January 26, 2023

Unexpected Confessions and Returning to calm

By aarondkey

“I don’t want to hear any excuses,” Stolid said. In that moment Timonthy suddenly realised something.

Stolid was wearing the same casual grey tunic and trousers he had been wearing at the nativity play. Although they didn’t look as respectable as they had then with blueberry stains and creases spoiling the look.

“Did you go to a nativity play today?” he asked surprised.

“To be honest, Timonthy, all the days are merging into one. A day is just a period between one sleep and another to me now. Some last for hours and hours but there have been some just a few minutes long. All the same, this one seems to have lasted forever but I did do that thing at some point earlier. Yes! It was there that Peter found me and shamed me into coming back.”

Timonthy wanted to ask the next question but he was equally determined that he never would instead he settled for saying, “you should be ashamed of being in such a state….”

He didn’t finish the sentence – ‘ashamed of being Paris’s father in such a state of drunkenness and childish moroseness’ was what he meant although he thought it he hadn’t meant to say it. It was not in his nature to air his own constant internal criticisms of those around him. This one had slipped out.

“I know,” Stolid sighed, and instantly his expression looked more alert and he sat upright. “No excuse either. I don’t need to feel drunk but I just wanted to. Is any of this food spare?”

“No. Get your own from the kitchen,” Timonthy said. He was in a bad temper because he was ashamed of himself.

Stolid grinned and disappeared briefly, re-emerging with a full plate he cradled to his body. He sat down again beside them wihtout any awareness that he might not be wanted, Timonthy thought with a begrudging respect. Gerard didn’t seem to regret his presence either but then Stolid was the nearest thing to entertainment this place had to offer.

“I’ve come to see you as a friend Timonthy, in spite of circumstances and our history,” Stolid said thoughtfully. “If I tried I could be a better man but you could just accept me as I am.”

“I do,” Timonthy grinned back, his bad temper forgotten. He repeated, “I do,” shook his head and said more thoughtfully. “I just wondered what your daughter would think if she heard you talking like that.”

“I hope she never will,” Stolid said ruefully, “but she isn’t here. I don’t think she thinks of me as her father, anyway. I certainly haven’t been much of one.”

He admitted it, Timonthy thought in triumph and despondency. He was happy to leave the conversation there in spite of Stolid’s evident inclination to talk about it. Not yet prepared for the consequences: in fact he was surprised that he had brought it up at all.

“So do you know where Koa keeps the beer?” he asked Stolid to distract him.  He realised as soon as he had asked it what a stupid question it was.

“Do you want some?” Stolid said and moved an arm to reach into empty space for a jug. It was such a casual movement that Timonthy scarcely saw the second that the jug appeared and then the aroma of warm ale hit his nose.

“I’ll get mugs,” Gerard said hopping up quickly and disappearing in the direction of the kitchen. Stolid’s gaze followed him with such a warm hint of approval that Timonthy was afraid again.

“He knows that I can make mugs appear as easily as moving my hand,” Stolid said. “but he thinks that you want to talk to me without him there.”

Timonthy knew that Stolid was right yet Gerard was wrong. Timonthy didn’t want to talk to Stolid. He wanted the inevitable conversation not to happen. He saw that Stolid wanted that too although he seemed to be prompted by guilt or some other emotion to make it happen.

“I don’t know what to say to you, Timonthy,” Stolid shook his head.

“Don’t say anything then,” Timonthy said gruffly.

“I don’t know if that is an option,” Stolid mused, “but we’ll try it for now.” They sat there in an uncomfortable silence until Gerard came back and put three tankards on the table. As Stolid poured out the drinks he looked at both of their faces with a puzzled look.

“That was an odd thing that happened this afternoon: the storm, I mean,” he said, as he raised his own drink to his lips.

“Weird but perhaps that is the sort of thing that happens often around here,” TImonthy suggested.

“As far as I know it doesn’t,” Stolid shook his head. “I am baffled to be honest and a bit worried. It would have taken someone with power, I presume, to cause that illusion. If it wasn’t Rael, Elena or me, who else is there and what do they want with you?”

“It wasn’t them?” Timonthy said almost hopefully. He didn’t like the sound of an unknown person with a grudge against him. “I haven’t managed to ask Rael yet. He’s not been back. Elena knows nothing about it either. It would be so out of character that I can’t believe Rael guilty, although he is missing.”

“Rael said he would be back by dinner,” Timonthy remembered. “Has something unexpected happened to him? It shouldn’t really affect his timekeeping though, should it?”

Stolid didn’t answer. He looked thoughtful and shrugged his shoulders.

“Do you think we would be safer here or back at your house, if this is not a one-off?” Gerard asked intently after a pause.

“I don’t think it makes any difference,” Stolid said. “Just remember to call on me as soon as anything starts, I can hear you just as well from either place.”