New Beginnings

It had been years since he last stood in this shed and now the death of his father has brought him back.

He hated it as a kid, it’s funny how time seems to let in a more balanced perspective.

He was suddenly flooded by his memories of all the good times he’d had. Hiding amongst the machinery, listening to the men go about their work telling stories of how they would make their fortunes in the big smoke.

Now he stood there as an adult.

He longed to hear his father’s voice calling him out into the open and scolding him for touching the machinery. He would have been angry as a child, but now realised his father was protecting him.

The sun streamed in through the gaps between the walls and the rafters, and he felt his fathers presence there. Everything about this old shed was his father, it was who he was, his work.

Paul, sat down on the wooden boards of one of the machines to open the letter his fathers lawyer had given him. As he read it he cried for the first time as he read his fathers handwriting. He could hear his voice, and felt like that angry little boy again.

Hearing noises outside, he wiped his eyes and put the letter back in his jacket pocket. He could relive childhood moments later, right now he had to focus on the land agent who would be selling the property.

As he walked the agent around the property, he realised how much work would need to be done to prepare the place for sale. He would need to do it himself, or he would never afford it. He told the agent and suggested that they revisit the property in 1 months time when he would have completed the repairs.

As the land agent left, he felt exhausted and decided to stay in the old house for the night, rather than take the long drive back to Melbourne.

Paul entered the kitchen looking for something to eat, there were only left overs from the funeral earlier that day, so he helped himself to the last unopened bottle of wine, found some bread and cheese and sat in front of the fire to contemplate the work ahead.

As he sat and ate, he remembered the old toolbox his father had given him for his 10th birthday and wondered if it his parents had kept it after he left. Hunting through the cupboards he found instead of his toolbox, an old photo album as he opened it a photograph fell out onto the floor in, he picked it up and his heart skipped a beat, there in the old black and white photograph was his father proudly holding him in his arms outside the house. He was just a small baby. He turned the photograph over and to his surprise found that it was the day he had been brought home from the hospital. Photographs of he and younger brother playing happily together, his mother, family holidays and Christmas’, they were all there, all those happy memories.

He put the album down and went back to the cupboard, inside were his father’s medals from the war and the letters that he had sent his mother from school camp. His school report cards, medals he’s won at school sports, everything from his childhood had been kept and cherished. Paul felt ashamed at his behaviour and suddenly foolish for staying away from his family for so many years.

Perhaps he thought he could rebuild some of the relationships he had lost and resolved to call his brother the following day.

Simon, his brother had agreed to meet him at the house for lunch, he waited with trepidation, not knowing how his brother would react to him after all these years. Simon had been 15 when he had left, there had been no contact in the entire 9 years of his self imposed exile.

Paul heard the car tyres on the gravel driveway outside and knew his wait was over. What had Simon made of himself he wondered. He answered the door and greeted his brother with affection. Simon returned his greeting in a businesslike fashion and explained that he’d only come to find out what was to become of the property and collect his childhood things.

Simon didn’t leave that night, he stayed, in fact he stayed for 5 days. They had sifted through their father’s things and the coldness somehow melted away. Simon started to see Paul as his brother again.

Paul told him of his reasons for leaving and why he’d stayed away. He explained about his mother’s illness and the toll it had taken on his father. When their mother had died, his father was lost, every time he looked at this father, he saw his weakness and he hated him. Now with new perspective and the loss of his own wife in childbirth, he realised the suffering his father had been through and he’d found peace.

Paul realised that he had a second chance to be happy, to know his family. He would honour his father and mother’s memory. He would work the property, bring it back to it’s former glory, make it successful, just as his father had done.

He had come home.

New Beginnings

Charlotte Morison

Point Cook, Australia

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Artist's Description

Story depicting a sons anger and frustration at his fathers grief at the loss of his mother.

Artwork Comments

  • Ozcloggie
  • Charlotte Morison
  • Anne van Alkemade
  • Whirligig
  • Charlotte Morison
  • Lawford
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  • Charlotte Morison
  • dreadfulbride
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