Catch up with Cassie

This is Cassie
Cassie exists minute by minute. She’s given up looking to the future, it just depresses her. Although her ‘now’ is not that fantastic either.
She’s learnt to smile, although it’s a little fixed, and her shoulders sag with the weight of the world, as well as the shopping in her bag. The weight of food for a couple of days seems to get heavier, day by day. It’s not so bad when she has enough money for the bus fare, but today she only has enough for the food the family will need to survive.
She doesn’t ever spend much on herself, the boys need it and Joe works so hard that he deserves to spend the evening in the pub. By the time she’s bought shoes and clothes for Tom and Ben it doesn’t leave much for her.
That reminds her, she’d meant to buy a new button for her coat. Oh well, next time. At least she didn’t need both hands for her shopping today. And it’s not raining, that’s good.
When she gets home, she takes her coat off and unloads her shopping before putting the kettle on. She goes to the cupboard for the coffee and discovers the jar is empty. Ben, dammnit! If he’d left a note, she could’ve bought some more. Her shoulders drop. A cup of tea is just not the same…
She sits down and puts her head in her hands. She’s so practiced at putting on a brave face when she goes out, no one knows what it’s like living her life. But right now she’s at home, so she can cry. She can’t even summon up the enthusiasm to turn the radio on.
Where’s her phone?
Cassie’s Phone Call
A week later, just when she’s had a long trip to town and struggled back home with four heavy bags of shopping; at least she had the bus fare this time.
Put the kettle on, unpacked her heavy load, made coffee, (she made sure that was on the list this week), sat down and let herself relax, the phone starts to ring.
She jumps, it almost frightens her to death. She narrowly avoids spilling her coffee all down her dress.
Cassie sits in a state of shock. She needs a minute to collect herself. It’s bound to be bad news, it usually is. Right now she needs a few minutes to collect herself and prepare for whatever is coming.
And build up courage to actually speak on it. Actual conversation on the phone has become more and more of a challenge. There’s a real fear of the unknown.
Who is it? And what do they want?
It’s not a logged number, although there’s a local code.
Can’t even text them back and hide, or wait a while.
The phone rings again, she jumps again.
She picks up her phone like it is a bomb and going to explode at any moment.
It’s the school, (why isn’t the number logged, it was).
Ben has been fighting again, and the lad he picked a fight with is smaller than he is and he’s quite badly bruised.
‘Can she please come and collect him from school!’
Cassie is mortified, she thought he’d begun to deal with this.
And last time they had said if he started fighting again he would be suspended!
And what will Joe say? He has such a temper on him sometimes.
Especially if he’s been drinking…
Cassie needs to find a little peace to begin to make some great choices.
Cassie Gets Overcrowded
You might remember that Ben has been suspended from school for fighting!
That means Ben will be at home. He’ll be angry, probably blaming the world for his problems. And that can be expensive! Last time he broke his wardrobe. Kicked the door clean off. She had managed to persuade Joe to buy him a punchbag, but they’d never manged to get Ben to use it.
Cassie wanted him to try and vent his anger in such a way that didn’t cause so much damage.
As much as the damage was seriously unhelpful it had a knock-on effect in that repairing it was often expensive and there was nothing that could be cut back on to allow them to save any money and Joe deserved a beer, he worked so hard.
After the anger had dissipated, Ben would then lock himself in his room and bounce a ball off the wall and sulk, and he could sulk for ages. Sometimes it sounded like world war three had gone off in there.
And then there was Joe, he would be furious too. He’d shout at Ben through his door and demand that he’d open it, which Ben wouldn’t do. He was just like his dad in so many ways.
He adored him too. He’d never admit it. But he did, and Joe just couldn’t see it. If only the two of them could sit down and talk, but Joe had, had a poor relationship with his father and he didn’t know how to relate to Ben. Not that he tried days….
Cassie picked herself up out of the chair, poured the last of the vaguely warm coffee down her throat and, grabbing her coat left to go and get Ben.
Full of anxiety she dreaded the future, she knew from the past what was coming. Her world was a heavy place and right now it was bearing down hard on her!
The door slammed behind her, as she realised she hadn’t picked her keys up!
Cassies Evening
Ben had stomped off to his room, he’d slammed the door shut behind him and put on some music. Cassie used the term loosely, it was very loud and very aggressive, and there was no singing at all, just some very low-pitched growling. And that was angry too! It was so loud that there was no point in telling him to turn it down. She figured the whole street could hear it.
Oh God, if any one came and complained??????
Joe would be home soon, and then even more chaos would be likely…
She’d had the afternoon from hell. At least she’d had her phone on her when she left to collect Ben from school. That meant that she had at least been able to phone her sister, but that was a chore in itself.
Carenza had no time for Joe and was always on at her to leave him. She said he should make more effort with Ben, and Cassie to for that matter. When had he last taken her out, bought her flowers, or even a dress, or come to that even engaged in a conversation.
With Ben being such an issue Tom kept his head down and largely got ignored. Carenza was also very good at pointing this out too.
Carenza just didn’t understand, Joe meant well and he worked very hard. It was a shame that he turned into a monster when he’d had a drink. At least he wasn’t violent, and he meant well, he really did.
