Pageant Part 4

Grant looked at the mug, then up at Sue.
“Thanks for the tea,” he said.
“No worries,” she replied.
“When do the kids get home?”
“Soon.”
“How are they going?”
“Not bad.” Then, “Braydon fights too much.”
“Does he?”
“Yep.”
“I’ll have to have a word with him then.”
“You can try.”
A pause. The tea was milky. Milkier than he liked it. Sue always made it that way, he remembered. There was a chip on the other side of the cup. It was an old, old cup. He wondered how long it had been since Sue did the books for the company. Five years, maybe.
“Where are you staying?” she asked.
“The Colonial. On High Street.”
“Of course. Have you checked in yet?”
“I checked in before I got here. It looks okay. Big room.”
“Good.”
A fly buzzed around their heads. Someone had left the fly-wire open. Maybe the kids. Grant looked at the window for inspiration.
“Have you had rain lately?”
“A bit.”
“That’s good. It’s been raining in Melbourne.”
“It always rains in Melbourne.”
“True. But it’s rained a lot.”
“I haven’t been there for a while.”
“You should.”
“Haven’t had any reason to.”
“I guess not.”
Buzz.
Then a sound at the door. Kassie.
*
The day had taken its toll on Kassie. Even before she encountered her tear-stained and sulky older brother at the bag racks, she had spent the day over-heated and frustrated – a combination of teachers demanding her to know what sounds “j” made, classmates bickering and her best friend Katie telling her all about her AMAZING holiday plans. Coming home to find a man sitting in her living room who was supposedly her father was more than she could manage.
“G’day Kassie,” said the man.
She sniffed and ran off to her room.
“She’ll come around,” said Sue. “Just give her time.”
Braydon, on the other hand, needed more time than was available to him. The streets he walked along were neither long enough nor private enough for everything that was going on within him. Nor were there enough rocks for him to kick. When he arrived at his home far earlier than he had hoped or expected, he paused at the door, staring at it, almost willing it to be inaccessible to him. Then, slowly, with a mammoth exercising of will, he opened it and looked through the door. He could just make out the edge of a man’s arm from within the couch.
“Braydon?” His mother’s voice.
He took a step inside.
“Your dad’s here,” she said. “Come and say hi.”
Braydon took another step until he could see the man sitting on the couch. He was cleanly shaven and wore a checked shirt. He had glasses. Braydon had never imagined his father wearing glasses.
He paused.
“I took so much shit for you this week,” said Braydon.
“Don’t swear, Braydon,” said his mother.
“Come here,” said his father.
Slowly, Braydon approached a man who was simultaneously a stranger and altogether familiar. His eyes, without their glasses, were almost identical to his, and his mouth sat the same unsteady way on his face. He didn’t exactly look like a man who could fly, but then neither did Clark Kent. There would be a time, Braydon thought, when he could demand a demonstration, but perhaps not today.
“G’day,” said his father.
“Hi,” said Braydon.
“Do you want a drink?”
“Sure.”
“Coke?”
Braydon looked at his mother, as though for permission. Before she could respond, Kassie was in the doorway.
“Don’t give him Coke,” she said. “You’ll regret it.”
 
Go to Part Five

2 thoughts on “Pageant Part 4

  1. He’s done it again :-/ Gets to a really interesting part of the story and says, “All right kiddies, that’s all for tonight, now go to sleep.” Aaaaaaargh!!

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