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Inheritance

"A son ponders on his Dad's drinking"
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“I wonder if it’s too soon to return to the house yet”, he thought. “Dads been yelling for an hour.”

From past experience Jo knew his Dad would go on for another two hours.

It always happened when he came home after drinking all day with his mates at the pub.

He would come in fall flat on his face on the welcome mat and would not stir for another hour. When they were little his mum would take him and his sister out to the park or through the woods to the sea shore. But now that he was older and his sister was away at university his mum left him to his own devices.

“Why does alcohol change him so much from the easy going guy when he was sober to a clumsy, vengeful, argumentative self centred bastard?”, his Mum had remarked.

Jo lay back in the long grass where his Dad kept the garden wild for the butterflies, and watched the clouds scudding across the sky.

“When I grow up I won’t drink” he promised himself.

“You can have plenty of fun without getting plastered,” his Gran had told him.

He turned onto his stomach and studied a caterpillar trying to negotiate a route round a large stone. A spider scurried along and walked over the ponderous caterpillar, towards the safety of a large rock and the cool shadows. He saw a line of ants steaming between the Dandelions.

“I’d like to be an ant. Ants have lots of freedom.”

“Where’s my dinner!” , he heard his Dad yelling and the vacuum of his mum’s silence spread outwards . Out from the walls of the house and into the garden.

She knew not to antagonise him and aggravate an argument. “Perhaps if she could have more of a sense of humour about Dad’s drunkenness, things would be easier,” he thought. His mum had told him she just left him alone until he gradually settled on the couch and fell asleep.

It started to rain which was the cue for Jo to return to the house.

He cautiously opened the door and stepped into the kitchen where his mum had set up some sandwiches and peeped into the front room.

His Dad was snoring loudly in front of ‘Country file’ on the television.

“Alright Mum?”, he asked.

“Yes Jo, until next Sunday.”

At the end of the evening just before Jo went to bed his Dad woke up.

“Hello son. What’ve you been doing today?”

“Just looking after our wild patch, Dad. Goodnight.”

“I’m proud of you son,” his Dad replied ruffling Jo’s hair.

“You’re nearly old enough to come with me to the pub on Sundays, aren’t you.”

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