Chapter eight---Moving on
11:32 PM | Author: Jeff
It was another glorious day in the small town of Twin Oakes, thought Henry Sutherland as he stood over the kitchen sink, drinking his morning coffee. He stared out the window looking up at the blue sky, only a few cloud whisks rolled overhead at some unimaginable altitude. Henry loved the blue sky, even on his darkest days, of which he’d known more than his share; he could find some peace in the pale blue sky.
Henry Sutherland recovered slowly from the shock of loosing his daughter for the second time. The first time he had blamed everything and everyone, mainly because he couldn’t understand why she had left, and partly because he was so unaccustomed to being blind sighted. The second time was easier in some ways, but altogether devastating in others. He now knew why she had left and had a clear target at which to direct the blame and anger he felt; himself.
But enough was enough, no more living in the past, almost a month had past since Marie-Ann had left and Henry Sutherland had a responsibility towards his grandson now. He and Jay had fished a whole bunch, talked sparingly, the boy was still so withdrawn, and generally kept his thoughts and feelings to himself, Henry had decided to shelter the boy from the reality surrounding his mothers departure, Jay had been through enough crap in his nine years to last two lifetimes, so Henry resolved himself to keeping things light.
Since Marie-Ann had left, Henry had thought about little else except Jay, he watched every reaction the boy had, analyzed every word Jay uttered, though he rarely spoke. Henry knew that he needed to find a way to bring the boy into his confidence if he was ever going to be able to provide Jay with a normal child hood.
Today as Henry stood looking out over the blue sky, an idea came to him, perhaps what the boy needed wasn’t time and patience, to be left alone until he felt comfortable with his new surroundings. Henry thought through everything he knew about Jay’s life until now, and realized, Jay’s life had been entirely made up of being ignored and left alone, he had never known responsibility, had never been entrusted to complete tasks armed only with his own skills. Though Jay Sutherland’s life had been very challenging, dealing with constant beatings and put downs, he had yet to face any challenges that he could win, after all facing challenges and over coming those challenges builds character and eventually paves the road to independence.
Henry felt a rush of relief pass over him, ‘That’s it!’ he thought, for all the flaws the military had, it shone in one aspect; turning shy boys without confidence into competent men, constant training and routine developed a strong sense of personal ability, the only thing that Jay knew he could do was to take a beating, Henry reflected on the first time he’d taken Jay fishing, how Jay had been so eager to try and improve on his last cast, how the deadness seemed to leave the boys eyes for that day at the ‘fishing spot’, Henry smiled in reflection. He finished his coffee, it was a fine day, he thought, and what better way to kick off a day like this than with a good hard run. It was Henry’s philosophy that a good hard forced run was the perfect way to get the fires burning, clear your head of all the garbage that was swimming around in it, and set you in motion to achieve your goals for the day.
Ten minutes later Henry hit the road, he had measured the distance to the Peterson Farm and back at a whisker over two miles, Henry took a deep powerful breath, his massive chest expanding to full capacity and slowly let it out as he began his slow warm up jog to his front gate, once he reached the gate, he increased his speed, his legs pumping, each stride stretching full length to get maximum speed and efficiency, his breath slow deep and steady, he was in better shape than most men half his age, He had always been in shape, he could think of nothing more important than maintaining a high level of fitness and was often baffled to see overweight men spend hours pouring over and tuning their cars, while not spending a minute tuning themselves.
Normally when Henry ran hard like he was today, he thought of his first drill sergeant, screaming at him ‘move your ass!’ when he was green, lean and seventeen in boot camp, but not today, today while he ran, he thought of only one thing, ‘I know what to do, but where do I begin?’

