Five Minutes

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If I’d not taken five minutes, Billy, my eleven-year-old son, would now be dead.

It could have been so different if I hadn’t decided to do what I’d been promising myself to do for the last five years. Just five minutes, that’s all it took.

The world of technology had taken over my life. Like most of the rest of humanity, my head was forever buried in a screen. Morning, noon and night, I couldn’t resist it. If I wasn’t checking my social media accounts or email every five-minutes, I felt like I was missing out. Missing out on a new world! A new world that just five minutes could change.

It was the distant sound of crying coming from Billy’s bedroom that forced me to bring my head up from the screen of my iPad. Why was he awake and sobbing at this ungodly hour?

When the familiar sound of a ‘ping’ came from my iPad, I could feel myself being pulled into the online world again. I’d made the mistake of looking down and seeing the fixed notification on the screen telling me that Rachel, my online mistress, was available.

Aroused by the thought of Rachel, my finger hovered over the Skype button, where I could instantly connect with her, while my ears picked up the sobbing coming from Billy’s room. What should I do? Check-in on Billy, or find out if Rachel’s was wearing that sexy nurses’ uniform and fishnet stockings?

Thank goodness I chose to take those five minutes wisely. You see, if I hadn’t used them to check in on Billy, I’d never have found out that he’d been contemplating suicide. Not only had the death of his mother, five-years earlier, taken him to the edge of a cliff, but my new online world and the neglect it had forced upon him had also taken him there. 

The self-harm images he’d been looking at on his Instagram account were worlds apart from the images I’d been watching when Rachel was online. Ready to blackmail me, she’d had the camera ready to record me that night.

Not only had those five minutes saved the life of my Son, but they’d saved mine, too.

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