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Seen, but Not Heard

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“Little children should be seen, but not heard,” said Kyle’s mother as she tucked him in for the night. Nighttime was the only time Kyle got to see his mother after the messy divorce. All Kyle had asked for was to spend time with her during the day. He just wanted to play with her.

Kyle’s mother was a cashier by day and telemarketer for most of the night. When she wasn't working, she locked herself in her room and conducted business there. She would also tell Kyle the same sentence when he was bothering her, almost as if it were her mantra for dealing with her attention-starved son. Sometimes, she shouted it at him, angrily.

One day while his mother was out getting groceries in a rare moment of free time, Kyle devised a simple plan. Being only ten, he went by the advice of a friend. He got some rope and made a slipknot with it, as he had learned from the same friend. His plan was to fake hanging himself so that his mother would want to spend more time with him. He would step off the island in the kitchen and land on a stool, making it look like he had hanged himself. He strung himself up and stood on the counter, waiting to hear his mother pull into the driveway.

After a few moments of waiting, he heard the sound of a car pulling into the driveway. Overeager, and excited about the prospect of getting to spend more time with his mother, Kyle jumped off the counter and knocked the stool out from under him. Even more unfortunate was the fact that the car he heard pulling in was only someone turning around in their driveway. It was too late by the time his mother actually came home. She cried even harder when she thought of what she had always told Kyle.

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