Jay, stood on the front porch and watched his grandfather run down the road faster than he’d ever seen anyone rune before, Jay had seen men running through the alley way next to the apartment in the city, or men in suits running through the crowds of the busy city streets, but they had all looked clumsy and rushed, often banging into things and people, their eyes wide, searching desperately for a quicker route, never had he seen anyone run like Pops ran, Watching Pops run was like watching a machine, his pace kept in constant rhythm, his back straight, his eyes focused forward on where he was going, and boy was he fast, Jay wondered what it would be like to run that fast. He stood on the porch watching as Pops disappeared into the distance hidden by a cloud of dust kicked up by his feet. Jay had, had nightmares about pops almost every night of the first week he had spent in Twin Oakes, the shear size and power of Pops had petrified Jay, but slowly over the past few weeks, he had realized that he had nothing to fear from Pops, he never raised his voice, never got drunk, didn’t smoke, the curtains were never drawn in Pops house. Jay’s fear and apprehension about Pops was turning into curiosity, the six weeks he’d lived in Twin Oakes had been the longest time Jay could remember without getting a beating. The security Jay had felt in the darkness of the city apartment was gone; it had been replaced with a bright new world that confused the hell out of Jay Sutherland. He stood there on the porch watching as the cloud of dust began to settle, trying desperately to interpret all the feelings he was experiencing for the first time, he was sure Pops wouldn’t hurt him, but found it impossible to convince himself that he was safe, some demons just wont die.
Jay thought about his mother, ‘why had she hated pops so much?’ he wondered. ‘Where had she gone?’ though even at the tender age of nine, Jay knew she was right back in her chair in the darkened room of the city apartment. Jay stood on the porch staring blankly at the empty street thinking about his mother and about Pops until Henry Sutherland returned, he still held his pace, though his face glistened with sweat, his shirt was wet and his breath came quicker and deeper, when he reached the front gate, he slowed back to a slow jog for a quick lap around the house, finally stopping at the front steps where Jay stood watching him.
“Good morning” Pops puffed, while shaking out his leg muscles, a big warm smile on his face.
“Good morning” replied Jay, sizing his grandfather up.
“Have you had breakfast?” asked Henry
“Not yet” replied Jay, still studying his grandfather, amazed at how powerful he was.
“Well, how about you go eat, while I take a quick shower, and when you’re done, I have a little job I need your help with” Pops said as casually as he could, all the while secretly looking for any sign of anything from Jay.
“OK” replied Jay simply, and he walked into the house heading for the kitchen to devour a big bowl of corn flakes.

When Henry Sutherland came to the kitchen after he had showered and changed, he found Jay sitting at the table waiting for him, the table clean his bowl and spoon washed and put away, most every parent dreamed of having a child like this, but the robot like behavior of Jay, saddened Henry, ‘poor kid’ he thought, ‘I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you.’
“All finished?” Pops asked
“Yes, Pops” replied Jay.
“Well, I really need your help with something Jay” Pops began, during his run he had decided that he needed to make Jay feel like he was doing something that Henry couldn’t do, that way Jay could begin to develop a sense of self worth, the first step towards becoming self confident, “But it won’t be easy” added Pops setting his plan in motion. Jay’s eyes light up slightly, Henry’s heart jumped a little.
Henry led Jay to the entrance to the attic, he pulled on the rope that opened the trap door and let the ladder come down
“Now Jay my boy, here’s the thing I need your help with, all that stuff we took out of my old study when we turned it into your room, is all piled up in the spare room,” The spare room is how Henry referred to the locked room which was once his daughters.
“What I want to do is store it all up there in the attic; problem is the space up there is too small for me to move around, so I was hoping you could store it all up there for me.”
Jay looked up at the dark entrance to the attic, then looked back at pops
“OK” He replied
“Excellent!" Exclaimed Pops, “You climb up there and turn on the light, I’ll go start bring the stuff up here”
They worked through the day, stopping only for a short lunch, Jay seemed to thrive on his work, never seeming to tire, finally around two o’clock the job was finished.
Henry popped his head up through the attic trap door to find that Jay had done an excellent Job, everything was neat and orderly.
“Wow” said Pops, “Now that’s what I call a good Job my boy, I’d say you’ve earned your self a shower and then a trip down town for some pizza and an ice-cream sundae”To Henry’s surprise a quick smile flashed across Jay’s face, it was perhaps the first time he’d ever seen the boy smile.

(I would like to thank Sylvie for the title on this chapter)

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On November 26, 2007 at 11:36 PM , Adam said...

Hi all, having a hopeless time trying to title chapter 8 o if you hve any ideas please leave them here in the comments. If I choose yours then you will have a credit in this chapter in the form of a link...hehe

On November 27, 2007 at 3:56 AM , Elise said...

Hi Adam,

I really starting to get sucked into the story. I'm not great with titles but maybe you could use the attic or the spare room as inspiration?

I think storing all of the duaghter's things in the attic so thet her son can move in pretty much sybolises Jay moving in with Pops and Marie-Ann leaving..

"The Spare Room" ?

Good lick with finding a title


On November 29, 2007 at 4:17 AM , Elise said...

Hi adam, its me again

I'm presenting you with an award and I'm tagging you to complete a meme...

check out my blog for details


On November 29, 2007 at 1:36 PM , Keriam said...

Adam how about:

Chapter Eight: Putting away the past.

If I were to e-mail you a chapter from a short story I'm working on would you critique it for me?


On November 29, 2007 at 9:13 PM , chrisd said...

Unfortunately I have not read the other chapters but I really liked this chapter.

You did not over flower your words for Grandpa or the boy. Really nice the way it unfolded.

On November 29, 2007 at 9:39 PM , Adam said...

Of coarse Keriam send it over and I will take a look.

Thank you all again for the great comments

Stars the lot of you!


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