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.

~ The Begining ~

Not all lives are worth writing about.

Nicholas Hawtrey believed that and he certainly didn’t think his was out of the ordinary. He lived a plain, happy life. Imagine the discomfort of all the drama people nowadays have the need to have in their life. To make it more interesting, more juicy. For Mr. Hawtrey that just meant more headache and he did not need that, thank you very much.

What Mr. Hawtrey did not consider was that drama only has the importance each individual allows it to. That is maybe why he never gave a second thought to how funny it was that Archibald – Mr Hawtrey’s ginger cat – only had one eye and looked at you always seeming confused. Mr. Hawtrey never paid attention to the amount of time Archibald spends looking out of the window, always in a daze following the seagulls fly around or how he always leaned on the walls while wandering around the house.

That was probably why he never followed the cat’s stare towards the shed. If he had he would have realized that Richard had been sort of living there for the past week and a half. Richard was a 8 year old neighbour, son of Mrs. Harrison and the affair that she had had a few years ago with Anthony Roberts, the local baker. Mr. Hawtrey found this very dramatic and always bid good-bye when the neighbours started talking about that.

Mr. Hawtrey liked the boy though. He enjoyed when he rang his doorbell selling cookies from school and asked him for help for his maths schoolwork. The thing is, Mr. Hawtrey was a genius. At least that is what it had been said in the magazines years and years ago when his papers were published.

The life of a mathematician was not a glamorous one, thank God, thought Mr. Hawtrey. He could not even begin to think what a hassle it would be if he had people following him. He ignored letters. He also ignored the constant requests for a biography. Yes, he had discovered important formulas that helped shape the internet as we know it. Or decode international codes during the war. But how dreadful it would have been to have people constantly trying to talk to you.

Mr. Hawtrey taught in the University of Oxford for several years and was happy with such job. He would go to class, people would hear him for an hour and a half, solve problems and no big thinking was needed or wanted. Mr. Hawtrey had thought long and hard earlier in his life. For now he wanted the relaxation his age was due.

On that morning, Archibald had been on edge. Not your usual leg rubbing and noise making. The damn cat kept moving back and forward between the sitting room and the kitchen door. Mr. Hawtrey found this funny at first but after a few hours of interrupted news reading he got curious.

– What is it, Archie? Why is your tail going crazy? You’re not a dog, go mind your own life as you should and stop asking for attention!

Archibald huffed as if knowing he was being told off and meow’d lowly going back to the door watching.

Mr. Hawtrey got up from his big chair and put the kettle on, thinking he would just let the cat out and be back just in time for the water to boil.

Imagine Mr. Hawtrey’s surprise when he saw his shed light on ‘Have I forgotten about it?’, he thought ‘Certainly not!’. It was true, Mr. Hawtrey always checked the lights. Or the stove. Or power sockets. You can never be too careful.

Mr. Hawtrey grabbed the hose and was ready for what he might encounter.

– Mr. Hawtrey?

– Richard? What are you doing here boy?

Richard came out of the shed wearing his yellow wellies and blue t-shirt wrapped in a red blanket.

– Mr. Hawtrey, I have a problem.

– Good thing I have the kettle boiling. Come on in, you’re upsetting Archie.

 

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Let me know what you think and hope you want to know what troubled Richard.

Claudia x