Day 262 – Folie a Deux – Part 13 – James

Word count: 729

A howling gale roared outside. The thickly leaved trees in the forest across the garden were like penguins gathering against an icy Antarctic wind. With the wind shattering the window panes and the rain galloping on the roof, it was not pleasant outside. The river bank was close to bursting its banks. It had been hellish all day.
James had been sitting by the window for hours with his mug of coffee. Whilst it had grown cold long ago, James, wrapped in blankets, had not. For all that time he had been staring out the window. Despite the ferociousness of the storm, he felt oddly calmed by it. From an early age the sound of rain had always soothed him and the prospect of thunder always excited him. Sunny days were fantastic, but these were days designed to ponder and think.
That was exactly what James had been doing all afternoon. James rarely got time to think properly these days. He was always constantly busy and when he came home from work, the children inevitably begged for stories and play-time. He was exhausted; he couldn’t keep up. Though he knew he shouldn’t moan, he couldn’t help but wish for just a few short weeks alone on some god forsaken island out in the Pacific ocean with a few coconuts for company.
A stray spray of rain splashed against the window pane. A child’s giggle reverberated from somewhere behind him. He pretended not to notice. The unmistakeable sound of crawling emerged from the same location as the laughter. It shuffled across the wooden floor; it creaked like James’ grandfather’s old wonky knees. Any second the shuffling would stop and all he would be able to hear is stifled laughter.
These were the moments he enjoyed most about his life. The quiet ones, the special ones. Thomas, his eldest, might not remember this moment next week or even tomorrow, but James would treasure it for the rest of his life. These were the days that brought the tingle of nostalgia along his spine; these were the moments that made his life worth living.

“Hey, enjoying the rain?” a woman’s voice broke the playful silence.
James turned around, Thomas’s face fell as he realised he was caught.
“When did you get back?”
“Just now, it’s pouring. Shall I put the kettle on?”
“No, I think I’m alright.”
“You sure?”
“Yes.”
Miranda left the room. James’ wife of seven years. He wanted to follow after he and kiss her on the cheek; he wasn’t sure what was stopping him.

“Hey there tiger,” he scooped his son up and flew him around the room like an aeroplane, making engine noises as he went.

“Oh yeah, the credit card came in today – can you pay off?” Miranda shouted down the hall.

“Yeah, I will.”

A text message went off in his pocket. He put Thomas down and he scurried off, no doubt back to his massive room of toys. Meanwhile James opened his phone and read the text. It was from Jonny.

Still on for tonight?

James texted back: Not sure, still jetlagged. Raincheck?

No sooner than his message had sent than he had received another one.

Jonny: Checked, it definitely is.

James chuckled: he had just heard a Dad joke.

“Miranda, do you want a hand in the kitchen?”

“No, no, you rest love you must be knackered after the plane! Have you caught any sleep at all since you got back?”

“Not much, but it’s always the same… I just cope. I’ll be alright. You sure you don’t want a hand?”

“Nah, it’s fine – my sister might be popping round later anyway to help with the kids!”

“Help?”

“Yeah, just so you’re not so tired before you start work again…”

James felt a little bit insulted. He was fully capable of both being tired and being able to look after his children. They didn’t need Vanessa’s support, lovely though she was. But James had to put up with it. He was barely here to be part of family life; who was he to have any say on it?

He got out his phone again and texted Jonny back.

Yeah, we’re on.

Locking his phone and placing it back in his jean pocket, he took up residence by the window once more and quietly listened to every single note of nature’s stormy orchestra: bliss.

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~ by S.G. Mark on June 25, 2012.

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