(writing prompt #304. https://purpldragon.wordpress.com/2017/09/14/writing-prompt-304/)

Source: Writing Prompt #304
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He watched through the window as his mother tucked his half-sister in bed and kiss his step father goodnight, then he turned and vanished into the night.  It was a daily ritual for Tom since he ran away from his father’s house six months ago.  His father was an alcoholic who, in his opinion, probably didn’t even realize he wasn’t around.  He was living bad days and worse nights when his father would come back from the bar and wake Tom up from his sleep just to start beating him.  One night, Tom decided it was enough, he was going to go live with his mother instead.

His mother always wanted him in her life.  She never gave him up, on the contrary she fought hard to gain custody of Tom but it was all because Tom’s dad knew how to best beat the system that she lost him.  She cried so hard knowing that her ex-husband didn’t really care about Tom, he only wanted to hurt her by taking him away.

That was five years ago.

Tom lived with his dad and was neglected from day one.  He was abused verbally all the time, listening to how he was the reason his parents got a divorce and why it would have been better if he were never born.  He went to school after he made his own breakfast, changed, and packed whatever junk was available at home.  The place was a mess and Tom tried to keep it clean as hard as any eight year old boy can.  He missed his mother.

Running away was the best thing he did.  It wasn’t like he was living in a better place but at least the homeless man had more paternal instincts and started sharing everything with him.  During the day, Tom would try to sell anything to get some money and buy some food to settle his rumbling stomach and share what little he has with the homeless man.

He wanted to go directly to his mother and that’s when his new habit started.  He reached her new home at seven p.m. one night and saw her new family gathered around the dinner table.  He could smell the roasted chicken but something in him stopped him from ringing the doorbell.  He didn’t want to ruin the beautiful picture with his dirty boots and jacket.  From then on, he continued to watch his mother live her life while he lived his.  She never saw him behind the bushes.

One day, Tom fell asleep watching his mother and step dad watching a movie.  He wanted to feel as if he were a part of her life again.  He sat down and watched from afar until his eyelids could no longer stay open.

He woke up the next morning indoors, on a bed, and with mother’s arms around him.  He knew her smell very well and couldn’t believe it.  He turned around and saw her smiling into his face.

“How long have you known that I’m watching?”

“Just last night.  Do you think I’d let you go if I ever found you?”

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