Chapter 4 ~ 39.623119, -107.635353

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 he everything he 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 home to. 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 have the best from them. But still life had become a very big routine and 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.

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-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 justĀ  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 pair of underwear just in case.

-Ah-ah. Very funny.

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-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 ride.

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 NavĀ  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.

 

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Poor Archie back strapped to the car again.

 

Claudia x

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Chapter Three ~ Reunion

Mr. Hawtrey adjusted his bag and got ready to leave the bus. Sixteen hours on a bus was not for him anymore. And poor Archibald, having to go to unknown places… the poor cat was definitely car sick. Mr. Hawtrey patted the cat carrier and Archibald meowed weakly.

– Don’t worry Archie, we will be there soon.

Archibald huffed, tired of hearing those words but not being able to leave his carrier.

When the bus pulled over at the station Mr. Hawtrey picked his bag and Archibald’s bag and slowly made his way out of the bus. ‘We are here now, Archie. Open your eyes, you will be able to stand soon enough’.

Mr. Hawtrey had but enough time to make a full circle around the waiting seats before he saw Jonah pulling over.

– Professor, Professor!

Jonah parked the car and gave Mr. Hawtrey a heartfelt hug. Pleasantries were exchanged and soon Mr. Hawtrey was sitting on the front seat and Archibald was curled on Cassy’s lap purring like the happy kitten he was.

Mr. Hawtrey looked much like Jonah remembered. Still dressed with a shirt and a pullover, but now he had allowed himself some jeans as opposed to the khakis he used to wear.

His hair had gone completely grey but still curled at the sides. He had changed glasses and funnily enough, they were now thinner than when he was teaching.

On the other seat, Mr. Hawtrey was doing pretty much the same with Jonah. The boy had put on some weight and lost some hair, but you could still say he had brown hair. He now had a small stubble that could almost be called beard. If Mr. Hawtrey had a say on it, he would tell Jonah to shave it properly – you either had a beard or you didn’t.

Cassy, Jonah’s daughter was a delight. She had lighter brown hair than Jonah and was petting Archibald like a pro.

– She is quite smart you know? – Jonah interrupted his thoughts. Yes, you would think so about your offspring, Mr. Hawtrey concluded. – She loves puzzles and is very creative in solving them. She loves to count and you cannot cheat her on cards.

– Oh? Maybe I should play with her sometime. Have you taught her chess?

– Catherine didn’t think it was appropriate because of her age, but she handles it better than Carson did back in Uni.

Ah, Carson was an old student. Mr. Hawtrey remembered him, his keychain was a chess queen. He often left it and lost it basically everywhere he went. Brilliant boy, but not so good with keeping track of his things.

– Carson actually is working in the same company, you know?

Jonah kept going updating briefly Mr. Hawtrey on what his fellow students were currently doing. Mr. Hawtrey found it curious, Jonah always seemed a bit like a loner in school, how is it that he kept tabs on so many people? This made Mr. Hawtrey think that maybe he had misread the boy. He was focused alright, but surely he must have had a social life outside the classroom.

It was mid-afternoon when the car parked by a yellow house on a quiet road. Mr. Hawtrey could see through the windows the woman he had to assume it was Jonah’s wife. Just as the car stopped, Catherine came to the door to welcome them and help Mr. Hawtrey get settled.

– You can stay in Cassy’s room, and as long as Archibald doesn’t mind dogs, the neighbour’s shouldn’t be a problem. Did you have a good journey?

No, not really. His legs were stiff and his knees hurt from being stuck on that bus. He was tired and didn’t take a nap like he had intended to

– Very pleasant, thank you. Just a tad too long for my age, I guess. You have a lovely house.

It actually was a very nice place. Catherine must love yellow because splashes of it where everywhere. And according to Mr. Hawtrey’s calculations, the sun would be hitting the kitchen in the morning and in the afternoon the living room. How cheerful!

Mr. Hawtrey was shown to his room. Unlike Catherine, Cassy liked purple. Purple curtains, purple bed throws. Purple lamps. Purple flowers on the wall and pillows.

