Rory’s Reality Bites

Rory and his mums jubilation was soon dimmed. Entry into the care profession on any level is slow. It had taken a couple of weeks before he had the interview. The wait seemed like an eternity, especially when you can see the bank balance going down. When Rory eventually had his interview, it went very well. He answered the questions he was asked carefully and with consideration.  He’d done his homework and was pretty sure they hadn’t seen him shaking like a leaf, or so he thought.

‘Why do you want to work for the Tumbledown Foundation?’ Possibly the most horrible question ever asked. You can’t say ‘because I will get paid’, which most people would say if they were being honest.

‘Because when I saw the job advertised, I thought that looks interesting, I can do that. So I went away and did some research. I had never thought much about children in care, or why they might be there. They were just badly behaved kids that were disruptive. Now I realise that there is a whole other side to life that I never thought about, having had a fairly straight forward upbringing myself.  What these children have been through is awful. I want to be able to give them a chance to learn that there are decent people out there and that they could have a good life with some support.’

Big tick, straight away. As was the fact that he could work unsociable hours. At the end of the interview Rory went away with a handshake and the gentleman interviewing him, told him he’d be in touch.

Having decided that keeping a roof above their heads was the mostimportant thing, they had decided that they would lower the heating to a level that would keep damp at bay and then wrap up in blankets to keep warm. They would play games and read to keep electricity and rental costs to a minimum.  Whilst this was tough, they were beginning to realise that what they were ‘losing’ from a modern lifestyle, they were gaining in communication and understanding with each other. They were really enjoying their time together.  They also decided to keep use of their smart phones to a minimum. Rory had thought this would be a real challenge, but after a week or so he discovered he didn’t miss it and dialogue with real people, well, mum, at the moment was actually better.

It was now three weeks since mum had been given notice on her job. There was just one week before her final pay packet, they weren’t doing badly and they had spent so much less than normal, never the less finances were a worry, especially for Rory’s mum. She had been applying for jobs, but hadn’t had as much luck as Rory to date. She had applied to the post office, well, they both had, but had heard nothing.

For the most part she managed to keep her worries from Rory, but she knew that sometimes he noticed her concern, she’d catch a look, when she’d let her guard down and see him looking.  Sometimes he’d say nothing, just give her some space, sometimes he’d give her a hug. At least for the most part he didn’t try to tell her it was OK, they both knew right now it wasn’t, however, they both took joy in the fact that they were on the same page and sharing these times fully. That helped. She just hoped that they would keep this wonderful bond when the world turned.

‘How are you sleeping mum?’ Rory asked one day. She’d been sleeping badly and hoped he didn’t know.  She knew he’d been going out in the early hours because she had been awake.

‘OK’ she replied, ‘sometimes I can’t sleep though. I heard you go out this morning though.’

‘Yo, mum, I thought I’d been really quiet too. Sometimes when my mind is still racing, I’ve been going out for a walk. It’s better than just laying there, for sure. The air has been really crisp and fresh just lately. I look at the sea and listen to the waves. Quite often I manage to let my thoughts go with the tide. It really helps.  Simon, you know, that one on social media says he knew a bloke who said ACT, actions cure things.  Its true. In fact, why don’t we both go out now? Come on.’

Mum didn’t feel like it, in fact she was feeling a little lethargic just lately.

‘No Rory, oh, I don’t know.’

‘Yo Fam,’ said Rory, knowing it would annoy her.

She shot him a look.

‘Come on then. Now. Get up, no messin’.’ He dragged her into her coat, and they went out.

‘Rory, it’s freezing out here, this is madness.’

‘No, it isn’t come on.’

They went and stood on the beach, just by the boats, in a sheltered spot so that they only had to deal with cold and not wind chill as well.  They just stood, in the lee of the wind and listened to the wind, the waves, the calls of gulls and let the noise of the town fade into the distance.  The cold actually made them feel alive. They could feel the air as it passed into their lungs and blew their hair. It also made them appreciate their coats even more.

Mum could feel her worries recede. She breathed in deeply and then let the breath go slowly. Rory put his arm around her, and she leaned into him. He was a good lad.

It was sometime later when she let real life seep back in.

‘Come on Rory. You were right, magnificent. Time to go home for a cuppa I think.’

They exchanged a look, turned round and headed for home.

When they opened the front door there was a letter on the doorstep addressed to Rory. 

‘Is it about the job? Said mum, hopeful, but cautious at the same time.

Rory picked up the letter and tore away at it. His face said it all.

They both felt a massive sense of relief. Their shoulders lifted a full inch as they jumped up and down.

Simon Pollard     Urban Countryman          December 2023

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