Lost voices Part II: Apathy

She faces the kitchen window that sits over the steel-grey sink. Her three, small children play around her feet.

With her hands plunged into the dirty, warm water of the washing up bowl, she looks distractedly ahead. She is shattered, daydreaming, staring into the lush foliage of the garden that she can see beyond the smudged glass of the kitchen window.

Through idle habit. she turns on the radio. She is vaguely aware of a confrontation on the news programme that greets her ears. She doesn’t have the energy to deal with their enthusiasm, so she switches the station to something more soothing. She lets the gentle music wash over her, and lets the dirty washing up water slip quietly down the plug hole.

She decides not to worry about the rest of the pots. She smiles an absent minded smile –  no point wasting energy doing jobs that never end. Best to not worry about it.

She feels very little.

She realises that during her distraction, the din from her three small boys has become deafening. How did that happen? Perhaps the gentle music disguised their disharmony. They were playing so nicely last time she looked.

She asks them to be quiet. She asks them what is wrong. She feels disconnected, like she is underwater listening to the noises that surround her. Ineffective, seemingly powerless, she wanders into the living room

“Come on and watch the telly?”,she asks, tiredness evident in the rings beneath her eyes.

Delighted, three little cherub faces fall onto the sofa beside her. The sensitive one snuggles up, silently. The toddler runs into the room, weeing all over the stained rug as he goes. “I’m here!”, he seems to say. She picks a damp bath towel from the floor and carelessly places it under his bottom, in a half hearted attempt to protect the settee.

The outspoken one lies across his mothers lap

“You. Are. GREAT”

She is too tired to explain that collapsing in front of the TV again is not the greatest act of parenting. She instead just tells him that he is great too. By now he is engrossed in the TV show:

“I don’t want to speak anymore.”

The children are all of them silenced. This silence should be welcome. But she is too tired to notice it.

She knows she ought to do more with them, to think more, to respond better to the challenges life throws her way. But she reasons that she barely makes an imprint on the world she inhabits: why waste energy worrying about things that she cannot change?

In her apathy, she has found her excuse to do nothing.

They sit quietly. Nobody speaks.

This piece of writing is part II of a three part series, written in response to the WordPress 101 writing challenge. You can find Part I of this series, Lost Voices Part I: Frustration here

 

10 thoughts on “Lost voices Part II: Apathy

    • Abby Boid says:

      Thank you Trent. I felt I was being a bit lazy just taking the same story and giving it a different feel. But it turned in to being an interesting exercise. I was only recently thinking i hadn’t seen you on wordpress for a while, then I realised I had either totally failed to follow your blog or clicked unfollow inadvertently. Back following and looking forward to reading more.

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      • trentpmcd says:

        Hi Abby. Truth be known, with my limited time to read posts and having chosen to follow too many blogs I haven’t seen your posts come up in a while. I’ve read a few of the posts I missed this morning and remember why I followed you in the first place. I’ll try to keep a closer eye out for your posts and follow you a little more closely again.

        BTW – rereading what I wrote yesterday I’m not sure if I made it clear that I really liked your two stories. I think it’s a clever idea. I saw in your response to another commenter that you plan another in this series. Can’t wait to read it!

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      • Abby Boid says:

        Thanks so much Trent for your most generous and thoughtful of comments. It’s hard keeping up with folk in blogging land isn’t it?
        And thanks again for saying that you liked the stories. It has been an interesting process writing them. It is strange because I feel the stories have told me what I am interested in, rather than the other way around. Most peculiar!
        See you soon. 😉

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  1. Michelle Sherlock says:

    I liked the different choices which resulted in different outcomes. I think your post also reflects that conflict which is in most mum’s of trying to look after ourselves while chasing perfection all the while knowing it’s unattainable. I think if I met with that mum in real life I would say, ‘You are doing good. Go easier on yourself. Children just love snuggling up with you. They aren’t trying to be the next prodigy, they just want love.’

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    • Abby Boid says:

      You are so right. Kids just want love and a cuddle sometimes. Perhaps the use of the TV example in the story is a bit judgemental of people, like me, who feel the the tv is a most wonderous of thing! I will look to address that in the final instalment of this series.
      Thanks for your v helpful comment.

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      • Michelle Sherlock says:

        Hi Abby – I didn’t feel it was judgmental. I felt it was typical of the self-critical thoughts that pass through most mother’s head, the worry of never being good enough, doing enough, not being super-mum and living up to unachievable disney-fied expectations

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      • Abby Boid says:

        I see now! Thank you for the clarification. It’s so interesting to hear what people make of what you write isn’t it.
        If you want to see my views on what Disney characters would make of us, I did a post once about Mary popins and Aristotle having a word with me about perfect parenting. I think there’s a link in the right hand side of my blog.

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