Jack enjoyed exploring in mommies room. He had recently discovered that some of the large solid structures in the room were in fact hollow and contained hidden compartments. He liked pulling on them to reveal what was hidden inside. The last time he had played in mommies room he had found a shiny object that made nice smells, he liked the nice smells because they reminded him of mommy. She had warned him not to play in her room anymore, but he wanted to find out what other interesting things he could find.
He was supposed to be watching TV, but when mommy started pushing the machine that made loud noises, he couldn't hear the TV anymore. So he decided to go to mommies room and look for something to play with.
He crept into the room and walked up to a large brown structure. He remembered finding the nice smells there and wondered if he might find them again. Then the loud noises stopped and he heard footsteps behind him. He turned around and saw mommy standing in the doorway.
"Jack, mommies told you not to play in her room, you'll make a mess. Now be a good boy and watch TV whilst mommy cleans the house," mommy said.
He understood that mommy didn't want him to play in her room, but he wasn't sure why. He reluctantly waddled back into the living room and sat down in front of the TV.
"Jack, mommy is going out this morning and she can't take you with her. Sophie is going to look after you for a couple of hours whilst mommy is gone, do you remember Sophie?" mommy said.
Jack could remember meeting Sophie and being held by her. Mommy seemed to be saying that he was going to see Sophie again. But he didn't quite grasp the full meaning of what was being said. Some of the words sounded unfamiliar to him.
"Sophie?" Jack said.
"Yeah Sophie, remember the nice lady who came to see us? She's going to babysit you today for a few hours," mommy said.
Jack understood that he was going to meet Sophie again, but he didn't know why. Soon he was distracted by the songs coming from the TV and he gave no further thought to Sophie's pending arrival. Eventually his concentration was broken by a knocking sound followed by the sound of mommy talking to someone.
"Jack, Sophie is here, come say hello," mommy said.
When Jack saw Sophie he felt a rush of excitement, but he wasn't sure why.
"Hi Jack, do you remember me? Me and you are going to have so much fun today." Sophie beamed.
Jack stood up and walked over to her gingerly.
"Hello," he said timidly.
Mommy knelt down in front of Jack so that she was closer to his face.
"Jack, be a good boy for Sophie whilst mommy is gone. I'll be coming back soon," mommy said.
Mommy kissed Jack on the head and then got back to her feet before stepping out of the door. When she closed the door behind her Jack was momentarily surprised, then it suddenly dawned on him that Mommy was going and Sophie was staying. He didn't want her to go.
"Mommy, no," he whimpered.
"It's okay Jack, she's coming back soon, she won't be gone for long." Sophie said.
Jack's heart began to race and he could feel a knot in the pit of his stomach. He felt scared. He knew that mommy was gone and he didn't know when she would be coming back. His lip started to quiver and warm tears began running down his cheeks.
"Mommy, Jack want mommy," he cried.
"Shhhh don't worry Jack, I promise she'll be back." Sophie said softly.
Jack looked up at Sophie and sobbed loudly before instinctively stretching out his arms. Sophie scooped him up into her arms and embraced him lovingly. Jack held onto her tightly and continued to sob.
"It's okay sweetie, mommy will come back, shhhh it's okay." Sophie said.
Jack could feel her warm hand rubbing his back, it felt soothing and soon his sobbing started to subside. He rested his head on her shoulder and let out the occasional whimper. He felt safe in Sophie's arms and he didn't want her to let go.
Then he remembered that he had wanted to say something to Sophie. He could recall wanting to tell her that he was a big boy. He couldn't articulate to himself why he needed to say this, but he felt strongly that he had to tell her. He felt somehow that if he told her that he was a big boy, then he would be a big boy.
He thought that there might be another word for being a big boy, a word that he couldn't remember anymore. He briefly tried to recall the word, but then he stopped himself when he realized that mommy might catch him using big words. He was sure that something bad might happen if he used big words.
After Jack had calmed down, Sophie carried him into the living room and placed him on the floor amongst his toys.
"Are these your toys Jack? Show me which one you like the most?" Sophie said.
Jack pointed towards a brightly colored push along tricycle. He liked riding on his trike because it made him feel like he was a big boy.
"Wow, a trike, shall we play with it?" Sophie said.
Jack grinned and climbed onto the tricycle. He felt an urge to show Sophie what he could do. He also wanted to tell her that he was a big boy, but he knew that mommy wouldn't want him to say that. He felt sure that if he told Sophie, mommy would know about it. But he still felt compelled to tell her.
Sophie grabbed hold of the parent handle on the tricycle.
"Do you want me to push you?" she asked.
"No, Jack big boy," he replied.
"You're a big boy? Okay then, show me what you can do." Sophie said.
