Lego House, flash fiction by Robert Steward at
Xavi Cabrera

Lego House

Lego House

written by: Robert Steward



I didn’t suspect a thing when my friend’s mum greeted me at the front door, or when she led me into the lounge where Robbie was playing Lego. Apart from their freckled tans, everything seemed normal. There was the familiar smell of Alphabetti Spaghetti, Capital Radio on the stereo and a pile of Lego on the beige carpet. Nothing out of the ordinary.
“Hey, Robbie!” I said, smiling. “How was your holiday?”
“Alright,” he muttered, sizing up a blue Lego brick.
I thought he would be thrilled to see me, with a million stories to tell. It felt like I was missing something. Like I had done something wrong.
“I would’ve popped round sooner,” I said to his mum in my defence. “But I didn’t see your car, so I thought you hadn’t come back yet.”
She shook her head as if to say it wasn’t my fault. Then lit a cigarette and told me. Told me her husband had left her. Told me like I was an adult. As if I would comprehend. Her words so matter-of-fact. Like a wrecking ball demolishing a load-bearing wall. Like windows shattering and the roof caving in.
“When we got back from France,” she said. “He put Robbie to bed, grabbed his suitcase and told me he’d found someone else.”
I laughed, as if it was a joke. But immediately wished I hadn’t. I expected her to cry. But there was nothing. Just a tired pale face. I didn’t know what to say or do. Somehow I felt older in those few minutes, more grown up. Someone she could talk to.
“Robbie’s only six.” She drew deeply on her cigarette. “He’s too young to understand. He keeps asking for his dad.”
“Oh,” I murmured, realising the three-year gulf between us.
I wanted to give Robbie a hug, tell him everything would be okay. But all I could do was sit on the carpet and play Lego with him.
“What are you building?” I asked.
“A house,” Robbie replied almost to himself. “A house.”

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