Tuesday, 14 August 2012
In Cassidy's Care: 18: This Sunday (continued)
“Pops”, whispered Cassidy.
He gave a strangled, euphoric yelp and then he laughed out, long and loud, clapping his hands at the recognition.
‘Red Pops’. That was it, the name of his blue tailed kite.
Christ, the banality; his very own ‘Rosebud’ moment.
He loved Citizen Kane; and Orson Wells; what a man; all of that early promise; and, and jeez… Red Pops…
Both Daniel and Archie were looking up at him quizzically, and he in turn squinted up into the blue and breathed in deeply; he loved the parks of North London in early springtime.
Up there with the jousting kites, a confusion of gulls stalked the skies, noisily claiming territory. Cassidy craned his neck and watched as one bird caught another by the wing. After an initial fitful fluttering, their bodies stiffened and froze, perhaps out of fear, or perhaps in dazed deference to the gravity of the unfamiliar moment, a moment that lasted fully twenty seconds, as they looped and twirled in silent dance, a feathery boomerang skimming the sky, before better nature caused them to release and break their arcing descent. The two gulls, seemingly chastened, flew briefly in stunned formation before resuming their raucous rivalry.
“Jeeezus, did you see that boys?”
“Mom says that you shouldn’t take the Lord’s name in vain.”
“She’s quite right Daniel. I am sorry, but… did you see that?”
“And she says that God loves me and Archie more than almost anyone” Cassidy let that one slide. His boys were due some special attention. In four days time they’d be in Massachusetts, scattering their Grandpa’s ashes into the bay. He wanted them to believe that there was purpose to that particular parade. He’d spoken to his mother the night before. She was rock solid.
“I’m staying put. Why wouldn’t I? The beach house is my home. Your dad always jokes about it being built on sand but… don’t fret about me Pickle.”
She hadn’t called him that in years.
“I’ve always taken care of myself while you boys were off doing your things. Besides tending to your dad’s shrubs there won’t be too much to adjust to. Still be talking to myself, there’ll just be more potatoes left over is all…”
Cassidy saw then what he’d known all along: he wanted to go home. Back to the cape, back to the beach house, back to what he was before he wanted to be something else. What prevented his return was that which he loved the most. His sons needed their mother and she was bound to London. And although Amelia might be beyond capers, clowns and Cassidy, she sure as hell needed his benefits: school fees were waived for all faculty kids. That would keep him here for the next ten years at least. He felt sick, dizzy with resentment; he’d be in his mid fifties before he would be free to return home to live, to abide. By that time Annie might have followed Harry and the beach house could have fallen into the sea…
Cassidy rubbed his brow and stumbled, there was a rushing cacophony, a crescendo as blood seemed to flood his brain, what seemed like the snapping of a twig and then just a staggering, bright silence. Cassidy worked his jaw, shook his head, tried to make his ears pop, but the silence remained. He looked to the sky again, beyond the squabbling birds, beyond the carnival of kites, out beyond the blue and, with a jolt, Cassidy saw. He saw that there was much to be held and nothing to be kept. He felt unburdened; an abrupt sense of liberation and release; suddenly everything seemed clear. Cassidy shook his head in wonder; this was his morning for epiphanies.
The noises of the park gradually returned to him and he tested the air.
“The obsession’s in the chasing and not the apprehending”, he quietly sang.
He loved Tom Waits.
His eyes stung and his throat ached. Cassidy paused, a hand on each son’s shoulder. He softly squeezed, and then gently pushed the boys into the breeze, towards the football pitch. A group of kids were clapping and noisily cheering Johnny, their maverick coach, who balanced a ball on his head like a performing seal.
You should throw that man a fish.
The young brothers turned back towards their father, both gave a puzzled shrug, rolled their eyes and sighed in unison “a fish?”
Cassidy swallowed hard.
“See you guys in a couple of hours. Love you both”
And don’t take any shit from that Johnny, he thought.
“Dad”, howled Archie, “you did it again.”
Life, thought Cassidy, placing a cautionary hand over his mouth, is fucking killing me.