Parting

Parting

A Story by Les
"

I have combined all the trips I made to my son in his early days at university into one piece of writing. The small details of each trip were different but the emotions were always the same.

"

It had been a good weekend. The late-summer weather had been kind and we’d walked from South Bay to North Bay. We’d taken in the hotel where Wilfred Owen had spent his leave and the churchyard where poor Anne Bronte had been laid to rest. On the way back, we must have traversed just about every back street in Scarborough.


On Saturday night we’d “Pizza’d.” Not one of the usual chains but a little independent trattoria with more character than a Pizza Hut will ever know. And I’d even persuaded you to join me in a glass of red wine. You were never much of a drinker, were you? Better than the opposite, I guess.


Yes, and we’d done the mundane stuff too. We’d gone shopping for your toiletries and for some of those little creature comforts, now that you were living exactly 211 miles away from your Hertfordshire home. 


And now the weekend was nearly over and we stood on Scarborough Station, waiting for my train to depart. Suddenly you looked so young and vulnerable (well, you were only 18 and a half.) The truth that we’d tried to bury all weekend was now laid bare. You’d been at ‘uni for two months and you were homesick and miserable. We’d speak on the phone, yes, of course we’d speak on the phone, every evening. But it wasn’t the same and we could hear the catch in your voice as each time we ended those calls.


15 minutes to departure time and I didn’t know whether I wanted the clock to fly, to end the agony of waiting, or drag, so that I didn’t have to go. But, finally, it was time to board. Words had long since dried up, but I hugged you and could easily have pulled you onto that train with me. But we both knew I couldn’t do that.


Your figure receded as my train pulled away. I sat in my seat and tried to keep my composure. I managed it until I pictured your walk back from the station to your empty ‘uni living quarters and then my bottom lip began to quiver.  Around me families sat excitedly, re-living their time at the seaside. Why could they be together while I had to leave my only son behind?


Was it my fault? I remembered my own struggles fitting into a new college. Was history repeating itself? The thing was, I was able to return to the bosom of my family each night. I hadn’t been a seven hour round-trip away.


The train clickety-clacked through the beautiful Yorkshire countryside, bathed in a golden mid-evening light. But I was oblivious, lost in thoughts that grew darker with every mile travelled.  Had I been a good enough father? I thought of all the times I hadn’t given Sam enough of my time as I was just so damned tired at the end of each working day. You don’t know what you have until you’ve lost it, do you?


The bustle at York Station, where I changed trains, was good for my soul. And on the express back to Stevenage, I mercifully fell into a dreamless sleep. The agony would go on for another three months. I still don’t know how we got through them. But then you made friends. Happy? No, you were never truly happy at Scarborough but you coped in the end.


Five years later, I look back on that time and how you dealt with it is one of the things that make me feel proud of you. Have I told you lately that I’m proud of you? I haven’t? Well, I am, completely.

© 2018 Les


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Reviews

So beautifully written. Amazing that you can put me in the story and have me feeling what is happening. Nice.

Posted 4 Years Ago


Les

4 Years Ago

Thank you Magenta 24. Reading through this again brings that time back and a lump in my throat once .. read more
This poignantly wistful story is a gift to someone like myself who never had kids. These are things I've never imagined feeling in my long life, but here you've transported me with palpable & vulnerable revelations. I love the idea that you consolidated a number of such trips -- that's how many of my own true stories go, too. I love the idea that you focus on the departure more than the actual time spent together, as I'm guessing, that "goodbye" must permeate all the joyful time shared. This is brilliantly truthful & it makes me wish my abusive self-absorbed dad had been a little like you . . . *sigh!* Fondly, Margie

Posted 4 Years Ago


Les

4 Years Ago

Margie, thank you for your words. I was touched by your allusion to your own childhood. Your serenit.. read more
I am at a loss for words..that was so touching and straight from your heart, it did bring a tear to my eye. Just beautifully written. I love the details! Thanks for sharing that with me!

Posted 4 Years Ago


Les

4 Years Ago

Donna, thank you for your kind words (and for your other reviews too.) I'm pleased to say that, afte.. read more
Donna

4 Years Ago

It sounds to me like raised a wonderful man! I know how proud you must be!

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Added on March 25, 2018
Last Updated on March 25, 2018

Author

Les
Les

St Albans District, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom



About
Have always enjoyed writing. Just looking to see if I have any creativity left in me to write some fiction. more..

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