David came downstairs at what would be breakneck speed on one leg missing the last two steps landing very precariously.
"Good morning Nan."
"Are you trying to give me a heart attack?"
"Sorry, Nan. What's for breakfast? Can I get a glass of milk, please?"
"Whatever you want to eat, and no, I will get the milk you sit down, and young man? I would like to see you walk down those stairs in the morning not catapult down them."
"David, I don't want to see you get hurt, but one of these days..."
"I'm sorry Nan. I forget sometimes you worry. I promise next time I'll do it where you can't see me."
"David!" he looked up grinning.
"So, you think that's funny. Now, what can I find to keep you busy say for an hour or two?"
"I was joking Nan, honestly."
"I'm not sure I was joking" wiping the grin away to be replaced by an expression of worry. Elizabeth tried so hard to imitate his grin.
"Well all's fair in love and war" was her reply as she turned away to start breakfast and get her now beaten grandson a glass of milk.
"Can I go into the study and read a book after breakfast?"
"What about the hour or two of work?"
"I'm sorry, really Nan."
"Okay, but you have to do me a favour."
"Yes, Nan," with a pensive sigh and with just above a whisper, repeating himself to be sure she had heard him the first time. "Yes, Nan."
"Please don't keep asking, this is as much as your home as all the rest of the family."
"Yes, Nan," swearing she heard a sigh of relief.
"Now out of my kitchen while I clean up," she said as David as usual began to collect the contents of the table.
"Thanks, Nan. If you..."
"Yes, I'll know where you are, now go."
"Morning Grandfather" he whispered so as not to draw attention to himself.
"I see your Nan came out on top this morning." David stared at him with disgust.
"I didn't want anything to stop me seeing you today" with a look that hoped his Grandfather didn't know about his white lie.
"Don't worry son she's come out on top with me more times than I care to remember. So, what was so important you want to see me?"
"I always want to see you," he said in a voice that gave away his disgust at being asked such a question.
"Now be nice and?"
"Erm, well I also wanted to read a book..."
"Read, I see!"
Parking was the absolute nightmare being at the point of blasphemy though certain words of the vocabulary were either whispered or not said at all. Elizabeth had been quiet up to this point, but quickly let her feelings known in regards to the coarse language Edward was using to freely, even if in a whisper. To David it was fun but the flea in his ear from Edward told that his future held the same problem when he himself would be driving, though not said in such a pleasant manner. Eventually, they found a space in one of the multi-storey car parking facilities. In town, though this being on foot was little or no better as the people on the pavements as on the roads, proportionately at a slower pace harried, pushing past others as if there life depended on getting to their destination. It would be a point of fact that Edward's views on shopping would not be changing today.
It seemed David's intention was to window shop and more often than not walking around all and every shop that sold clothing. At around one o'clock, under un-said protest, we ended up in the first retailer we had looked at. Inside David was checking clothing racks like a well-trained shopper.
"David, I know what you are doing and it's a no-no." He looked at Edward with mock confusion. "No, you don't David, I was a kid too. Watch my lips price is not a problem neither is what style you pick." I really should have noticed what he was doing sooner, but was fooled by the apparent excitement. He had been scouting on price, finding the cheapest store. "David, do we need to have our little talk? Remember what Uncle Sam said?" A pensive expression and a nod gave the answer he had heard and understood.
"David, would you be upset if I went home early."
"I'm sorry Nan. I'm being selfish again having you walking all the way around and so many shops" bowing his head so sullenly.
"David, you are not selfish, do you hear me. I need to get home to prepare dinner; we'll have a roast, with vegetables and I promise I've got a treat for a sweet, don't ask me what it wouldn't be a surprise if I told you, now would it"
"There's a Taxi rank just round the corner, we'll walk with you."
Grabbing hold of her waist he gave a warm hug, looked up easing her head down and finishing with a kiss on the cheek. "I love you, Nan."
"I love you too little one" as she returned the hug turning around to get into the taxi.
"How about we go and get something to eat then we'll start again? It seemed this day was not going to get any better as they stalked out the little cafe situated at the far corner of the shopping centre keeping the day as it started with getting from one place to another.
I love you David, but sometimes I'd like to wring your neck" as they waited for their order.
"David, we can't keep having the same conversation, but somehow we do, do you know what I mean when I say reasonable?" wishing he'd never asked, "well if it's reasonable it can either be, in this case, bought or any other time done, okay," giving a questionable look he got at least a silent agreement.
Daylight was fading as they made their way home. "I know you'll disagree or tell me off, but I am slow, I know I am because I make a lot of mistakes, but I don't do it deliberately honestly, but..."
