Today I took Matilda & Myles to see Circus Quirkus. Even better, our tickets were freebies, Myles brought them home from school yesterday, they had been giving them away. As there were only two tickets we decided that they could go alone, I would drop them off and be there to pick them up. They're 12 & 14 now and cam mostly be relied upon to do the right thing.
It was on in the Exhibition Centre at South Bank...a delightful area of Brisbane, full of indulgent cafes, gorgeous shops way out of my price league (but it's good to look...!!!) and parkland...it's right on the river so you can sit and enjoy an hour or so with a coffee & the paper whiling away some time watching the river traffic.
I went back to collect them and was sitting on some steps waiting for the show to finish. In the same building there was a Home Builders & Renovators Show going on...you know the kind of event...lots of manufacturers stalls displaying their products, lots of little sample giveaways and balloons for the children.
While I was waiting I noticed a little boy (older than 18 months but not quite two yet), ballon on a stick in hand, running towards me...full tilt at the steps, one thing in mind...that was to get up them before someone grabbed him from behind to spoil his fun. I smiled to myself watching him.
I noticed two older siblings following (both with helium balloons tied to their wrists) and Mum & Dad bringing up the rear slowly. Dad was shouting at the little girl to get her brother before he got to the steps.
To make his getaway easier the little one threw away his balloon and kept running. His sister (Bailey - around 5ish) ran after him, stopping on the way to pick his balloon up and was calling him.
"Flynn, Flynn...come to Bailey, come and get your balloon back..."
She continued to run after him and caught up to him right at the foot of the stairs. Her older brother (Zac - around 7-8 years) came after her and tried taking Flynn's balloon away from her, he was giving her a hard time about having taken it from Flynn. Bailey was quite upset by this and was trying to tell Zac that Flynn had thrown it away. The children argued and Flynn bagan to cry as he was stopped climbing the stairs.
The father came up to the children, thunderous look on his face, he was obviously quite angry about something. This was happening not 10 feet in front of where I was sitting. He then shouted "Shut the fuck up you two, I'm sick of your fighting..." and punched...YES, PUNCHED WITH CLOSED FIST...Bailey & Zac in the chest, causing them both to fall over. He then very deliberately held their helium balloons down and broke them...it was so deliberate, so purposeful, the balloons were on long ribbons and floating in the air, he had to physically hold them down so he could stand on them.
I was utterly speechless, I could not think of a word to say. Poor Bailey and Zac were on the ground still, crying quite hard. I wanted to go to them and cuddle them but didn't dare for fear of getting punched too. In the end I HAD to say something, I risked getting my face smacked in but had to address him, I couldn't let it go...
"I bet that made you feel like a real man, didn't it..??
He looked at me and for a moment I panicked inside...I thought I was in for it too. He obviously thought better of it and then picked up little Flynn and kept going, leaving Bailey & Zac to pick themselves up off the ground and follow. They were so sad, their burst balloons dangling along behind them.
And Mum...she was just cruising along behind, pushing the stroller. She had seen all of this...how could she not have. If this is public behaviour I dread what must go on in their home behind closed doors...she probably is on the receiving end of his violence too.
I spoke to a security guard afterwards who had also witnessed most of the incident. He had radioed to his Supervisor who could have summoned the Police had they remained in the Exhibition Centre, but sadly they had left.
My heart goes out to those sad little children, I wonder what will become of their lives...???
I'm so churned up tonight,
I wish I had done more,
I wish I hadn't felt so damned powerless,
I wish I had thought to phone 000 and summon the Police the moment it happened,
I wish I had been courageous enough to speak out and draw the public's attention to this excuse for a man's behaviour.
Mid-40 something, left leaning Mum with two children at home...one I gave birth to, one given to me with love. Have recently relocated to Queensland for lifestyle reasons...my partner John & I decided it was time to merge our two little families. It's all kinds of fun and at times manic but we consider ourselves very blessed.