‘Please don’t hate me.’
My son’s face was shining with tears.
‘I don’t hate you. Whoever told you that?’
‘Mum. She says that every time she sees you, you say nasty things about me.’ I bridled inside. The split was her fault, not mine.
‘Look, son, your mother and I are apart now. We have to meet to discuss money matters. She is unhappy. She says anything that comes into her head. She doesn’t mean any of it.’
‘She doesn’t seem unhappy. She meets a man at the school gates. He makes her smile.’
Bloody woman. On the make, only a few weeks after she left, taking the boy with her. ‘She can’t help being bitter. You’re a big boy now, almost eight years old. We’re men of the world. We don’t blame your mother.’
‘She says you think I’m a dunce at school.’
How could she? The boy’s as bright as a sunflower.
‘No, that’s not true. I had a chat with your teacher last week and she says you’re doing well.’
‘Why should mummy tell lies?’
‘Your mother feels that it was my fault that you both had to leave. She wants to get back at me in any way she can. She is using you as a weapon to belittle me in your eyes.’ ‘Belittle?’
‘Make me appear to be no good as a dad.’
‘You don’t hate me, then?’
‘Son, I love you so much it hurts me to be away from you for a single minute. Being able to see you only at weekends is torture for me. I never wanted your mum to leave. It was her decision.’
‘I miss you so much, dad.’
‘Come on, son. I have to get you home.’
‘Till next Saturday, then?’
‘Yes, son, till next Saturday.’