The last goodnight

“Mum, I don’t want to go to bed.”

“Come on now, its school tomorrow.”

“Just five more minutes. Please?”

“Alright then, but scoot up to bed quickly if you hear your dad coming home.”

Lou, Peter’s mum, went into the kitchen and began to prepare her husband’s supper. Peter watched her. For some reason his young heart ached. He sat on the sofa pretending to watch television, but he watched his mum instead. She hummed a tune as she chopped vegetables. She turned around and gave him a funny look. “Whats going on with you tonight?” she asked.

“Nothing mum, I think I’ll go to bed now.” Lou came out of the kitchen and hugged her son, planting a big sloppy kiss on his cheek and ruffling his hair.

“I’ll see you in the morning, sleep tight.” She said. Peter didn’t want to leave her. She smelled so good, so safe, so comfortable. Reluctantly he let go of her, “Goodnight mum, I love you.” he said as he climbed the stairs. “Love you too Pete,” She answered.

Peter lay in bed, his head under the covers, listening to his transistor radio. It was 1965, he was nine years old.

transistor radioSleep settled over him, but not for long. He woke up suddenly to the sound of music. What had happened to his radio? It seemed to have traveled back in time. Instead of the latest pop songs he heard Nat King Cole singing his mum’s favorite song. It was an old song, older than Peter, but his mum would sing it to him when he was sad. Why was the DJ playing songs from ten years ago?

Peter’s bedroom door opened a crack and a face peered in at him, it was his older brother. “You awake Pete?” he asked.

The music on the radio changed, The Four Seasons now sang Bye Bye Baby, Baby Bye Bye. Peter scratched his head. Had he been dreaming? He pushed the covers back and watched his brother walk slowly across the room. He sat and on the edge of Peter’s bed.

“Have you been crying?” Peter asked.

“Pete, I need you to be strong now. Can you be strong?”

Pete nodded his head and looked at his brother nervously. “Did you join the army? Are  you going away? I heard you talking to mum about it. She doesn’t want you to.” he said.

“No I didn’t join the army. I’m not going anywhere. It’s mum, she died.” Pete looked at the clock. It was three in the morning. He could hear people talking and crying downstairs. “She had a heart attack,” his brother continued.

Peter put his head back under the covers and turned the radio back on. He didn’t want to hear anymore, he wanted to hear Nat King Cole, he wanted to hear his mum sing to him again. He didn’t believe she’d died. It must be a dream.

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