Getting up from the grass, James rubbed his hands together, knocking off as much of the dirt as he could before retrieving the hose from inside of the greenhouse. Perhaps his father had gone on a run, as he often liked to do on Sundays. Planting the seedlings had been a welcome distraction for James this morning, as he supposed a run would be for his father. But he had been gone a very long time now…perhaps a friend from town had seen him and stopped to offer condolences. James imagined the news of his mother’s death would have spread by now. After all, it was a very small town and the fact that their house sat alone in the woods had always seemed to hold a particular curiosity with the locals. Unlike his father, James found no comfort in the company of their well-meaning neighbors. Mr. and Mrs. Fervish had come yesterday, after his mother’s body had been taken away. Mrs. Fervish’s brother worked for the funeral home and had been the one to transport her body. They had come to offer their help and their sympathies but James had just wanted them to stop talking and go away. They had offered to take care of him while his father went into town to make arrangements and James was relieved, although somewhat surprised, when his father politely declined. John had never seemed to understand his son’s preference for being alone and James suspected that bringing him along was more for his father’s benefit than his own.
James rinsed his hands at the spigot before uncoiling the hose. The water splashed down onto the stone below and wet the moss that grew thick all around it. There were tiny red flowers blooming on thread-like stems pushing their way up from the moss. James had never noticed them before and he was just about to call for his mother to come see…she delighted in all things green and growing and the tiny, blood-red flowers would surely please her…before he caught himself. There would be many moments like this to come, he imagined, and he pushed the idea from his mind with great effort as he went back out to the garden, trailing the hose behind him.
After giving the seedlings a proper soaking, James put away the hose and went back inside, intent on finding his father. “Dad!” The screen door slammed shut behind him and the house fell silent again. “Dad!” Still nothing. James went from room to room, thinking perhaps his father was lost in thought or had fallen asleep somewhere, hoping to escape reality for a while. But John was nowhere to be found and James began to grow irritated. He had lost his mother and now he couldn’t find his father. He shouldn’t have to worry about his father right now…his father should be there, doing something, anything… trying to make things better. That’s what mother’s were supposed to do, but in their absence the job fell to fathers and, in James’ opinion, his father was falling short. He was angry now, as people often get when they want to avoid being heartbroken. Being angry was easier and less painful and allowed James to heave the hurt outside of himself and toward his father, no matter that it would come back to him tenfold later…but for now the fierceness of anger burned within him so hotly that he could feel it and nothing else, and that itself was a relief.
© Kelly Rainey and 500wordsandcounting.wordpress.com, 2015.
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