It was rewarding to finally get a moment to put my feet up, and I shuffled my bottom on the rickety hotel chair, until my ankles just avoided the ledge of the windowsill.
No. Once again.
Ah! That’s it.
Heavy regular breathing came from the bed behind me.
All that travelling had taken its toll.
Miles and miles of motorways and dual carriageways.
Each mile taking us further away.
As the miles accumulated, the adrenaline faded, and tiredness inevitably set in.
After several hours on the road, we pulled into a Motorway Service area.
I had strong disgusting coffee.
You had a cola.
Then we were back on our way, in the direction of a new life, a different life, a better life.
We sang in the car to keep awake.
Silly songs, old songs, crazy, I’m so tired but I’m singing anyway, songs.
When we weren’t singing you were abnormally silent.
Glancing in the mirror, I saw you absent-mindedly twirling your hair in the tips of your fingers.
I hadn’t seen you do that for ages.
My heart leapt and I applied more pressure to the accelerator, slowing only when we were near to the speeding cameras.
This wasn’t the moment to get pulled over for speeding.
We stopped again for lunch, but neither of us were hungry.
I made you drink some water.
With the heat in the car, we mustn’t get dehydrated.
We must stay safe.
That was after all, what this was all about, wasn’t it.
Because we weren’t at all safe with him, were we?
Keeping one hand firmly on the steering, wheel I passed the other over my face. Feeling the ridges of dried blood where he’d inflicted my ‘punishments’.
Too much pain.
I gripped the steering wheel with both hands once again, trying desperately to forget, but my body was sore under my dress.
The dress that hid those embarrassing blue and yellow marks.
Then it was late afternoon, and cramps in my shins, a sore bottom and endless yawning, was a sure sign that the voyage was over for today.
We’d continue tomorrow.
I found a hotel.
We grabbed some pizza from a drive-in next door, and ate sitting on our beds, slimy pseudo cheese, and half cooked peppers sliding onto the bed covers because we were too tired to care.
I made sure you brushed your teeth, then eased you into bed.
You were almost asleep before your blonde curls hit the pillow.
So here I am, cheap pre-mixed gin and tonic in hand, gazing onto the view from the first floor of this hotel, or was it the second.
It didn’t matter.
Only increasing the distance from him did.
I must sleep, more driving tomorrow.
More rhythmical breathing.
My arms slumped, and my empty glass slid onto the carpet.
You woke and called me.
“Are you coming to bed Mummy?”
Words wouldn’t form themselves.
I went over to comfort her. (498 words)
More thanks to Donna for this great 500 word flash fiction challenge. #FotoFlash Fiction.
My feature photo today was taken in Darling Harbor, Sydney Australia. I wanted to add a little love and hope to this, rather bleak, story.