Wednesday, 9 May 2012

In Cassidy's Care: 2. This Sunday (continued)

Cassidy had always been at the centre of things, a dragon slayer, the master of his own destiny, but now his first waking thought would never be of himself again. With a young family in his care, lofty ambitions were grounded by duty; he took his parental responsibilities seriously and acquiesced willingly; the boys were in and of his blood.
Daniel and Archie.
D ‘n’ A.
Nice one Cassidy.
He was now in a world beyond himself, living in someone else’s film. No longer the protagonist, Cassidy now assumed the role of bit part player; his life became one of subsistence; father, provider, and protector. There were inevitable dramas; a litany of tiny victories, a derby of defeats, which Amelia took badly; they diminished her. Amelia liked order. Defeat came as second nature to ‘Punch Bag Pete’; what didn’t kill him made he and his family stronger: a peanut allergy, an orthodontic procedure gone wrong, a new air filter and wheel bearing needed for the ‘Cassidymobile’.
Defeats? He would laugh them off, sing in his thin reedy voice, “Amelia, it was just another false alarm”.
Cassidy paraded as ringmaster, knowing all the while that Amelia was the real master of ceremonies; mistress of emotional geometry; dynamic and well balanced; her slender grip sure and steady while his big clammy hands shook. How easily things slipped; they let go of their own imaginings and relaxed into a domestic bliss. And so began the gentle fall, a creeping shift towards contentment, a big circus of small dramas, which soon declined into drudgery, their intended life of surprises somehow became a trudge. There were heated arguments in the early years as salvage seemed possible, but then came recognition and disappointment. Daniel and Archie watched on bemused and bewildered as their parents’ passion diminished; two party clowns, too tired to fight, laughing wearily as they put their faces into each other’s pies. Maybe they sought humiliation to better rescue and reset themselves. Maybe this was a part of the process of adult survival. Maybe Cassidy thought too much, talked too much, still telling the story of his life, but now in the third (or fourth) person.
Was this vulnerability part of his charm?
Could you be charming and know it?
Didn’t that make the charm an affectation?
Wasn’t charm akin to innocence?
Once you recognized it as one of your virtues was it was not gone, the spell broken?
Cassidy knew now to keep these questions to himself. Once he and Amelia would lie naked and spent in silvery moonlight, discussing anything and laughing at everything. When the laughter stopped so, it seemed, did the care. There was no spite or unkindness, just an imperceptible removal of intimacy; they simply ceased to adore each other, merely endured as functioning parents; the boys the sole focus of any affection.
Still, there was always the refuge of music.
Cassidy loved music.
Sometimes you didn’t have to understand everything. You simply accepted an invitation to inhabit the world, the possibility, of a song.
“I wish this pain would just go away
I wish that dogs had wings”
He wasn’t sure why the thought of flying dogs made his faltering heart swell, but Cassidy loved Marc Jordan.

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