It was late evening and Archibald was roaming the house like it was his own. Cassy was already in bed and Mr. Hawtrey was having a night cap with Jonah in the kitchen. Jonah knew exactly what paper Mr. Hawtrey was talking about. He had actually done some research on it.
At first Jonah had thought it was some sort of alphabetic code, but he then quickly figured it out that they were coordinates for somewhere in Colorado.
Mr. Hawtrey opened the folded paper carefully. Long years had passed since he last wrote it for safekeeping. Mr. Hawtrey had liked his drink back in the day, you see, and sometimes despair took the best of him. Pieces of his life were written down in folded pieces of paper in his house and some with family; just in case.
There they were, those coordinates he had written. 39.623119, -107.635353. Neat calligraphy, slightly tilting to the right. Just as he remembered it.
-I am guessing you know what these are- Mr. Hawtrey asked Jonah
-I know they are coordinates for somewhere in Colorado
-Right. You ever been there?
-No, too far and life never took me that way. Cat likes the beach so we usually head over to Florida or so. Cassy likes the Summer Camps there too and I get to get all sunburnt every time!
-I suppose you wouldn’t like to keep an old man company?
Jonah actually wanted very much. But that would mean unplanned holidays which he really couldn’t take. Cat would be mad because that meant that in August they would have to either cut their two weeks short or she would have to go by herself. Cassy would almost plead to go with them. But a break! It was like a sign. Work had been giving him too much time to rethink his life and although it was good, was it everything it could be? Certainly nobody’s life could be all that it ought to be. Jonah felt a little stuck. Not because he didn’t love Catherine. She was the reason he always wanted to come for. Catherine always stood by his side and together they had created a beautiful life. And Cassy… she was his a reason for living herself. So smart. So pretty, like her mother. She did take the best from them. But still life had become a very big routine that as comforting as it was, it also leaves one itching for something out of the ordinary to happen. Maybe this was it. A little road trip in the sun, in the car he loved to drive. Even if nothing came out of it, it would just be a different day to enjoy. And what were two days off work? He could even call in sick!
-Mr. Hawtrey, how does Thursday sound to you?
-Ah Jonah, Thursday is my favourite day of the week. If you don’t mind me staying for another day or so, it would be lovely and I would be very grateful.
-That is no problem at all. But tell me, what will we be looking for over there?
-Nothing of material value I can tell you. I just left something there long time ago and I just would like to have it back.
-Cat, it is just for the weekend. I will be here Sunday night.
-But I already told mum we are going for lunch on Saturday.
-She won’t mind just once. I will be back as soon as possible.
-What is there in Colorado anyway that your teacher needs you to babysit him for?
-To be honest, I am not too sure. I think it might be a part of his past he didn’t face back then.
-Uhhh, like an illegal family? Maybe he killed someone! He was there for the war, you know?
-Don’t be silly, darling. Whatever it is, I am sending you a picture whenever I can.
-Thanks. And here, I put there an extra paid of underwear just in case.
-Ah-ah. Very funny.
-But daddy, why can’t I go with you?
-You will need to take care of Archie while Mr. Hawtrey and I are away, and you know how your mother is around animals.
-Ahem! – intervened Mr. Hawtrey – I am very sorry dear Cassy, but Archibald will also be going with us. I am sorry Jonah, but I cannot leave him behind, he would be driving Cassy and poor Catherine crazy meowing around the house. No, no, he is coming with us.
-Well then, that is settled, I guess.
Cassy’s eyes were wide open and for a moment Jonah thought she might cry. With a sniff she turned to the one eyed cat and whispered good luck to him. She then walked back to her dad, all business just like Catherine and asked if they needed some pop tarts for the way.
Jonah couldn’t wait for Wednesday to be over at the office. He must be very sad, he thought, to be excited about this trip with an old man. But he wanted it to be good. And relaxing and that he would return to work recharged and thankful for the life he had here at home.
On Thursday morning the car was packed with bags and lunches and lots of water.
Jonah said goodbye to Catherine when she left for work -she always took Cassy to school while he picked her up- and kissed a very sleepy Cassy before going back to bed and try to sleep the next hour or so when he had to get up.
Archibald woke Mr. Hawtrey that day with a very mournful meow. He knows he will be stuck in the car again, Mr Hawtrey acknowledged.
-Here Archie, lets have some food and then get ready.
Archibald looked at him like that was the most ridiculous thing he had ever heard in all his 5 lives.
-Are you ready, Professor?
-Oh quite so! I am sorry to drag you all the way away from home, but hopefully the weather will hold and we can appreciate the views.
They ate while reading the newspapers and Jonah could see Mr. Hawtrey rolling the folded paper through his fingers.
Jonah had looked up the address last Tuesday and had already set the Sat Nav directions there.
-Aright Jonah, let’s go.
-Let’s go, Professor. Is Archie ok?
-Oh yes, he just dreads car rides. Don’t mind him. I gave him a little something to keep him comfortable.
Looking at Archibald, Jonah wondered if it was one of Mr. Hawtreys sleeping pills and laughing to himself they drove off.
Poor Archie back strapped to the card again.