Sophie removed her hand from the parent handle. Jack hadn't yet mastered using the pedals on the tricycle, so he used his feet to propel himself forwards.
"Look, look," he said.
"Wow you're doing it all by yourself, you are a big boy." Sophie gushed.
Jack was pleased with himself. When Sophie called him a big boy he felt like he really was a big boy. Now he understood why he had wanted to tell her that. But as he continued to play with his toys he started to feel increasingly uneasy, like something was wrong. Then it occurred to him that although Sophie had called him a big boy, he was still much smaller than her. He wanted to be big like Sophie was.
He thought carefully as he played with a toy truck. He had a vague intuition that he used to be big, but he couldn't put what he was feeling into words.
Sophie big, Jack small, Jack big, he thought.
He racked his brains but he was struggling to resolve the contradiction. Then another word popped into his mind.
Was, he thought.
He felt as though that word would describe how he was feeling.
Jack stopped playing with his toys and looked up at Sophie, who was now sat on the couch.
"Jack...Jack was big," he said.
"You rode your trike by yourself like a big boy didn't you?" Sophie replied.
Jack frowned as he struggled to find the words to get his point across.
"Jack was big," he repeated, stretching his right arm above his head.
"You will be big one day Jack, when you're a grown up like me, then you'll be big." Sophie said.
At first he wasn't sure what she meant. He thought carefully about the word "will" and tried to remember it's meaning. Then he recalled that Sophie had told him "mommy will come back". His intuition told him that he would see mommy again, so he felt that the word "will" meant that something would happen.
Jack will big boy, he thought.
Jack felt reassured knowing that he would become a big boy. He didn't know when it might happen, but it never even occurred to him to ask. He no longer had words or numbers to describe the passage of time and hence no way of accurately measuring it. In his mind there seemed to be no difference between something that would happen tomorrow and something that would happen in the distant future. He knew of events that had occurred and of events that would occur, but all reference points had been lost. Jack resumed playing with his toys and he soon felt at ease again.
Sometime later there was a knock at the door and Jack looked up from his toys to see mommy stood in the doorway.
"Hi Jack, did you miss me?" she asked.
He ran towards her excitedly and she scooped him up into her arms. He listened intently as mommy and Sophie talked to each other, but he couldn't follow their conversation. He understood the meaning of some of the words, but they were dispersed among a sea of words that sounded unfamiliar to him.
He could only pick up on fragments of what they were saying.
Then Sophie said goodbye and stepped out of the door. He wasn't sure why she had left, but he didn't want her to go. Mommy tried to reassure him, but he was still confused.
When mommy carried him out of the house and over to the car, he realized that they were going somewhere. He didn't know where they were going, but he wondered whether Sophie might be there. After he had been buckled into the car seat, he started to feel sleepy.
When Jack opened his eyes he found himself in an unfamiliar place. Mommy was carrying him through a strange room, it was long and lined with doors. He sniffed the air and noticed that it had an unusual smell.
Mommy carried him through one of the doors into another strange room, where he saw a man sat down at a table. The man had hair on his face and Jack thought that he looked funny, so he pointed at the man and laughed.
Then he remembered that he had seen the man somewhere before. He looked around the room and it too seemed familiar. When he heard mommy say the word "Palmer", he was sure that he knew the man. He remembered being in the room before, but he couldn't remember why he had been there.
Mommy sat down at the table with Jack sat on her lap. The man looked at Jack and talked to him, but Jack didn't understand the big words that the man was saying. The man's voice sounded deep and scary, Jack didn't want to talk to him. He listened to mommy and the man talking to each other, but he quickly got bored of trying to follow their conversation.
He whimpered and tried to get mommies attention, but she carried on talking to the man.
"Mommy, mommy." Jack whined.
"Just a minute honey, mommy is talking to someone," she replied.
Jack frowned and then wriggled restlessly in her lap. Some time later, she picked him up and carried him out of the room. He was glad to be leaving, he just wanted to go home and play with his toys. Mommy carried him out of the building and into the parking lot, when he saw the car he was sure that they were going home.
She lifted Jack into his car seat and then pulled the harness down over his shoulders, before reaching for the buckle in-between his legs. As the buckle clicked into place, Jack gazed up at her and smiled.
vended · Nov 1, 2022A good read overall. I liked the realistic approach at the start. To be honest, I was a bit bummed to see it go along the trope of the "wife who discover the ARed guy had an affair and turn mad", but the slow mental AR made it worth it. Very neat to witness over the chapters! The sideplot with the babysitter was a good way to add tension mid-story as well. The end made me wonder why we ended up never hearing more about the Doctor or even the mother who's mentioned near the beginning, both character who I expected to see more, but it concluded in a satisfacting way. Thanks for the read!