Stalking My Thoughts – Part Two
This is the second article in an occasional series. Click here to go to the first article.
Which was easier?
I pride myself on a vivid imagination. But..remembering is easier than imagining. I have taken to sitting in places, and watching people. I wrote more about this in another post. Some day, some of my observations might be helpful in a story, especially if I need someone doing something ordinary.
Forty-something Father (Jack) and Two Boys (Rick and Bobby)
Jack and his two sons, Rick and Bobby, sit at a table in the library. Sunlight bounces off walls to reach them. It is mid-week. School has been out for an hour. The table is round. Jack sits opposite Bobby, leaning toward the boys. Rick stands between the two, never sitting down. A Starbuck’s coffee cup sits on the little table.
Jack is forty-something. His gray sweater and jeans stretch to cover thirty pounds he should not carry. He wears running shoes which may not have ever been worn for that reason. He brushes back his graying hair. His mustache is darker than his hair. Gray peppers his full beard, razor cut. Reading glasses perch atop his head, in his hair. How does he keep them clean?
Jack holds his smart phone in his left hand, and never puts it down. He keeps glancing at the screen. He looks up every time someone passes the little table.
Rick, the older boy, puts an arm around his father. Jack keeps his body at an angle to the boy. He never shifts, and never turns his face fully to Rick. Jack never puts the smart phone down. The screen sings its sweet siren call, but he never, quite, gives in, while talking to Rick.
Rick, fidgeting, hands Jack several papers. Jack puts them down on the table. Dropping his glasses down, he reads them, still holding his phone. After a moment, he shakes his head and pushes the papers back to Rick. I over hear him saying, “This isn’t what she wants.” Rick takes the papers and begins to write. Jack turns back to his phone.
Rick tries again. Jack nods. Rick flees the table, disappearing somewhere in the library.
Bobby, the smallest, pushes a paper to his father. Bobby is left-handed. Jack leans further forward, and says something. Bobby takes the paper and writes. He pushes the paper back. Jack reads, then says something else. Bobby takes the paper back, and writes more. This scene repeats several times. Either Jack is approving each answer. Or…he is giving Bobby answers or hints.
I have begun to draw curious looks. I find it surprisingly hard to leave, never knowing how Jack, Rick, and Bobby turn out. I have so many unanswered questions? Is there a mother, or is Jack divorced? Why is Jack in the library in mid-week? Is he out of work? What was it that “she” wanted? What lesson had Bobby learned? Was it to answer the questions, or let Jack answer them?
Will I ever use this trio in a story?
I will call Central Casting when I need a parent, doing the right thing, with his two sons. He never, quite, gives in to the temptation to satisfy his own needs. Instead, he snatches small moments when he can, because his boys are important to him.