don’t think Adam has a mother at home,” Jack answered.

Sadie looked utterly heartbroken then.

“Poor lad,” she said.

Jack was surprised by her comment because his mother, a teacher herself, did not condone bad behaviour from anyone.  Ever.

“What happened after you moved into the other class?” Sadie asked.

“Mr Harris confirmed Adam’s assertions: Shakespeare was indeed a boring git.”

“Jack!”  She almost spat out her potato.

At the top of the table, Jack’s father, who had remained silent all this time, let out an almighty laugh at his son’s comment.  He noticed too that his mother’s eyes softened and she too smiled at her son.

“What play are you studying, son?” his father asked.

“Romeo and Juliet – Romeo has just seen Juliet through the fish tank.”

“Ah yes,” he agreed.  “That bit is boring.”

Jack knew that his father had absolutely no idea what he was talking about and he loved the fact that he appeared to have gotten off scot-free for swearing at the dinner table, but he couldn’t help but ponder why.

They continued to eat their food in silence for a few more minutes.

“Love, we need to have a little talk after you’ve done eating.” his mother said as she was finishing with the food on her own plate.

He didn’t know why, but Jack had sensed that there was something to be discussed and yet he couldn’t think what it could be.  He had to stall.  He slowed his eating and poured a new dollop of ketchup next to his steak pie and he searched through his brain for any reason why his mum might want a ‘little talk’.  His grades were fine and he had received no detentions so far this year.  He only got a detention last year because his Maths teacher didn’t like him; it had nothing to do with him throwing Michael’s trainer out of the window onto the astro-turf below.  Forking up a chunk of pie and chewing it at least thirty seven times, Jack chuckled as the memory of that day ignited once again in his head.


Your comments, yesterday, were lovely – thank you.  I would love to hear your thoughts and what you think may happen next.  Because, if I am being honest, I am not quite sure myself!

5 thoughts on “A Tale to Tell – the second 1000 (well, 1341, but who’s counting?)

  1. Pingback: A Tale to Tell (Jack’s Story) – Part Three |

  2. Pingback: Jack’s Story – Finding a New Fear. Part 4! |

  3. Pingback: Jack’s Story, Part Five – Romeo, Juliet, Jack and the Stranger. |

  4. Pingback: Jack’s Story – Part Six | The Teaching Mum

  5. Pingback: Jack’s Story (Part Seven) | The Teaching Mum

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