Forgive Me by Susan Lewis

You know how it goes, some people you like and some you just don’t. I can tell you this much, you’re not going to like me. No one does. I don’t even like myself, especially not after what I did. Not even before it, really.

My name is Archie (you might already know that), I’m nineteen and before all this I lived with my weirdo mother in the kind of house someone like you wouldn’t want to put a foot inside of. She’s not into housework, see, or decorating, or stuff to make the place smell and look good. She doesn’t really get any of that. Everyone laughs at her like she’s mental and doesn’t understand what’s going on. OK, she’s different, but it don’t mean she’s not a good person inside, despite all the stuff that goes on with her. I know she is, and that makes me feel even worse about being ashamed of her sometimes. Trouble is, it’s not easy having a mum like her, and I hate myself for minding – really, really hate myself. I want her to be normal like everyone else so she won’t get poked fun at and have stuff thrown at her when she walks down the street. Kids do that to make her chase them and she nearly always does.

When BJ came to take me away to work for him he beat her up to make her let me go, and I didn’t stop him because I wanted to go.

BJ’s another story, don’t let’s get into him here.

We haven’t ever met, you and me. I don’t know if we ever will, but I’m laying all this out for you because Dan talked me into it. I know you know him, although he doesn’t talk about you much, but we both know you’re the reason he comes to see me. I find him to be a regular bloke who looks a lot like Superman’s alter ego, Clark Kent, with his black-framed glasses and chiselled features. OK, he’s got Prince Harry hair, but catch one of his smiles and they light him up like a proper movie star, don’t you reckon? He’s a decent type, you can tell by looking at him, with the right sort of manners and a way of listening that makes you talk even when you don’t want to.

He does that to me a lot. If he didn’t, I don’t suppose I’d be writing this, it would never have occurred to me. I guess Dan’s super-powers are of a particular sort.

No one would feel worried about letting him into their front room, the way they would me; and I have to be honest, I’m getting to like the time we spend together. I don’t know anything about him personally like if he’s married or has kids or anything; I’ve never asked and I don’t think he’d tell me if I did.

He’s probably afraid I might send someone to find his family and hurt them.

I wouldn’t, but I don’t blame him for thinking I would.

The first time I met him I didn’t bother speaking to him. To me he was just another tosser wanting to get inside my head. I’m only doing this now because over time I’ve found it’s easier to go along with him than to fight him. He’s got something about him that makes you want to shut him up, not in a rough way, I’ve never felt like smacking him, but in a way that if you do what he’s asking you’re both happy. I could say he has some serious personable shit going on that everyone warms to, even someone like me.

I can hear him in my head telling me to stop writing about him and get back to the point of why I’m doing this.

I can’t see the point myself, because it’s not going to get me anywhere, but now I’m visualizing one of his looks that usually ends up with me thinking he knows more than I do – and frankly that wouldn’t be hard. He’s a smart bloke. Do I wish I was like him? Sure, I’d have to be crazy not to when he seems to have everything going for him. I wonder how rich he is, he gives off the scent of it and I should know, I’ve sniffed enough of it.

So, what can I tell you about me that you’d be interested to know?

I’m not as tall as Dan – he’s about six foot and I’m five ten – and he’s probably twice my age.

What a crack if he turned out to be my long-lost dad.

If he was I wouldn’t have done what I did to you. That’s a fact.

I asked him before I started this letter if I had to spell out what I did.

‘We already know what you did,’ he reminded me.

He’s right, and it was a dumb-ass question. I guess you want to know why I did it?

Well, that’s not something I can tell you without bringing a whole heap of trouble down on us all, and I think you’ve already had enough of that, thanks to me.

So, where do we go from here?