Image copyright: Dee Lovering

Image copyright: Dee Lovering

Mid-winter. Snow. My turn to have the kids. The boy and the girl. I never know what to do with them but I have to have them, what with the fuss I made during the court case, demanding regular access because I’m a caring father, I really am, despite what she and her mother say.

I’ll take them to the café in the park. Again. There’s plenty of forbidden fruit there – burgers and chips; ice-cream. And we can watch the joggers, the people walking their dogs, the other kids running around throwing snowballs, having fun.

We’ve nothing to talk about.


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41 Responses to Duty

  1. Margaret says:

    Great character building. The father’s voice shows how out of touch he is with his children, and gives a glimpse of his self-centredness. However, he keeps trying, I think. I’m going to trust that he’ll wake up to himself before it’s too late. Plenty to think about in your story.

  2. Taygibay says:

    The stark truth of the absence of love versus that deliciously sarcastic line of
    burgers, chips & ice cream as FRUITS, forbidden or not ( the food pyramid gurus
    must be enraged 😉 ) made for a complete literary meal.

    Kudos, Tay.

  3. rgayer55 says:

    They were probably too busy playing games on their hand held electronics to know Dad was around anyway.

  4. Dale says:

    A story that exists far too much in today’s society… I can only hope he wakes up and tries to get to know the children he fought to have access to!

  5. ceayr says:

    Brutally realistic portrait of a dysfunctional family.

  6. gravadee says:

    Big dilemma for a single dad

  7. Amy Reese says:

    Distractions are good if they have nothing to talk about. Maybe they’ll share a great moment and things will turn around. I sure hope so! You can’t get that childhood back. Very thoughtful take.

  8. I can’t imagine why he has no wife.

  9. gahlearner says:

    You capture the speechlessness of a drifting-apart family perfectly. I only hope, when the kids grow older, there will be something to talk about. Unless he wants to be detached. Unless the kids get fed bad stories about their father through their mum. The kids always lose.

  10. His detachment is so tragic, I wonder if it will leave a permanent mark on his kids. Some truths are impossible to hide. Well told, Patrick.

  11. micklively says:

    When children become pawns on an emotional chessboard, everybody loses.
    Good piece.

  12. Dear Patrick,

    This one goes straight for the jugular. The dad’s voice feels so real and the fact that he doesn’t even name the kids other than “the boy and the girl” speaks volumes. Very well done.



  13. Sandra says:

    I’m not sure it’s necessary to talk to them anyway. Listening seems to be the way it goes. Really vivid impressions here of a family cast apart. Well done.

  14. I like the list of forbidden “fruit.” Well told story of a family gone bad.

  15. Good voice. Sad story, but hopefully it will end well enough.

  16. ansumani says:

    The children might grow up with fond memories nevertheless and appreciate him hanging around their lives, even if he is doing it as a duty.

  17. storydivamg says:

    Nice work, Patrick. You’ve avoided the obvious cliches this week and still written about a common occurrence. Poignant.

  18. “Vinay Leo R.” said the exact words that came to my mind. So sad the casualties of broken families. Well done!

  19. Vinay Leo R. says:

    That’s sad. 😦

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