Here’s another extract from my debut novel, Waking hours. Spanning over fifty years, from 1950s Ceylon to twenty-first century England, it follows three generations of one family. Here’s more from the first chapter. You may want to read this first.
The snow that evening had reminded him of his last winter with his wife, a decade earlier. The tiniest details of those days were engraved in his memory. There had been a night of heavy January snowfall. He couldn’t help but smile as he remembered Aidan, then eight, eagerly calling him to the window to see their magically transformed garden.
His foreman had called to tell him not to bother coming to work. It was a day’s wages lost, but he had been relieved. He had witnessed enough accidents on that site.
Aidan had begged his mother to take him to school. Expecting it to be a fruitless mission, Gordon had watched them from the living room window until they were out of sight. He was still there when ten minutes later they trudged back into view. They looked beautiful, he thought, in their colourful winter coats against the white landscape. The snow had transformed their grim little street into something picturesque and expansive. As they got closer, he could see his son blinking excitedly as snowflakes landed in his eyelashes.
The three of them had gone out to the common with a hastily constructed dustbin lid sledge, then come home for steaming jacket potatoes and board games until the early evening news.
He had reluctantly returned to work the next day. The day after that, the snow had turned to ice. In the afternoon, after another day off school, Aidan had gone out into the street to play with a friend. He had slipped and cried out, so his mother had run to him, just as a car came skidding down the road. She was killed instantly as the vehicle mounted the pavement and smashed into their neighbour’s front wall.
Gordon had blamed his son for their loss. There had been no outbursts. Instead, he kept him at arm’s length. The anger subsided, but the distance remained as he went through the motions of parenthood. Eventually, even when he wanted to get close to him, he found he didn’t know how to.
The snow that evening had reminded him of how badly he’d treated his son… He wanted to ask his son for forgiveness, to tell him he loved him, to make amends before he lost him forever. But then he walked in with that stupid glove.
Photo by Genessa Panainte on Unsplash