This weekend I wanted to share with you a segment from my first publication, ‘The Fathers, the Sons and the Anxious Ghost’. Each chapter of the book is written from the point of view of a different character. In this sample Alex has taken his son to the nearby beach to talk about his difficult behaviour.
I kicked the ball over to him. He had started to loosen up a bit. He gave me a quick cheeky look and then booted the ball past my left shoulder and between the two rolled up jumpers that acted as goal posts. When he was playing footie he was always much more himself. It allowed him to let off steam and he really seemed to have a passion for it. I kind of hope this passion came from me. When I was his age I had joined a team too and we played every weekend with my father as the coach. Maybe I could get him to open up a bit while we pounded the ball across the beach.
I tried to start a conversation with him a few times but it never developed until we had a break and sat down with two large flake ice creams on the nearby park bench. We had both eaten them within seconds and sat side by side staring at the empty beach.
‘You know I didn’t mean to hurt him,’ Alfie calmly announced.
‘I know you didn’t mate.’
‘I just get so frustrated with him.’
‘What do you mean?’ I wanted more details but tried not to be interrogating.
‘Sometimes he takes soooo long to say what he wants to say. Sometimes he bugs me for ages and I just don’t know what he is on about,’ he went on.
‘I see…’ I was trying to be passive here.
‘He can be friendly and stuff but he is just so boring. I don’t like how long he takes to do everything. He bores most of us.’
‘But you do like him deep down? Maybe he just wants to be your friend?’ I tried to counsel him quietly.
‘It’s like mum. She is always so soft and timid and boring. I love her but she is never much fun to be around.’
‘I won’t have you speak about your mum like that!’ I snapped as the conversation suddenly hit a raw nerve.
‘I just mean he is dull. He collects comics. I mean…. Who even reads comics these days!?’
‘It is good to enjoy something like that.’ I took some deep breaths and got back to being reasonable.
‘Mum does the same… her stuffed owls are everywhere.’ His eyes were down, looking at a small crab which seemed to have crawled from nowhere and was journeying diligently across the sand in front of us.
I tried to be clever and link our chat to this.
‘Crabs have a lot to deal with, you know…’ I went for it. ‘They have huge pincers and strong shells. They have to carry these around with them, which makes them quite slow and tempting for animals that want to eat ‘em. They just want to get from one place to another and guzzle their food and hang out in rock pools.’
‘Dad, you are stupid, you know,’ he laughed out loud and with some raucousness.
I had not seen him laugh so freely in a while. It was a welcome release.
‘It is just like us. We carry lots of crap on our shoulders and all we want to do is eat, sleep and chill out.’ I started to laugh back at him as sometimes watching him laugh full pelt made it impossible not to join him.
‘You know, I may be stupid, but I am also your dad, and always will be,’ I reminded him and gave him a head lock, brushing his head with my fingers to tickle him reassuringly.
He swung one arm around me and clutched me tightly, causing me to let go.
‘I do love you,’ he nudged his face against me and rubbed cheeks before we happily sat watching the crab, reminiscing to the sound of the large waves crashing against the deserted pebbles. Still we had no idea of what was to come.
Thanks for reading an extract from my book. I have linked the book below on Amazon and here is another extract which I used in a previous blog article.