The lights were blinding he blinked and tried to steady his eyesight against the wavering skyline. Tried to forget this moment and bury his existence beneath the dirt flung into the air, the screeching of tyres or his mothers’ frantic screams.
“Don’t, Texan, please not my babies.”
“You forced me into this Ana, I will not let you take everything I have!”
“Think about it, really think Texan, how would you look after them?
“I am their father!”
“And I am their mother!”
“Leave, turn around and go. I’m not messing anymore.” Texan’s eyes glistened with rage.
“No. You can’t look after anything but your truck and your liquor!”
Then I saw my mother had Johnny wrapped between her arms, he was gurgling and pushing his head towards the surface of his cotton dress, trying to inhale more air into his tiny lungs. The un-forgiving heat beaming down onto his bald head. Then suddenly he burst into tears.
My father had turned his revolver towards the car, my Mothers face switched from rage to astonishment, desperate to protect her child.
“Texan! Would you have their mother shot dead in front of their eyes?”
“I’d give me nothing but pleasure to blow your brains out, his, and Brass’s if he moves an inch closer to your car. Then I would shot myself, because if you want to leave me. Then go. Fuck right off you ungrateful whore. But try to take my children with you and it’d be a bloody massacre for us all!”
Shayne could not hear what his father was yelling, he was caught between the fire which was gripping his heart. Ten years of age and he had believed until now that nothing could shatter his mother’s smile, but he watched her unravelling, a crumbling porcelain model. Like one of his toy cars back at home in the yard burning up in the sun. Mum cradles Johnny between his nest of egg-blue cotton, he watches her golden fingertips stroke his hair. Kiss his forehead, press her lips onto his flesh; a prayer uttered through her mouth.
I stare at dad, Texan is unflinching he nods in my mother’s direction. This is enough he runs towards her. The blistering sun still presses against his skin, burning the tips of his bare feet against the scolding sand. His mother is drowning in tears which fall which an astonishing intensity, the pain is visible now- it does not just float around in the air above. But it grips her throat forcing her voice into a hoarse whimper. Shayne does not want to let go of his mother but Johnny is wailing and he can feel the shadow of his father against his silhouette. She passes Johnny’s body softly into his clammy hands, he presses the soft fabric against his chest. He has fell silent as though he senses that his mother is gone, he car turning away, her tears drip-feeding the ruby soil. He knew that Johnny was now his only salvation and he was his.