[Note: The featured picture is of staves and clefs in J.S. Bach’s own hand for the Klavierbüchlein für Wilhelm Friedemann Bach]
We hit Five Ways again, and Ian gave directions to his house. I was glad we’d dropped Lucy off first – she’d not have begrudged Ian his luck at being able to live in a grand house off Carpenter Road, especially if she knew of his problems, but I think it would have crushed her even further to see it, at least at this time. After Ian, it was to Rashmi’s, Stan’s and my home, which Brenda and her mother seemed to have no trouble finding.
I walked in the front door, expecting to have to explain to someone some reason for my tardy appearance and my “new” hair and clothes – and I’d no idea what to say.
But, to my surprise, although a light had been left on for me, everyone was asleep. I shut the light off at the head of the landing and groped my way to my bedroom.
The next morning, I might still have to render an account – at the very least, I’d have to come up with a plausible explanation for where my uniform went. And what about the books that I was supposed to take with me – how could I get back to the Queen’s Theatre now and claim them?
But after all I’d been through, after all the times I’d been rescued, and after all the fascinating, remarkable, exciting things that had happened, what right did I have to complain? Tonight’s problems had sorted themselves when I’d had the faith to let it happen – why not tomorrow’s, if I had faith, the courage to just show up and the humility to allow them to be sorted. I dressed for bed, put my arm in its sling and let exhaustion take me away from it all.
* * *
I was awakened the following morning by the feeling that something was standing on my nose, pounding insistently on my forehead.
Unthinking, half-conscious, I took a swipe at the thing, bopping myself on the nose, as my tormentor left its perch well in advance of my hand’s arrival, landing on the quilt atop my bed. It was the imp from last night, now trying to talk to me as insistently as he’d rapped on my forehead, but his voice was too high-pitched, his speech too rapid, for me to catch a single word.
Realizing he wasn’t communicating with me in the slightest, he jumped from my bed to the top of the dresser and pointed irately at my bedroom door. Shaking my head, I rose and opened the door; I slipped on a robe, and waited for him to leap into its pocket. I padded my way down the hall; he leapt from the pocket to my sleeve as we neared the banister, then he slid down the banister with a gleeful giggle. I plodded my way after him, finding him waiting for me at the end of the banister as I neared the bottom of the stairs.
He pointed toward the front door, leaping once again into my pocket.
I wasn’t sure what he thought he might be accomplishing, but obligingly went to the front door and opened it. Three brown paper bags were waiting for me.
Inside the first were the books I was to have taken with me last night with a note:
Thought I’d save you the bother of coming back for these. Happy reading.
Inside the second was my school uniform, cleaned, pressed and folded – and another note:
Forgot about this, didn’t you? Hang it up straight away. You’ll need it for school.
Stan’s uniform, in similar condition, was inside the third – with a note – to me:
So will Sanjit. Or Stan. Wotevs. Please let him know too. Thanks.
I picked up the book I was to bring to Father Fitzgerald tonight and looked at the cover. In the early morning light, it read:
Klavierbüchlein für Wilhelm Friedemann Bach
Geschrieben von J.S. Bach
© 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015 G. H. McCallum and Duvanian Press, all rights reserved.
The Bluebottle Boys (Volume One) and Walking Backward for Christmas: A Tale of Woe from Soggyhall are each now available from Amazon Books. The Bluebottle Boys (Volume Two) is expected to be available shortly. The next novel of the series, By Good Angels Tenanted, will be available later in 2018.