Some days can only get better. Others, on the other hand, can simply get worse. Take today for example, driving to God knows where with a gun pointed at my temple. The cold metal touches my burning flesh every time we go over a speed bump or turn a left corner, and yet all I care about is keeping my temper under wraps. I haven't the patience to be afraid right now; I'm annoyed. I'm annoyed at how ridiculous this day has got. I'm annoyed with the fact that I'm stuck in this damned car driving some lunatic to wherever the hell he wants so that he doesn't stick a bullet through my brains when all I really want to do is go home and shut myself away. I'm annoyed because my son of twenty four years old is probably sat in front of the television, slowly losing his patience with his mother for not being home on time to cook him his dinner and do his washing and ironing for the party he's going to tonight. The notes I left on the fridge and television this morning asking him to do the dishes for me have probably been shoved in the bin, and his dirty washing is probably still waiting for me to move it from the bathroom floor. He's as bad as his father, that boy. Lazy, ignorant, self-obsessed...
“Turn left here.”
The muzzle of the gun jabs at my temple again as we turn. Like getting fired today wasn't bad enough. The only reason I care is because money is tight at the moment. The job was lousy, and the staff even worse; it was always painfully obvious that they didn't like me. Janet had it in for me from the word go since I explained that the databases she had done were wrong and showed her how to do them properly. So when I was late today she wasted no time in sacking me.
Not that it was my fault for being late; they should have been glad I came in at all. I was dreading walking through those doors after the confession Lydia had had in store for me this morning. Like it wasn't bad enough that my husband had slept with a girl the same age as his son, but he'd been having an affair with my best friend for a year and a half. I can't properly remember how she came about telling me of her betrayal, but I had mentioned the divorce papers arriving in the post last night, and before I knew it I was feeling sick and screaming at her to get out of my car and make her own way to work. After that I just drove.
I can feel tears prickling at the corners of my eyes. I still love my husband, but I can no longer trust him. Our son doesn't make it easy for me as a newly single parent either. I sometimes wonder if he blames me for Jeff cheating.
I chance a glance at my captor through the rear view mirror. He looks like a normal teenager, about 18-years-old, dressed in the typical tracksuit bottoms and hoodie. His eyes are focused on the road ahead. I shift my attention quickly to the road, then back to the kid. He's wearing a New York Yankees baseball cap tilted to the side, probably thinking he looks cool or something. I catch him looking at me, and he cocks his eyebrow at me questioningly with a slight smirk on his face.
"Like what you see, lady?"
I quickly look at the road ahead, and I can feel the blood rushing to my face. Why does that always happen to me? It's not like I was actually checking him out; I'm old enough to be his mother for goodness' sake! I keep telling myself in my head that it was so that I could describe him to the police when...if...I get out alive. I wouldn't ever consider stooping down to Jeff's level, stop the car and turn to kiss the young man behind me. It's simply not done, especially when the psycho has a gun and is threatening to shoot me unless I do as he says.
Maybe I'm still adjusting to a life with no one to hold me at night, or to laugh with and hold hands with as we walk in the park. I guess I'm just still facing the facts that I'm alone now, with no company other than a slob for a son. What's even worse is that - to be perfectly honest - I want my son to move out. I disgust myself with this revelation, but it's the truth. He will always expect me to clean up after him and pay for all his food and video games. He will never give me rent, or even give me £10 towards everything I do and buy for him, even if I did ask him. I know him; he would fly off the handle and beat me until I'm black and blue, then sludge back up to his room and act as if nothing happened, because in his head, nothing did happen. He won't remember how he lost his temper and snatched the iron out of my hand and pressed it to my forearm, and he will be shocked when he notices the bandage covering the burnt flesh peeping out from under my long sleeved top.
The thing is, I know him. I know he uses his condition to his advantage sometimes. I know that he's perfectly capable of putting away a few dishes and taking his things up to his room. He's just-
I stop the car. I can feel my heart throwing itself repeatedly at my chest, almost as if it's trying to escape. I keep licking my lips nervously, and I let out a breath I didn't even realise I was holding.
"So what now?" I ask, trying to hold back the fear in my voice. I keep my eyes focused merely on two small boys kicking a football to and fro, not daring to face my captor.
I hear a small snigger escape him, and the sound of the back door opening and slamming shut. "Thanks, lady!" he calls out. I frown, confused, and turn to see the kid walking around the corner.
"Wait a minute! Wait a hot second!" I shout, realisation hitting me suddenly. I get out of the car and run after the lad. "You just wanted a ride home?"
He stops and turns to face me, a huge grin playing on his features. "Didn't have enough for the bus," he shrugs.
"But the gun-"
He pulls the trigger, and my mouth is suddenly filled with bubbles. Bubbles. I splutter, both at the taste and at the ridiculous and utmost stupid of situations I have ever been in. The kid laughs and starts walking down the street again.
"I could get the police on you, y'know! You could go down for this - terrorising a middle-aged woman just so you can get a lift home. How dare you!"
"You won't though," he calls back. "I mean, what are you gonna say? 'Oh Officer, this young chap threatened to kill me with a bubble gun'?"
He's right. There's nothing I can do about it. Even if I was taken seriously he would only get a slap on the wrists and be sent on his way. I decide to leave it. Besides, it's not all bad - maybe I've found a way in which to make my son do those damned dishes!