"David, you are far from slow and I know you don't make mistakes on purpose I know because that would make me slow too. David, believe me, there are times I know what you feel like and there are times where I will never know, but I do understand. I want you to put those ears of yours to work and listen. I am going to say this again, but this will be the last time. You have had nothing your whole life what you don't have you don't miss, but you rose above it and that in itself was/is an achievement. This may be being hard, but I would bet my life that anyone from your old house at Briarcroft would jump at the chance you have, however that may work out, what you yourself no more than stumbled upon. Believe me, David, I am not angry, but as my dad used to say, what you need is a good kick up the backside. I am not for one minute saying you are doing it deliberately, but David you need to, as the American's would say, step up to the plate. David, this has nothing to do with how intelligent you are, and if it did I would still love you, but understand David, you can pick up a classic and understand it like a scholar, but you can't get that head of yours around a simple task that is done every day by people all around the world. I am not asking the reason why as the answer would more than likely be above my head. David, I, we, me and your Nan have tried every conceivable way for you to become part of this family, but it seems you are pushing against us. I know you do and are genuinely finding it hard to be given, even to the point of letting people do things for you. David, a family needs to work as a team, if one member shall we say doesn't pull his weight then the team won't function smoothly, I am not saying you are causing any such problems, but David if this subject keeps coming to the surface, I don't see a team that can run smoothly. How many times have we had, will we have this same conversation? David, this may seem dramatic for something so simple, but having a family is a commitment and that means they all pull in the same direction. I have gone the long way round just to say, you can solve any problem with ease, you have the heart of a lion, but such a simple problem as accepting something simple as help or even where this conversation started, being given, you can't do it?! Somewhere in all this, I'm sure there is that little bit of stubbornness to what I can see as accepting the fact then as if not willing to give in completely search for the cheapest possible, but for whatever reason, I'm sure I'm never going to understand. Let's end with what I said earlier, when it's reasonable, remember? Well, that is where we will start from and talk about it no more."
David sat quietly staring out of the window for the rest of the journey home. He remembered the expression he had seen only once before, that was on the way home from Briarcroft for what would be maybe his first or second time, Edward's first, is expression was as in deep thought his lips pursing at whatever thought was going through his mind.
"David, David, we're home, will you help me take some things indoors? He gave no reaction as he departed his seat, which in itself seemed to be getting harder for him.
"Goodnight Nan" as he made his way upstairs. Looking at Edward she got a shake of the head which she ignored.
"David, you need to eat something."
"We had lunch in town, and I'm not really hungry."
"When you're settled in bed, I'll bring you a warm glass of milk."
"I'm okay Nan, really."
Stunned and it seems with nothing more to say she went off to the kitchen to put the kettle on, she would find out what had been said when she'd had a cup of tea.
Finally, the silence took its toll; she had waited for Edward to explain, but it seemed as if both he and David weren't in much of a mood to talk. "
"Edward, what has happened has there been something said between you and David? I could see he was upset, but why?"
"Mother, he's not upset he's thinking, but David will have to tell you why, and no, there was no argument, all I can say is: what is in his head I can do nothing about, but as the father I have been turned into is I can reassure him, but he has to help, I know you'll complain, but goodnight mother" seemingly moving quick enough not to get pulled up to explain.
Elizabeth couldn't help but notice the stumble as he took the final step. He was quiet, though at times that was normal.
David's night had been at best restless; he was not his usual self.
She looked up as David noisily scraped out a chair sitting down quietly elbows resting on the table.
"My, don't you look cheerful this morning," getting a forced smile. "What have you done with my grandson, you're an imposter."
Breakfast was quieter than usual, but Elizabeth just sat and observed as her young man took a sip of his milk then as usual start to eat what was on his plate, a little slower than usual, but everything seemed like any other morning except for the fact it was to quiet. She knew there were times when after a rough night he was quiet during breakfast, but soon returned to his talkative self. Many times she recalled when she had found him asleep in the study, but somehow this seemed different.
"David, what's the matter? " David raised his head and looked directly at his Nan putting a smile on his face it seemed he had become accomplished at hiding the fact from her when something was amiss?
"Don't try and pull the wool over my eyes. I brought up two boys so believe me I knew when they had been up to something or when something was wrong. What really upsets me David is you can't talk to me, your Nan."
"Nan, father and I talked after you left and I have things to work out. I know you want to help, and I love you for that, but this is something I have to do myself, forgive me Nan."
"You sound so grown up. I understand David, but remember you are still a child, a child who is loved by so many people, a child who still needs to be protected. We'll leave it for now, but David, remember you know where I am'" as she walked over picking David up gently, with so much care. I know there are times you think why me, that's not even a question to ask, if at all, why is because of who you are. Don't change what God made specially, and David, please don't grow up, at least not yet pulling him so close as if holding so tight as not to let him go.
"Did you come in here to see me or read a book?" David gave no recognition of a reply as he sat contemplating, in deep thought.
George witnessed, though accidentally the scene between David and his Nan so knew a little of why David had come to the study.
