Flash Fiction: “What? Sending William Away?” by Cathy MacKenzie

Welcome to The Spot Writers. Catherine A. MacKenzie’s novels, WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, a psychological drama, and MISTER WOLFE, the darkly dark sequel/stand-alone novel (18+), are available on Amazon. The prompt for the months is “New School Year.” This week, Cathy continues with Melvin and his tales…

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“What? Sending William Away?” by Cathy MacKenzie

 “Melvin, I think we need to consider sending William to King’s.”

I looked up from my tablet to see Marie staring at me.

“Huh? King’s?” I asked.

“King’s-Edgehill.”

“What? Why?”

“He’s depressed. Didn’t do well in school last year as you know, but you don’t seem to care.”

“Of course I care, Marie. He’s my son. Of course. I care. I do!”

“You have a weird way of showing it. I told you ages ago about his depression, not to mention his horrible grades.”

“He’s lost his siblings, Marie. What the hell do you expect?”

“I think he’s in denial.”

“Denial?”

“Yes, I hear him sometimes. He prays for them to return. Kneels at his bed. Clasps his hands together. Like a steeple. Bows his head. Seconds later, he’ll plop to his bed and just stare at the ceiling.”

I couldn’t resist. “Maybe he thinks he can see Heaven if he stares long enough.”

Marie jumped up from the couch and flailed her arms. “Melvin, you’re so exasperating.”

I felt like shit. Knew I was wrong. “Sorry.”

“I really think King’s would help. Give him a fresh start.”

“He’s only ten, Marie. Is he old enough to go there?”

“I think so. I’ll have to check.”

“But do they deal with problem children? Don’t you just have to be smart to get in?”

“Melvin! William is not a problem child. About the grades: I think that’s the purpose of the school. To give children a better education with one-on-one learning. Fewer children for teachers to deal with. I think they have a day program, so he wouldn’t have to board there.”

“Marie, it’s in Windsor. Over an hour away. Too far for us to drive every day.”

“He’ll have to be a boarding student, then.”

“A boarding student?” I groaned. “How much is that gonna cost?”

She threw me one of her Marie-looks. “Melvin, the world doesn’t revolve around money. Well, maybe it does, but we can’t let it affect us. As to the cost, I haven’t a clue. But it’d be worth it to get William back on track.”

I pondered. Yeah, sure, I wanted my remaining child—my only son—to have a good start in life, but boarding school? And the cost? Man, not like I’m raking in the big bucks.”

“It’s still August, Marie. Lots of time to think about this.”

“No, there isn’t. Kings is booked years in advance. It’s THAT prestigious a school.”

“Then he won’t get in this year, will he?” I heaved a sigh of relief. Then, I stared her down. “Why don’t you see about next year?” Give me some breathing room, I thought. Time to make more money—maybe. With two less kids, you’d think our savings account would be higher, but crappy climate change and Russians invading Ukraine… And now talk of a recession? No wonder I can’t get ahead. Does anyone realize how hard it is to be Man of the House? Unless… Was Marie dipping into our accounts? Buying herself fancy clothes and jewels? I made a mental note to check her closet and jewellery box.

She gave me another “look” and emitted a long, drawn-out sigh. “I’m going to call tomorrow. See what the admittance policy is.”

“Yeah, okay,” I mumbled.

“Our son deserves the best we can give him considering all he’s been through over the past year. We haven’t done much for him. Not really…”

She rambled. On and on. I blocked my ears (mentally, of course, so as not to piss her off more than necessary) and concentrated on the positives over the past year. Wracked my brain but couldn’t come up with one except for Kailani. And where the hell’s she been all this time?

***

The next day, Marie informed me that King’s started with Grade Six. William was going into Grade Five. I breathed a huge sigh of relief.

But then—

“I’m going to enroll him for next year, Melvin. That way, he’ll be on the list, and we can change our minds if he improves. We’d just have to pay a deposit.”

Change our minds? My mind hadn’t been changed. Would never be. I didn’t want him to go to King’s. The cost. The distance. Marie hadn’t figured out those major details yet. Hmm, I thought. Boarding school. Marie had been talking about the day program. But if we sent William away for the entire school year, what a pleasure that would be. Of course, he’d return home for holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter. Couldn’t let our sweet son be without family on special occasions.

I decided to let the idea fester. We had a year, after all. I could grab some extra shifts at Centrix—that is, if Alexander J. Tupper would cooperate. I could talk to him, explain the situation. He’d understand. He’s always asking how William is. Has sons of his own. Hmm… Might work.

If not, well, a lot can change in a year, right?

***

The Spot Writers—Our Members:

Val Muller: http://valmuller.com/blog/

Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Phil Yeats: https://alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com

Chiara De Giorgi: https://chiaradegiorgi.blogspot.ca/

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