I arrived in the darkest hour of the night. The streets were silent but for the swaying silhouette branches – it took me a moment to realise there was a blackout in the streets. It was midnight and I closed the car door quietly. Sound was now my greater sense, the trees sounded like waves in the ocean. The breeze was cool and a shiver ran up my arm as I opened the front door.
I fumbled for the torch near the door, outlined in the previous text from Dawn. I felt my way down the hall and shone the torch into the ceiling to find Beau curled up in his bed, arms up on his pillow near his face. I went to the spare room and undressed and lay in bed listening to the sounds of the house and the trees outside.
‘Mum? Mum, Mum…’ I sat up in bed. My ear was facing the door. Beau was calling out and his words followed each other closely. I looked at my phone, I’d had half an hour of sleep. I walked into his room.
‘Beau’ I whispered.
‘Dad! Where’s Mum?’ he was upright.
‘She’s in bed sweetheart, I just got here’ I kissed his forehead. ‘Lay back down and sleep’, he turned over and I stroke his back.
I went back to bed, the trees were scratching the roof and the wind was trying to open the blinds in my room.
I must have slept through the night. I woke up as Beau was climbing into the spare bed beside me and immediately he describes his soccer triumphs from the night before and how he saved a goal – all the while holding my hand in bed. It was barely light outside.
As weekends go, it wasn’t extraordinary. There was backyard soccer, cheese and tomato toasted sandwiches and wrestling with brushing teeth and homework, but he was constantly at my side. Leaning his head on my shoulder watching tv, clasping my fingers into his hand and when I gave the final cuddle in the back yard and said good bye, he silently walked into the house and sat down next to his mother.
I clicked my fingers to get Dawns attention and she immediately realised what was wrong just by looking at him. We both jovially moved about the kitchen, both fake.
He followed me down the stairs to my car and stood while I put my bag on the front seat. I made small talk – perhaps for my sake.
I closed the door and turned, he smiled. ‘I’m going to run up the road when you drive Dad’
‘Ok my love’ I pulled him in for one last hug. Chicky tiptoed across the patchy grass to join his brother.
I drove up the road and two little boys ran alongside on the curb waving. The autumn sun shining onto their faces as they waved. I drove slowly and watched them run back home, the cool breeze seemingly pushing the sun down faster.
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