Glimpses [UK version]


Glimpses is a collection of 26 fictional stories about disaffected teenagers.

Glimpses is a collection of 26 fictional stories about disaffected teenagers. Meet Chenai who self-harms as a result of being sexually abused; Scott whose father forces him to beg; Malena, the teenage mother; Yuan, who is motorbike mad; Todd who questions his sexuality, plus many more characters who have to cope with the dilemma of growing up in an imperfect world.

Glimpses contains stories about children who live their lives through disappointment, abuse and terror. It covers a wide range of social issues ranging from poor parenting, racism, bullying, mental health, illiteracy, truancy, poverty and the underclass, drug and alcohol issues – as well as criminal behavior including gang culture and use of weapons.

Humans are shaped by experience – what happens when these experiences go bad? Henry uses these stories to show the reader that there are reasons for disaffection while reminding us that there is so much untapped potential in troubled young people.

Aymon from ‘Glimpses’

Aymon looked at his mother in a surly and intimidating manner. He hated the way she thought she could lecture him, especially since he thought her behaviour was worse than his. She had asked him to stop smoking cannabis in the house because they were expecting the family social worker to arrive and Aymon’s mother knew that she would be able to smell the leftover smoke. His response to his mother was a ‘hiss’ and a ‘V’ sign, whilst he remained slumped in his seat with his feet up, happily puffing away.

Aymon liked being the ‘boss’ at home and thought he automatically earned his position by being the eldest male in the family. He would come and go as he pleased and this meant that his mother seldom had any idea where he was. He was part of a local group of youths who enticed him into offending and drugs. There were times when he didn’t return home at all. Aymon’s mother used to attempt to challenge him for staying out overnight without telling her, but he usually threw a tantrum when she tried to tell him off. The after-effects of a heavy night of drugs and partying often left him in a cantankerous mood.

Aymon had no respect for his mother. He thought she was lazy and that all she did was watch television and smoke cigarettes. Years of blaming her for him having no father had meant that his relationship with her was often volatile. Recently this had resulted in him being vio-lent towards his mother, which left her with bruising on her face. Aymon resented his mother for informing the social worker about him hitting her during the visit. The social worker pointed out to him that he was developing a nasty temper because of his drug use. Aymon took umbrage to the social worker’s comments and gave her a venomous stare before answering.

‘That’s none of your business,’ he replied, before muttering under his breath, ‘Fucking bitch.’

Then one day, something absolutely amazing and unexpected hap-pened. Aymon was watching a film when the doorbell rang. He pre-sumed it was one of his friends but when he opened the door he dis-covered a man who he did not know standing there. The man asked if his mother was in but before Aymon had a chance to reply, the man brushed past him. Aymon felt a little frightened by this sudden action. This soon turned to shock when he listened to the conversation between his mother and the man.

Goose pimples crept all over Aymon when the identity of the stranger became clear. It was his father who had returned. Here, before him, was the person at whom he had directed anger, bitterness and hatred for as long as he could remember. This figure at the back of his mind had become the excuse for his bad behaviour. This was the man who he blamed for his problems and unhappiness, and now, he was in the same room with him. Aymon felt completely dumbfounded by his father’s sudden and unexpected presence.

Life changed for Aymon overnight. It transpired that his father had just been released from prison where he had served nearly ten years for murder. Aymon hated the way his father had returned to family life, assuming that he could just pick up the pieces where he left off before his long absence. He didn’t consider his father as part of the family. Although he knew that his mother had stopped looking after her appearance and had few friends, he hated the thought of her having sex with this man, his father, who was a stranger to him.

Aymon was no longer the boss at home. A new master had taken up the reins and expected his rules to be adhered to. Although Aymon’s father took pride in his hardened image, he liked to adopt a criminal chivalry that prohibited him from hitting women or taking drugs and because of this he directed his anger towards Aymon.

Aymon was stopped from smoking cannabis at home and was told by his father that he was expected to be at home each evening by ten o’clock. He hated these new rules and challenged his father at every opportunity. However, one day Aymon went too far in his obstinacy to the new conditions and for this, his father responded with hard punches. The fact that his mother disclosed, to his father, how he had hit her did not earn Aymon any leniency when he pleaded for him to stop. However, as the weeks went by, he got bored playing the father figure and began to spend less time at home. His control over Aymon lessened as a result.

