I watched the rain pour down like tears, tears that were corroding away my happiness, even though I was safely inside in my old city house. I’d always associated rain with peace, but it seemed I wasn’t going to get any peace today.
"Mum!" My five-year-old son, James, ran into the room, disturbing my thoughts, "Patience won't let me play!" And then he ran out of the room, just like that.
I turned from the large music room window and followed him into the room next door, where my three young children were (supposed to be) playing nicely and quietly.
"What's wrong, my dears?" I asked to the room. Six-year-old Patience clutched her Barbies to her chest, whilst her sister, Emily, peered into a picture book with great curiosity; she had just learnt to read.
"Patience won't let me play!" James repeated, sticking his thumb into his mouth.
"James, don't suck your thumb. Patience, let your brother play with you." I commanded, like the ‘good mother’ I was trying so hard to be.
James thumb was as firm in his mouth as Patience’s decision was.
"But he's a boy! Boys don't play with girls!"
"I'm sure they do in this day and age," I muttered, starting to get a headache and stressed.
“I wanna play…” James cried.
“But I don’t want to play with him!” Patience pouted, sticking her tongue out at her brother.
“Let’s be mature about this, please!” I found myself yelling, startling them all.
Emily suddenly looked up at me with her big blue eyes.
“That’s what Daddy would have said,” she whispered, before bolting from the room to cry in solitude.
As the eldest, Emily probably remembered her father the most. She probably remembered the soft northern accent of his voice when he would read her bedtime stories, the feel of his hands as the combed through her locks, and the little humming noises he would make whilst shaving.
That must have been all very different to what I remembered: the smell of his after-shave and cologne, the touch of his pianist’s hands on my arms, the taste of peppermint as he kissed my lips…
I wandered over to Emily’s room, lilac walls and cuddly toys stuffed into every little space. Without knocking, I entered on tiptoes, hesitant. My daughter was face down on her bed, sobbing into her pillow.
“Honey…” I muttered, placing my hand gently on her head and stoking the chestnut curls that tumbled down, the same shade as her father’s.
“Yes, it is what Daddy would have said. He was always more mature than me.” Mainly because he was ten years older. I thought to myself, but I wouldn’t let Emily know that little fact.
“He wouldn’t have wanted us to argue,” Emily looked up at me, and, I smiled as I wiped the tears from her cheeks and the corners of her eyes.
“Yes, that’s right. It’ll be okay, though, I’ll sort those two out soon enough. There, lie your head back down, my dear.”
She lowered her head back down slowly, snivelling softly.
"Shh, now..." I went back to stroking her hair, rather transfixed, "Go to sleep. Dream about your angel papa, looking after you from up there in Heaven."
I wiped the tears from my eyes too, listening to the rain rattling down on the roof. It was days like those that reminded me too much of the day that my mother took away dear Aidan.