Sunday Stories: Two Shoes Full Stop
It was 1 AM. A typical hour to wake up and take a leak, for a man my age. It was one flight of stairs down to get to the toilet. One flight more to the downstairs where we kept our bicycles. I peaked down and saw his bicycle standing there with those of the others. Then I remembered his tire was flat and that he went out on foot. So I went downstairs to check for another sign of him having come back.
His shoes were there, at the bottom of the stairs. I stared at them, the tips pointing to each other. So very much my son. Their laces still done. I felt more at ease, ready for my leak. It only took half a flight of stairs to have lost the confidence I had just gained. The shoes being there didn’t mean he was there. Actually it could just as well mean he wasn’t there but he just wanted me to feel comfortable. So very much my son.
The options were three. Four flights of stairs up and check whether he was in bed. Be the usual drama queen and wake up my wife to check whether she heard him coming back. Just take the leak and see what would happen the morning after.
The usual seemed unappealing but, after all, it was the usual. Only that, if he came in to put his shoes carefully arranged in line with his depressed nature, it wouldn’t matter if she had heard anything. If she heard she may only have heard that, if not she was like me who hadn’t heard anything despite him having clearly come in to arrange his shoes, the tips pointing inward, to signal there was nothing to worry about. Waking her up therefore would just establish my drama-queen-ness & nothing else.
The logical thing to do was to check on him: whether he was out cold or not. I took my leak first to think about it. Taking a nightly leak would give ample time to think about the situation. He was almost seventeen years old. Not much more than a year and he would sleep most of his nights outside this home. No bike nor shoes nor noise to provide comfort about his whereabouts; just the knowledge I was very much like my son in liking a lot of things except ourselves.
So I wound up taking the other half of my sleeping pill and going back to bed. I knew he wouldn’t have done it. Things are never that bad except if they are – in which case it would have been very much my son to have been attentive enough to arrange his shoes like that providing his parents at least with a good night’s sleep before entering into the long period of sorrow that would be as unavoidable as it would be unreasonable.
Yes, unreasonable, because – I was getting a little drowsy at this point in time – the decision should ultimately be ours.
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