By Richard Wallace
Mum and dad live in separate houses
on different streets, in different towns.
They see each other twice a week,
They talk on the phone, from car windows,
In the yard, on the front steps;
they take me back and forth.
I guess they still share something,
This reminds me of something I saw, one time, while waiting for someone in a supermarket car park.
Two cars drove up and parked. A woman got out of one car, with a small boy. A man got out of the other car. The woman handed the small boy over to the man, with a bag, and what looked like a long set of instructions – much body language and insistent pointing of finger.
I was puzzled about this, then, the person I was waiting for returned, and told me it’s what happens, these days. Neutral ground. Couples who have split up, meeting in a supermarket car park, as neutral ground, to hand over their shared child/children for their slice of time with each parent.
Heart-breaking. I don’t see what the alternative could be, if the grown-ups can’t get along anymore, but…………….still heart breaking. What does it all say, to the children?
I suppose they get used to it, and accept it as the norm, as children can be amazingly adaptable. But well, it isn’t ‘the norm’ Is it? Bartering the most precious thing in your life, back and forth, in a supermarket car park.
It just didn’t feel right, even just watching it.
On the other hand, I used to know a lad, whose parents had stayed together because of ‘the child’, and he knew it, and they were palpably un-happy, with each other, and with the situation. So – not saying folk to stay together ‘for the children’ – I’m not sure how often that works out, but….this supermarket thing just seemed so inhuman and unnatural.
What a start in life, being repeatedly handed over in a supermarket car park.