It Just isn’t Fair

‘It just isn’t fair.’

Joe felt guilty feeling this way, but it just wasn’t fair.  Everyone else had mobile phones but his Mam had said ‘no’, again. In fact, she shouted it this morning. Joe had asked again whilst she sat at the table, head lowered into her palms, coins scattered sparsely by her unclasped purse.

It was the day the rent man came; she always went into a low way on a Monday. She didn’t usually raise her voice though.

Joe usually shared her mellow temperament but he’d had enough, too.  He stormed out of the house, to escape, banging the front door behind him.

‘Be careful, we can’t afford to get that fixed.’

Joe imitated his Mam’s voice in his head, mouthed the words with a mocking rhythm.

But, deep down, he knew she’d be worrying. She wished she could get him a phone, but just a simple one, one each maybe, so they could let one another know where they were, they wouldn’t need fancy ones.

Joe ran and ran towards the lonning, until a stitch caused him to stop. Grasping his knees with his hands, he felt his breath slow back to normal, then when the pain had gone, he eyed a flat smooth pebble.  It was perfect, the best size to skim into the beck.  He loved the sound as the stone hit the water, loved watching the wavelets that followed as they flowed into stillness. He bent lower to scoop up his treasure and headed towards the water.

He was right, it was a great skimmer, after launching it, it bounced seven times.  It didn’t beat his personal record though. He spent some time playing his favourite game, counting the splashes, measuring the ripples. He wondered if any of his friends had a game on their phones like this, it’d be great fun, trying to beat high scores for the most bounces, widest circles and so on.  Skimming used to be his second favourite game, football was first, but nobody played now, apart from at school. Nobody came outside much.

He walked towards the den he and his friends made last summer. It was a bit overgrown but you could still see where they’d dug out a pretend camp-fire, their boulders were still there, they used to sit upon them for hours, chatting, laughing and planning the design of a fort in the oak tree overhead. But, that was last summer.

Looking up at the tree’s tower, he got distracted by a cloud, it was shaped like ...

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Janette Ostle
Nov 1 2020

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Lovely mother and son story. Nonita

Nonita Thomas
Dec 18 2020

Enjoyed this story especially the ending. Joe didn't get his phone and although this was sad, it revealed the strong, loving relationship between him and his mother.

Eileen O'Reilly
Dec 16 2020

There's a lesson for everyone here, beautifully brought over!

Paul Sterlini
Dec 12 2020

A really lovely story.

Rod Webb
Dec 9 2020

I"m 72 now and this is so evocative of my childhood,growing up on the new housing estate where the countryside started 10 yards away over the road, the games we played in a gang or alone,shame school came along and spoiled it all. A good essayist that brings back memories.

Thomas Armstrong
Dec 8 2020

Real ‘old school’ activities and familial love beautifully evoked.

Dean Ostle
Dec 8 2020

I love this - reminiscent of my youth 😊

Jennifer Lucas
Dec 1 2020


Jennifer Lucas
Nov 8 2020

Bitter sweet, lovely piece of writing.

Tony Spencer
Nov 1 2020