Never knowing what version of his dad he was to return home to was always on Colin's mind at school. He never dreaded seeing his dad's face when he walked into the living room, throwing his bag down with a sigh. He just wished he could prepare himself for what version of Colin his dad needed. Except it probably wouldn't change anything- whatever Colin's dad wanted, Colin never found it in him to act the right kind of positive. Sometimes he didn't act any kind of positive. It's 15:32 on an average January day and Colin closes his eyes, opens them again and pushes the living room door open.
This was Colin's least favourite. All Colin wanted to do when he returned home was watch TV, eat food and maybe do some homework... If it was due in the next day. The Dad-venturer would intercept before Colin could even sprawl across the sofa. One time Colin's almost luxurious plans were taken away from him because The Dad-venturer wanted to fly and kite. Colin took a deep breath but he knew it could be worse. Because not too long after while the sky was giving Cornwall the rainiest afternoon known to man (an exaggeration but an understable one, Colin would protest, when you found out what The Dad-venturer had in for him this particular afternoon), Colin's father rushed up from the sofa upon hearing his son coming into the living room with a grin plastered all over his aging, tired but somewhat happy face. "We are going for puddle splashing adventures with an ice-cream for dessert."
The "let's bake even though neither of us know how to" dad (TLBETNOUKHTD)
This version of Colin's dad could be considered bearable. If he didn't have poor taste in music and chose to put the stereo up to the highest volume any stereo possible could while they turned the kitchen into a mess. One time they baked cookies. Now, remember this term is being used lightly because, well, they just turned into a crumbly mess that Colin wasn't going to attempt to eat. No way. "But they could be so tasty!" TLBETNOUKHTD insisted with a cheesy smile. He winked and picked up a handful, putting them in his mouth as Colin protested. Neither spoke this thought but both wondered, whether, when Colin's dad was ill the next day, it was because of the "cookies."
The Dad with the Music
Now, Colin was the least musically-inspired kid you could meet. The thought of singing aloud to anyone made him feel nauseia and he had the rhythm of... well, he had his own rhythm, let's say. This would be his least favourite form of his dad to come home to, but it was normally over within twenty mintues and he didn't have to step outside, and so he just counted down the minutes until he could stop mumbling lyrics to an piece of 80s music his father spent the week learning on piano and left before his dad would change his mind and make him start again.
Only, when Colin opened the door he wasn't approached by any of these dads. Dubiously, he entered the almost silent room and followed the soft sobbing. "Dad?" He quickened his pace and found his dad, sat on the armchair, crying into the quiet. "Dad?" His dad didn't even flinch. He just carried on sobbing. Colin looked down to his dad's hands where he was cradling a picture of himself, his wife and Colin. His mum.
Quickly, Colin searches his mind and almost immediately, it clicks: January 7th. January 7th. It's been a year since Colin's mum left while his dad was working on a project in the garage and Colin was at school.
"Oh dad," Colin's heart broke for his dad, and for himself too. Colin didn't want to see his mum again but he so wish he could go back in time and do everything to make her stay.
Not that he should have to convince his own mother to stay.
Not when Colin and his dad were left for another family. Another life.
A Dad & A Son,
The Girl in the Moonlight.