"Father wants me to go and see a doctor about my leg, but...."
"Yea, that's him."
"And you don't? Don't you think it would be good being like all the other kids?"
"I know, but what if I can't use the Pros...."
"Prosthesis', this coming from a boy who when he puts his mind to it can achieve anything? It will feel different; it may even be uncomfortable for a while, but David! David!"
David remained stoic. "David, I know your father as talked, I include myself about your self-confidence. There are other things that your father would have spoken to you about, but that is beside the point. David, if you don't do something about, the only word I can use is torment... blunt I know, but you will never have a life. If you were being honest what is the reason about having Prosthesis', would it be expense? David, believe me when I was alive, I was never what you could call religious, but I wasn't because I did not believe it was because I already had heaven with your Nan. David now your Nan has heaven with you. You now have your own piece of heaven, I know with a family that adores you and love you so much. Your father, well he's just your father," getting the littlest of a smile. "Now look where I am. I'm here with the love of my life I still get to see my children and my children's children, I ‘m the luckiest man in the world, well maybe not the world, but at the very least the happiest man from heaven.
"I love you, Grandfather."
"David, believe me when I say that if you never uttered those words ever, people would know. You have an aura that cocoon's you, if you told a lie they would know. Although you don't think so you are special, so so special. Please believe me David, when I first saw you you radiated, you wear your heart on your sleeve. I have to say I would have loved to have met your parents they must have been very loving. Though they may not be here, at least not in body, believe me, they will be in spirit, we carry a piece of them, forever. This house has been lucky enough to have had generations of children, children like you David, but I am biased when I say, it had never in previous generations been lucky enough to get a child such as the one I am fortunate enough to be granted to know. David, in your life you are going to fail, slip and fall, but you will do as you have always done, get up and fight back. Life in itself is swings and roundabouts, ups and downs. When we get the good times we live them, but at those times we have the bad times we have to treat them as an inconvenience. Whatever happens over the next few months will happen no matter this house will always be your home. I am not close enough to know if you ever prayed for a family, but it looks like you got one, you are stuck with us now, no bail."
David looked to be in a hypnotic trance as he stared, seeing nothing.
"David, I overheard your conversation with your Nan. After you went to bed last night your father was asked what had been said for you to go off to bed, there was nothing said, your father said she would have to ask you yourself to know, so, believe me, she still has no idea, I am hoping that the talk we have had will at some level resolve some of yourself doubt, and give you a little more self-confidence.
"You know David if someone granted me, right at this minute a wish I would instantly know how to use it, it would be the easiest thing I had ever had to do, ever, in the living and even from the other side. David, this is what I would do...!"
Without a second thought, he walked over to David picking him up in his arms and no thought given he hugged David for dear life. Both sets of eyes flew open in complete surprise. They stared at each other intently as David returned the hug kissing his grandfather on the cheek. George himself was in the same shock if not more so. "David you will never know how much I wanted to do that. I love you David."
"I love you to grandfather."
"This will not last long David so I want to say this as a living being, I am so so proud to be a grandfather to such a wonderful child and I promise that whether I'm here or up above I will always watch over you, I will guide you if I can, but know David I could never have asked for a better grandson."
David fell back on to the chair as George faded back to the silhouette both were used to seeing.
I know all residents, past and present, here and now would agree that if this house was to lose such a child that would be a waste, a waste of what could only be described as a miracle." David sat gazing at the floor as tears fell from what in truth was still a very happy, confused and sad little boy.
"Grandfather please don't ever leave, I don't want any of this family to leave and I don't want to leave them. I promise I will try and not be a burden to any of you, I love you all.
"David, please don't put yourself down this family is so much more healthier since you joined, more than you will ever know, if you never believe another word I say believe that. David, even though you may not see me I'll always be there."
Sitting back in his chair he gazed at what seemed every square inch of his surroundings not uttering a single word.
"David, look at me please, though it may not seem it you have had one of your questions answered, you now know how, why I have no doubt will become clear as you spend more time within these walls, though I am sure it will become obvious sooner than you think.
"I love you grandfather. Will you please thank whoever let you?"
"I will David I promise. Now, don't you need to talk to your Nan?"
"I know, but I want to stay in here with you if that's okay?"
"David, I am going nowhere, didn't I say I would be with you."
"I know, but I want to be near you for a little bit."
"I know, but putting your Nan at ease, wouldn't that be the right thing to do? David, you have a lifetime for choices about who you want to spend time with, but right now stopping your Nan from worrying would be nice don't you think?"
"I know I'm being selfish, again aren't I?"
"I am sure if being selfish knocked you into next week you wouldn't know it. David, watch my lips! Y-o-u - A-r-e - N-o-t - S-e-l-f-i-s-h. And don't apologise. Now go. Scoot."
Comments and questions are always appreciated at Terry