– Mr. Hawtrey, I have purple bedsheets but mummy said you would prefer the white ones. But if you want you can have one of my pillows.

– That is fantastic Cassy. If I need I will let you know. I heard you are a great chess player.

– I am ok. Daddy likes to play it after dinner. Sometimes I win. Do you play? Maybe tonight I could play with you instead. I think mummy is making chicken roast. How old is Archibald? I think he likes me.

In all fairness, Archibald liked pretty much everyone as long as they petted him between the years and gave him food. Cats were supposed to be individual and little gods. But poor one eyed Archie liked people. Mr. Hawtrey often thought he had the soul of a dog. Which turned out good for Mr. Hawtrey. Archibald never failed to keep company although he could have a bit of a snobbish complex if ignored for too long.

Mr. Hawtrey encouraged Archibald to go down the stairs and after some bumps and stumbles on unfamiliar territory, they both made it downstairs.

Catherine was busy setting the table and making the last arrangements while Jonah was looking at some wine.

– I think this red will go nicely with the roast. – Jonah announced.

The four of them gathered around the table taking their seats. There was even a spot for Archibald by the kitchen door.

– You have a delightful family, Jonah. Well done.

– Thank you, I like them – Jonah winked at both wife and daughter. Cassy giggled while playing the peas she was definitely not going to eat. Catherine smiled, quite proudly, if Mr. Hawtrey could say so.

– So Catherine, where did you meet Jonah here?

– Well, I saw him first and thought he was crazy – always a great start thought Mr. Hawtrey – He was at the laundrette and was talking to himself wearing a shirt that for sure should have been included in the wash.

– She thought I was hilarious – obviously a story they had recounted before.

– I thought you were crazy. He didn’t notice me until I “accidentally” dropped the washing powder. He thought it was because I thought he was good looking, but in all honesty, I just didn’t want to be alone with someone talking to themselves for an hour.

Both Jonah and Catherine talked about how they started meeting and eventually moved in and how Cassy had been a blessing. Mr. Hawtrey liked Catherine. She sounded like a good match for Jonah. Cassy was a funny girl, she kept feeding peas to Archibald – who actually did not like them and kept taking them somewhere towards the kitchen.

Mr. Hawtrey loved dinner occasions. He was able to listen while enjoying food. He could not wait to see if Jonah had kept the numbers he had given him. At the end of the day, although he enjoyed spending time with Jonah and his family, he was ready for a little adventure.

 

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How do you like Archie?

Claudia x

Chapter 2 ~ Jonah

– So, who is this Mr. Hawtrey again? – Catherine asked for what it felt it was the tenth time that afternoon.

– He was my professor in University, he got me the job with Mr Pemberton.

Jonah had just thought about Mr. Hawtrey the other day. He still had the latitudes the Professor had given him years and years ago.

Maybe that is what Mr. Hawtrey called him about.

– Will he stay for long?

– I don’t know, maybe a couple of days? I told him he would have to share the room with Cassy and he was ok.

– Why isn’t he staying at a hotel? I swear nobody else I know harbours their old teachers.

– I know how it sounds, but it’s not like I was going to deny him a bed, was it?

In all fairness Jonah Stills really wanted Professor Hawtrey to come.They had sat together decoding codes and encrypted messages. Jonah had told Mr. Hawtrey all about the decoding passion he had since starting his classes and that creating them would be his life goals.

Mr. Hawtrey had taken him to meet Mr. Pemberton who was just expanding his company at the time. They were working with big enterprises around the US providing security systems and helping the informatics development in them. Jonah loved what he did. He got to drive around playing number combinations in his head. It was a job that made him think but still allowed him to relax.

It was just his luck that on that sunny morning he received a call just after breakfast. How long has it been since he had heard from Mr. Hawtrey? He hadn’t even come to his wedding. Catherine should like him well enough, Jonah thought. Maybe they could do a puzzle or two and meet Cassy, she would definitely find him funny.

Cassy was just 4 but her favourite play game was puzzles. Or match the tiles, just like Mahjong. She recognized numbers already and Jonah wanted to make sure her abilities were looked after.

– I better stop daydreaming and look at the road! – Jonah thought.

