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As Ben came in from work, he dumped his tatty looking bag on the chair. As it rested upon the pile of discarded clothes and items below, the bag itself started to lean and as he looked at it, not bothered as to whether it fell or not, half of the year nine science books fell and spread themselves on the brown, stained carpet. It wasn’t that Ben didn’t care about the exercise books or that he wanted to lose them but it was Friday.
Making his way into the tiny kitchenette, Ben searched around for a glass but gave up when his eyes were met only with a pile of seemingly infinite dirty plates and cutlery. So he simply turned and opened the fridge – he would have to drink his beer from the bottle. Ben then took up his usual position in his favourite chair. With a bottle in one hand and the remote, which he had had to retrieve from under a cushion in the other, Ben leaned back and flicked through the channels to see if anything grabbed his attention. But as his thoughts wondered, Ben realised that it wasn’t going to work: No amount of day-time TV or thoughtless staring was going to take his mind from his current problem. This was going to require more drastic distractions. He rooted around in his school bag for his phone and sent James a text.
FANCY A GAMES NITE?
But as no response came, Ben found himself continuing to stare at the dormant phone and thinking.
“Why won’t he talk to me?” Ben found himself saying aloud. Then, as the frustration and irritation that he had managed to put off until now set in, Ben found himself standing up and pacing among the mess that he called a living room.
“Why won’t he just . . . . . TALK to me?!” Ben asked the silent air in his flat.
But he knew there was no answer. The child that he had been teaching at school since September was a fragile case and with the official ‘Child Protection’ procedures already in place, there was no more he could do. Not unless the boy himself made a disclosure or asked for help. It was only when the doorbell rang and pierced the air that Ben’s thoughts were able to focus on something else again. “Hey!” Laughed James as he let himself in “So what we playing?!”