Cassie got a lecture when she phoned her sister, who did at least insist on coming to the school and taking her and Ben Home. If they’d had to walk to hers for the key…. And with Ben in the mood that he was. Doesn’t bear thinking about!
Surprisingly though, in the car Carenza hadn’t carried on the conversation she’d started on the phone.
For once she’d talked gently, suggesting that Cassie take some time for herself. Get out into the countryside.
There was a fella doing outdoor experiences, she’d been on one and had found it so rewarding.
Carenza had also said she’d pay for her to go.
At that moment Cassie’s head was all over the place and she’d fobbed her sister off. But just maybe…
At that moment Joe came home.
Cassie put her head in her hands!
Cassie Sits Powerless
Joe came home, Cassie heard the front door, and then Joe yelled…
There was no change in the volume upstairs, Ben had his ‘music’ on so loud that he wouldn’t have heard his father.
“Ben!” shouted Joe again, “damned kid,” he said in a voice barely lower in volume.
“What’s happened?” he snarled at Cassie as he stood in the doorway to the Kitchen.
Cassie looked at Joe blankly and tried to collect her thoughts. Her mind just wouldn’t work, she was absorbing the events of the afternoon and just trying to process everything, the shopping, the button on her coat, the noise, the phone call, the key, the noise, the trip to school, Ben, the noise, her sister, that outdoor experience walk thing, Joe, the noise. She felt drunk, she kind of wished she was drunk before that thought pulled her out of her malaise. She began to form words in her mind and was just beginning to form a sentence, when Joe left the room in the direction of Bens room.
She heard him say, “useless bloody woman”, as he left.
Cassie wished she could cry. She just felt numb.
She heard banging and shouting upstairs. Neither Joe nor Ben ever really listened to each other. Not even on good days. Today was not a good day. She imagined that Ben wouldn’t even talk to his father, especially with him shouting: and Joe didn’t even know what had happened yet.
It was likely he would leave before he did.
At that moment, there was silence and for a moment Cassie breathed a sigh of relief.
The pause was broken by Joe slamming the door to the stairs, “I don’t know what it is with that kid, sort him out woman. What do you do all day?”
Joe left.
Again, there was silence, but it wasn’t a comfortable silence. For the second time in a very short time Cassie put her head in her hands. Then Ben came flying down the stairs and without pausing for breath grabbed his coat and he left, charging out of the front door, which rebounded after he slammed it behind him.
Cassie began to cry.
Cassies New Beginning
After Joe and Ben had left there was silence, a hollow enveloping silence that threatened to engulf Cassie completely.  The tears flooded from her as if they had been stored behind a dam for as long as she can remember.  Cassie had cried before, but never like this, her whole body shook with the emotional release she was feeling now.  She had a moment of anger, but she was still in control enough to put that emotion away. She knew there was nothing positive that ever came from anger.  There was one moment when she was laughing at the unbelievability of what had happened.  But the tears just kept coming, she’d spent so long just hanging on and trying to cope, supporting those that she loved, she didn’t realise how much distress she had stored away.
However long later, she had lost track of time, she sat calmly and phoned her sister.  She had nothing else to give…
A week later
As she lay in the bath at her sisters house, Cassie felt calm.  The warm water enveloped her, she marvelled in the bubble bath and the perfumes that filled the entire bathroom.  She’d shaved her legs and washed herself slowly and was now just drowsy in the wet warn heat. She was still a little anxious too, she didn’t know what the future had in store for her, or Tom.  She could hear him playing downstairs with his cousins.  That did put a smile on her face, she hadn’t heard him that loud and engaged for ages, he was laughing too.  Cassie tried to remember the last time she’d heard him laugh that loud.
She’d recently come home from a View Over the Wall Experience.  Cassie had allowed the countryside to just envelop her, allowed the pace of outdoor life to flood through her very being. She’s taken the time to look around her and listen to the sounds that normally she would have been blissfully unaware of.  She’d celebrated the damp scent of woodland and pushed her hands through damp earth and felt the different barks of trees and ‘yes’ she’d even allowed herself to hug them.  She’d realised that if you stayed still and quiet in the woods squirrels would come and play very close to you and felt their good-natured cheerfulness infect her with enthusiasm.  An enthusiasm of a different life.
Not only squirrels though, there had been buzzards, kestrels and a heron.  They had seen a fox in the distance and spent ages just watching the slow pace of cows as they lazily chewed the cud.
Cassie had been able to switch off, leave the worries of her world behind her.  Turning off her phone had been a worry, how could she manage without it.  The world might end, and she wouldn’t be able to tell anyone, However, it had been so releasing to not have the pressures of social media and availability around her.
Simon, the guide had such a peaceful calming manner about him.  She’d talked more than she probably should have done, but he listened so gently.  Only stopping to become their guide once again.  And as a Mental Health First Aider, he was able to provide contact details of organisations she may need in the future.  She would need help to sort out her life.
Her sister had been an absolute brick, that was good.  She been here a week now, she hadn’t yet seen Joe or Ben yet, but was beginning to feel that maybe she would be able to manage that soon too.
What a day!!!
What a day!!!

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