well, the police want answers and Frankie is finally ready to give them what they need....
And then there was the one I had been waiting for, the one I had been dreading.
“So Frankie, how about your father?” I froze as the wall of anguish hit me; all the emotions I had kept hidden for so long came rushing over me, stabbing me like a physical pain in the chest. All the carefully constructed barriers and defence mechanisms simultaneously leaving me exposed and vulnerable. Gerard reached over, taking my hand in his. It was such a simple gesture, but it brought me such warmth and strength. It was as if he was with me, helping me stand up against a tide of memories. But I needed to speak, needed to tell them, needed to finally relieve my burden.
“He was wonderful, whenever he was around he used to pick her up, look after her. With him she became a different person, so did I. He could make everyone smile, make everything seem better. But he wasn’t around much; he worked as a Naval Officer so he was often out for several months at a time…”
“Where was he last deployed?” one of the officers interrupted. His college glared at him as I held up my hand to quiet him. If I didn’t say this now I knew I would never get it out.
“Thirty-six months ago he was sent to Iraq for 9 months. About two weeks before he was due to come back the head of his until called us. He had been killed by a suicide bomber. My father is dead.”
For a long time nobody spoke, letting my final words hang in my air. Dead… Cold… Buried… Dead. Flashes of the funeral played before my eyes; the coffin being lowered into the ground. Images of my mother crying for days, of myself weeping on the grave cursing the world… Eventually one of the police men broke the silence.
“As you are over sixteen you do not technically need a legal guardian, but you still need somewhere to stay while we find your mother. Do you have any relatives or close friends we could contact?” I had a vague memory of Christmas’s spent with family members long ago, but for all I knew they could be living in Australia by now. I shook my head, wondering what would become of me. Thoughts of foster carers began running through my head, but before they terrified me too much Gerard spoke for the first time.
“He could always stay with me for a while, until things are sorted out. If that’s ok with you?” He directed the last question at me. I couldn’t believe it, he was actually offering to let me stay with him.
“Are you sure?” I asked, still disbelieving.
“Of course.” He smiled, it was only then I realised we were still holding hands.
“Well now that’s sorted I think we’d better get going.” The officers rose and walked to the door. “Someone will be in touch with you soon.” I nodded as they left. Unwilling to stay in the cursed house a moment longer than necessary I grabbed some of my stuff and we headed back to what I guess would now be home.