The truth was that he was intrigued and wanted Mr. Hawtrey to hurry and be there already. Tomorrow he would know what brought the old man to his part of town.

 

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Share your thoughts,

Claudia x

Chapter 1 – pt.2

The water had to boil twice by the time Mr. Hawtrey reached the kitchen to make the tea.

Richard slipped his boots off and got the spoons from the drawer, waiting on Mr. Hawtrey to pour the tea.

– So, hiding in the shed,huh? Haven’t you been cold?

– Not really, Mr. Hawtrey. Yesterday I went back home for some blankets, and the garden chairs still have pillows.

– Can I ask why haven’t you been sleeping at home?

– Oh, but I do! Mum always goes and says goodnight and I didn’t want her upset. It’s just early in the morning I come here. I like to see the stars fade, you see? But it is so early I feel like a nap afterwards.

– What about school, shouldn’t you be there?

– I know but Howie said I shouldn’t go.

– Howie? Is he a friend from school?

– No, no. My mum says calls him an imaginary friend.

– Ah, I see.

Mr. Hawtrey always wondered about imaginary friends. He never had one and found it quite interesting that people would fish out people or animals out of their imagination to keep them company. Kids had books and computers and dolls. Why not play with that? Still, he liked Richard and he’s funny ideas. And also, it had been so long since he had been a child, that the mechanics fascinated him.

– What does Howie say?

– Well, he wants to play with me all the time. I like playing.

– Don’t you like learning? Or playing with our kids?

– I do and I am going back. But he really did not want me to go, so I said: A few days and then back to school. He was not very happy but……

Mr. Hawtrey disconnected for a bit. He enjoyed listening to Richard go on about his life. It allowed him to think about his. He remembered another boy, another time telling him stories. He should definitely call Jonah to see how he was.

– Anyway Mr. Hawtrey, thank you for the tea. My mum will be worried now.

– Yes, yes off course. Tell her I say hello. And make sure you go to school. Archie gets very impatient when he doesn’t know what is happening.

Richard went his way and Mr. Hawtrey got back to his newspaper. He was a man of habits, after all, and a half read newspaper was not something he liked.

But Mr. Hawtrey could not take Jonah out of his mind. Yes it had been years since they last spoke. Maybe he should write him a letter. He might have kids by now, Mr. Hawtrey thought as he put the newspaper finally down. ‘I shall go and see him!’

Jonah had been one of Mr. Hawtrey’s students years and years ago. Brilliant little kid he was. And curious too. As he remembers, Jonah went to work in IT somewhere. He was sure he had his number somewhere – ‘Well, I won’t find it sitting down, will I Archibald?’

 

 

Any interest of knowing what Mr. Hawtrey wants with Jonah?

Claudia.

Author’s note pt.2 ~

Lately I haver been playing with the idea of starting to write something. I already know my opening sentence. Don’t know if it is any good but it keeps coming back to me when I am doing the most random things; commuting to work, cooking, watching television….

I don’t know if I am any good and I definitely have no idea if it will go beyond the first lines.

However, I feel like I should give it a shot. I can’t tell you which direction it’s going to take, but I feel it’s a family story, a sort of biography of some imaginary figment from my head.

For some reason, I kind of want them to be French. I want to write about someone. Some extraordinary adventure. Someone’s life and wants a hardship.

I am aware it has been done time and time again, but, there is something here and, even if I never finish and this happens to just be a passing idea or maybe it’s nothing. Maybe I’ll be tired or forget about it entire. Maybe, it is just a new year idea – that something new has to start. Maybe. Still worth peeling. For me.

I will try and make sense of my thoughts. So I will open a new Category on my blog. Yes, there will still be random posts of whatever comes into my mind, but from now on ‘The Process of Writing’ will be a spinoff of this place. I will start with ideas or chapters or just random drafts. Hopefully, somewhere down the line something resembling a book, a story, an adventure will come out of it. And if I wish really, really hard, just maybe, it won’t be too bad.

 

So bear with me, read it (and hopefully) enjoy it.tumblr_n615rb37ZJ1txyizko1_500

 

Claudia x