and https://patwoodblogging.wordpress.com/2012/10/14/the-reason/ (part one)
I had to come. She told me not to come, but I had to. I couldn’t bear to hear Eva cry like that. I was so glad I’d given her the phone, she was in such a state and by the end of her calls, so was I. That woman had caused so much trouble and now she was upsetting Eva.
It was a shock seeing Ryan, I can tell you. He was little more than a baby when I saw him last, but now – I nearly lost it when I saw him. My little boy. And he looks so like me. I remembered all our plans for him, for both of these children. I wanted to put my arms around him and hold him close and cuddle him to make up for the lack of all the hugs and cuddles of the past seven years. But I saw his clenched fists, the set of his mouth. That look in his eyes. I wanted to tell him it was never my idea.
I can’t hate Liza, even after all she’s done. There will always be a piece of me that loves her and without her, I wouldn’t have my Eva.
But she wants to take her from me now. I don’t understand why, after all this time. But then I look at Ryan and maybe I do understand. Maybe the old saying is right: blood is thicker than water after all. But if Liza takes Eva to live with her, there will be a lot of water between us. The whole Atlantic Ocean. And I can’t afford to keep coming backwards and forwards across it. I had to do a job to find the money for this trip.
‘Eva will be fine here, once she settles in.’
‘And how long do you think that will take? She’s so unhappy. Let me take her home.’
‘You don’t have a home. She doesn’t have a home, not really. I keep in touch with enough of my friends to know you’re still the same man, stealing, breaking into houses, going to prison.’
I might have known she’d still have her spies on me.
‘Shoved about between your mother and those awful women. What sort of life is that for Eva?’
‘She’ll be better off here.’
And in a way, I knew she was right. It would be a better life, better than anything I could give her. Liza wasn’t married to Christopher anymore, but she’d obviously done well from the divorce. They lacked for nothing. The house was beautiful, the garden was beautiful. It was all a very far cry from what we were used to, so I was almost ready to give in and agree. Eva would get over me and learn to love Liza. Everybody loved Liza, even me.
And that would have been the end of it. Until I heard Ryan and Eva talking.
It was weird, because I didn’t think they spoke to each other at all, but I’d stepped out into the garden for a smoke and I heard the buzz of their chatter. There was a little summer-house at the edge of the lawn and I know it’s wrong to listen in on other people’s conversations: even children deserve their privacy. But I was glad I did. Their voices were very similar in tone and I couldn’t work out who was speaking at first, but I heard every word.
‘I saw a film once where someone cut the brake cable on the car and the car crashed.’
‘Do you know how to do that?’
‘No. Maybe we could poison her.’
‘What with? Does she take sleeping tablets? We could crush them in her coffee.’ So that must have been Eva. My Eva.
‘No. Nothing like that.’
‘I wish we were in London. We could push her under a tube train at rush hour and no one would think twice.’ I couldn’t believe she could even think of saying such a thing. I thought of rushing in there and asking what the hell she thought she was saying, but their next words chilled me to the bone.
‘We’ll have to stab her. The house is full of knives.’
‘Yes,’ agreed Eva. ‘And that way, we can both do it.’
‘We can each take a knife and do it together’
‘When she’s asleep.’
I crept away, horrified. Unsure whether I should tackle them, unsure of the reaction I would get, especially from Ryan. He was my son, but I didn’t know him. He was obviously deranged. But then Eva wasn’t needing much encouragement to join in. They couldn’t be serious. They couldn’t really mean to do it, could they? They were only eight years old – it was a game, surely? Of course it was. Born of frustration and unhappiness, just a game.
I decided to say nothing. I smiled. Of course it wasn’t real, it was just a little drama they were playing out.They would go to sleep and forget all about it.
But I would stay awake tonight and make sure they didn’t do anything stupid.