At this stage, Aymon’s relationship with his mother began to change. On the surface it appeared that he had become more caring and protective towards her; he helped with household tasks and spent more time with his siblings.

But a plan had already formed in his mind. He had discussed the sit-uation with his girlfriend, and together, they had hatched a plan to sabotage Aymon’s parents’ reconciliation. Together they agreed that Aymon should start to sow seeds of doubt in his mother’s mind about his father seeing other women. Aymon liked this idea but reckoned that it would be unwise to rush home one evening and blurt out such suspicions. Instead, he planned to start telling her things slowly under the pre-tence that he was genuinely concerned about her getting hurt. Hence, pretending to be a devoted son was part of the scheme.

It started gently with him telling her stories that he had heard about his father from friends and neighbours. There was truth in some of the rumours but Aymon exaggerated and added bits on. His mother was furious when he told her that his father had been seen drinking and gambling in a casino and that he had been seen in the company of prostitutes on several occasions. Aymon knew she believed him and she told him that she was tired of supporting his father financially. His father had refused to get a job but still demanded total control over their social benefits, which left Aymon’s mother with little money for food and household bills.

The more information that Aymon fed his mother the more she believed him. When he saw her believing his stories, he started emphasising how well they all had coped when his father was in prison and added how they could manage without him if he were to leave again. Aymon made these assertions with the promise that if this were to happen, he would take his responsibilities at home more seriously than before.

Then one evening, matters came to a head and a violent argument broke out between Aymon’s mother and father. They shouted and yelled at each other. Incomprehensible accusations of all kinds were screamed at the top of their voices. Objects flew across the room and the air was filled with the sounds of broken glass and crockery. Fascinated, Aymon and his brothers sat and watched the fighting. Suddenly, Aymon jumped up from his seat and started yelling at his father to stop.

‘Stop hitting her, you bastard or else I will kill you,’ Aymon threatened.

‘Go on then, try it, fucking try it, if you think you’re so strong,’ his father replied.

Rage swelled Aymon’s muscles as he ran to the kitchen to pick up a knife and then, upon returning to the room, he threatened to kill his father if he did not leave the house. Aymon held the knife out and stared directly at his father. His father swore at him and told him that he would ‘fix things’ with him later as he walked towards the door to leave.

Afterwards Aymon stood with his back to the door, shaking and breathing heavily. He considered his actions to be truly vindicated and for the first time in ages, he began to feel a sense of relief. Little did he realise at this stage that his actions were far from being ideal. The anger and hatred he had towards his father would become so fixed that it would haunt him in the months and years to follow.

Home life, notwithstanding the bitterness he held towards his father, began to return to normal. Aymon resumed his old habits and ceased playing the role of concerned son. The fixation he held previously about being an abandoned child was now replaced with a vengeful hatred towards his father. He fully demonstrated this anytime he met him in public.

‘Aren’t you back in the nick yet? – you useless bastard!’ he would often shout at his father. ‘Best place for you,’ he would then add.

What hadn’t changed though was the dreary life that Aymon lived at home. In fact, it had now worsened; his behaviour became even more challenging towards his mother. He announced to her one day that he had asked his girlfriend to move in with him. Cannabis was again smoked in the house, he refused to attend school and the days were spent either sleeping or being in a foul mood. He often committed street robberies without a trace of remorse and never feared get-ting caught. The saddest thing of all was perhaps that there was no one influential enough in his life to get him to stop. Daily misery continued in every aspect of his life but Aymon didn’t realise this. He felt happy and contented with his routine and anyone who tried to contradict him was met with a cocksure reply. Indeed, Aymon always appeared to have sarcastic answers ready and waiting at his disposal.

As a writer, I try to incorporate both sides of humanity into my writing, having learned that life is far from grim and that there is enough kindness, compassion, love and humour to overcome life’s obstacles, regardless of how much misery, abuse, or injustice exists.
Written by Declan Henry


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