Cassidy looked at Amelia and recognized goodness personified. She was kind, caring and, yes, needy. She’d simply made the decision that she didn’t need Cassidy. Fair enough. Her choice.
Her loss. He watched from a dutiful distance as she dabbed away with a damp cloth and whispered kindness into her boys.
“Who are you to be so strong?
That you can leave it all behind
Laughing in your sleep
And trusting in the kindness of the world”
Joe Henry. He loved Joe Henry.
“You best be going Peter. Last tube. Bill will be home soon from his squash night.”
Bill had haunted Cassidy’s life for over a year now and he was yet to set eyes on him. He only knew that he existed for sure because the boys put flesh on his bones: “Uncle Bill this. Uncle Bill that.” Not that they’d been given the opportunity to meet; this was the first time he’d ever got past the front door and into Bill’s lair. It was raining so hard that Amelia had dragged the three of them in off the doorstep, sopping wet, and made them all cup of ‘Oxo’.
“There’s twenty minutes left Dad”
“You’ve got school tomorrow Archie”
“But we might miss a goal Dad”
“Move it kiddo”
As they made their way along the Kings Road towards the tube station the stadium erupted.
“Goal” Archie scowled, kicked at a can and drifted ahead of his father.
“Go and walk with your brother Daniel.” Misery loves company thought Cassidy eyeing Archie’s pigeon toed gait. Both he and Amelia had worried that he might need ‘special’ shoes. They had seen a podiatrist who assured them that they had nothing to worry about, then tried to sell them two hundred pounds worth of prosthetic insteps. Nothing to worry about? Cassidy couldn’t remember when he’d last had nothing to worry about. The specialist was right in Archie’s case. He’d developed into a much-prized ‘leftie’, a southpaw so ahead of the pack in his ‘Sunday Soccer’ class that Coach Johnny had to hobble him. “Right foot only for you Archie” he’d shout from the sidelines, then joke with Cassidy about Daniel’s two left feet. “Shame that he’s a ‘righty’.”