Rory and the allegation

Rory didn’t know what to think. An allegation. What had he done? Which child? When?

He sat down, mainly to stop himself falling down. His jaw dropped as low as it could go. He fumbled for words, but none would come out. He suddenly realised that he needed to breathe and then briefly hyper ventilated.

His boss tried to be sympathetic as he asked him, ‘if he was OK?’

Why did he ask that? Stupid question, he’d just told him he was on suspension.  He’d not had a proper job before, never mind getting suspended from one.  He could feel panic crawling its way around his whole body, and it was all he could do temporarily to answer the question.

‘Yes, I’m fine.’ Well what else do you ever say to that question.  ‘No, I feel lousy.’? He just wanted to leave without causing any more of a scene. ‘I think I need to go,’ he mumbled as he staggered out of his boss’s office.

His boss reached the door before he did.

‘Rory, I do need to talk to you. I need to explain what has been said and how this works.  Can we talk tomorrow? I can come to you if you like.’

Rory mumbled ‘OK’, and left as fast as he could, a newfound strength coming to his legs. The need to be away from his boss’s office and the house became overwhelming.

As he walked home a hundred and one thoughts seemed to crowd in on his mind. The full meaning of suspension was beginning to dawn on him. But what did suspension actually mean? Would he be paid? Which child? And what had he done? He hadn’t done anything, or at least nothing that he thought could have been interpreted as anything inappropriate. And in what way? He hadn’t had much to do with Fred, or Sam, come to that. And Chantal wouldn’t stop talking to him.  He’d let her hug him, but only in company. There wasn’t anything he could think of. He went through the last three weeks over and over again. Overthinking every little memory and action as he went. His imagination making every moment worse and worse as he went through what he remembered.

Coupled with all that, he was trying to think about what he would say to mum when he got home. They were just beginning to relax financially after all the stress and worry about mum losing her job.  The timing was awful, just when they had started to relax a little, this had to happen.  Rory was fighting that terrible thought, why me? Why us? What have we done to deserve this?  He could feel his world starting to collapse all around him. What would happen to his record if he was found to have done whatever he was alleged to have done?  His brain was beginning to hit overdrive.

As he walked up the steps to the home he shared with his mum he tried to think about how he would tell mum, she would be mortified. She’d be curious straight away because he wasn’t due home until 11 that night. He felt a wreck, he couldn’t even get the key into the lock to open the door. ‘Sort yourself out fam’, he thought to himself, ‘get a grip’. He put his other hand on the door to stop his hand shaking and managed to get the key into the lock. He turned it and opened the door.

‘Mum’, he called.

‘Rory’, she called back a note of alarm in her voice. ‘Is everything alright?’

As she appeared in the living room doorway, he collapsed into her arms. She was two foot shorter than Rory, but somehow she held him up.  Finally, home and with mum, Rory could no longer contain his upset and anguish and began to cry. He cried so hard his whole body shook. Mum could barely support him, let alone manoeuvre him to the sofa, so until he managed to realise the situation, there they stood.

When he calmed down, they went and sat on the sofa where he poured out the whole unfortunate story to his mum.  He barely paused for breath, every thought worry, concern, remembered fact (with a little imagination thrown in) was released in the flood and when he was finished mum pragmatically said, ‘I think I’ll go and put the kettle on. You just stay there, and I’ll be back shortly.’

As often happens, Mum knew it was her turn to step up, as Rory had done when she lost her job. Mostly she just hugged him, but also pointed out to him that it was just an allegation, and unproved.  She was sure that it wouldn’t seem so bad in the morning and also after his boss had come to see him tomorrow.

It’s often much easier to see reality when it’s not yours.

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