Chapter - 4
Eventually the school day ended. Daniel arrived to the sanctuary of home. He put his backpack down in the middle of the entryway floor with the careless neglect relative of all middle-school aged children. Daniel moved to the kitchen and popped the top on a warm can of generic cola. His father wasn’t awake yet. Daniel’s hunger pangs won out over the empathetic thought of letting his father sleep.
“Dad, I’m home,” Daniel said. Jim stirred on the bed, sat up and coughed. He looked up at Daniel with a dazed, glassy-eyed expression, which he rubbed away vigorously with both hands.
“So you are,” Jim said. “How was school?”
“Fine,” Daniel said. Jim reached out and patted Daniel on the elbow in a gentle show of affection. The schedule of the house was an awkward cycle. A system that Jim was having difficulty getting used too. One’s day was always ending while the other’s just beginning. There was never the comfort of having the whole family home, in bed and safe. One of them was always waiting for the other, trying to sleep while one they loved was out in the world, away from the sureness of home and family.
“Good.” Jim said. “That’s good. Are you hungry?”
“Yes,” Daniel said. Jim massaged his palms over his face. Moving his arms stirred up effluvium and Jim wrinkled his nose at his own smell.
“Is it okay if I take a quick shower before I make us some dinner?”
“Yes. I can wait,” Daniel said. He walked out of the room. The father scratched his chest absently for a few moments. Then he rose from the bed and went to take a shower. His body beginning to awaken with the rising moon as Daniel’s energy waned with the setting sun.