Jim pulled into his allocated parking space tired and grubby, looking forward to a hot shower, cup of tea and a home cooked meal with his family.
Sara was a terrific cook. He grinned.
Actually Sara was Terrific, period, and he couldn’t imagine his life without her.
His Dad always said never be too happy because some bastard would always come along and spoil it. Yeah, he had that right. His Dad had spoiled a lot of things over the years, but like it or not, he was still his Dad, though he was glad that both he and his brother were now living some 50 miles away.
He let himself in and before he could announce he was home, a flurry of bunny slippers hurled itself at him, planting a big wet sloppy kiss on his dirty cheek.
‘Hi Daddy!’ his youngest sang, wrapping her legs round his waist and enjoying the ride into the kitchen on his hip as was their normal routine.
Kissing his wife’s cheek and inhaling the mix of her personal scent and the aroma of the cooking meal, he put his daughter gently down and said he was off to clean up.
‘Dinner in twenty!’ Sara called over her shoulder.
Meal times were never quiet, but it wasn’t a shouting match either. Conversation about the day was always encouraged, any problems discussed and if a weekend was approaching, suggestions made as to how to spend it.
Money was tight sometimes, but both Sara and Jim were good money managers, always putting their children first and trying to put a little by for a rainy day.
The two boys understood that they couldn’t have expensive brand clothes like their friends, but it didn’t worry them. Their clothes were smart, clean and fashionable, and they never looked like the ragamuffins in too-short trousers and re-knitted sweaters as Jim and his brother had after their mother left.
He was determined to give his family a good life, or as good as he possibly could.
He didn’t smoke, drink or gamble, and as for playing around, no chance.
He loved Sara deeply. She had borne him three smashing kids, although Eric had been a bit of a shock as she was only 17. Her parents had been marvellous and hadn’t pushed them to marry. His Dad had placed all the blame at his door, calling him an irresponsible idiot, and that the girl was trying to trap him. Jim didn’t remind him that he had been in exactly the same position in 1974.
Looking across the table at his family, he felt a sense of pride at what he and Sara had accomplished. They had weathered the storm together, deciding to get married ten years ago. They were thrilled when John came along the month before their first anniversary and little Ellie made their family complete.
That night, Sara showed him the article on her laptop and wanted to know what he thought.
‘Do you think it’s Her?’
‘I don’t know to be honest. There are similarities I suppose, but nothing really concrete to go on. It was a long time ago. I mean, Gran gave me her cards for my 18th and 21st, but I didn’t get one for my 30th. Mind you, Gran was never happy about the way she up and left Dad, mainly because once again we got pushed on to her, though we were much older then.’
‘Maybe your Gran forgot to give you the last one. I mean, she was in her 80s and in the early stages of dementia.’
‘It’s possible I guess. Dad never knew about the others or that I’d been to see her. He hit the roof when I told him about the stolen radios and cigarettes, said I was lying that I suspected drugs and that I had always been jealous of Dave. I so remember that day when the police knocked on our door when Dave had been caught shop lifting when he was 10. He was over at Gran’s so Jenny rang and asked her to send him home, not giving a reason. The copper was brilliant, gave him a warning and said that the shopkeeper wouldn’t press charges if he apologised. Dave said he would, but as soon as the cop left, he laughed and said it was never going to happen. Jenny had none of it, and sent him to his room. He taunted her about knowing Dad would never believe her, so she told him that she wouldn’t be telling him, he would.’
‘You said he’d been in trouble but didn’t elaborate. What happened?’
‘When Dad got home, Jenny said that Dave was upstairs and had something to tell him. When she wouldn’t give any indication as to what, Dad went ballistic and started shouting at her about always having it in for him and never having a good word to say about him. Jen stood her ground and suggested he go up and talk to his son. Shit, it was like World War Three when he found out, but he never apologised to her. Dave was made to give an apology to the shopkeeper though, but he never forgave her for making him tell Dad.’
They read the screen again.
‘What do you want to do?’ Sara asked.
‘I’m not sure. I’ll talk to Brian at work tomorrow. Jenny sent him and Zoe a card every Christmas for years which is how I got her address. They knew her pretty well hence the ‘credit’ issue which was hilarious. I think I’ve already told you when Dad took his car in for repair and expected to drive it away afterwards without paying anything. Brian said he had an arrangement with Jenny, not him. No money, no car. Simple. Dad was livid because he needed it and had to cancel his weekend away with his drinking buddies to settle the bill’.
Sara shut down her laptop and Jim turned off the light, then snuggled her close.
‘I love you,’ he said.
‘I know,’ she answered.
It was some time before sleep came, and with it, dreams of all those years ago and the last time he’d seen Jenny.
© Copyright 2015 Author Pensitivity101 All rights reserved.