Adam rounded the corner, and could see his house. It was a lovely big house, built during the boom years of the early 2000s. He hated it, as it was here that he felt the worst. When he was working, he recieved some respect for his abilities and attitude. Here, he was less than dirt. Hopefully he could get in and out quickly.
He used his key to get into the house through the back door. He passed through the kitchen, which was empty, checking the cuckoo clock for the time. It was quarter to 7, so they'd likely be gathered round the radio in the living room, clutching lottery tickets. The amount of Adam's hard-earned money that had went to the ticket sellers angered him. They'd once won a days wage back. He'd got none of it.
He went on downstairs again, stopping to listen for the supposed adults in the house. They seemed to be occupied with the radio. He went on along the hall, grabbing 2 photo books from the bookshelf, then down into the washroom.
He went to his room one last time. There was nothing to take, really. Over the last couple years, he'd culled it down to either useful or valuable items, and all of those that he could transport were in his bags. There was nothing left here for him, barring a few things stashed under the insulation in the attic, which he didn't know if he'd ever see again.
He came out, and looked at the big bookshelf in the hall. He took two photo albums. One was of a couple of family holidays, the other was his mother's from before she married his father. He went on downstairs, listening carefully for the adults in the house. He went back to the washroom, where he found carrier bags for wrapping the albums in, which he put on into his backpack. He filled his lunchbox with whatever food was to hand, as well as the pockets of the bag.
Bag packed, he snuck on out again, grabbing his big raincoat off the hook beside the door. It had spent the last year sitting ready to serve as a 'bug out coat' , filled with everything he'd need to get by on his own. Now it was time to move from preparation to action.
He went over to the garage, and did a final check of all the stowage compartments and bags tied on top of the green Seayak. Everything was there, so he needed to move now, before he lost the nerve.
He set the tail of it up on top of the dolly, and bound them together fairly tightly. Then he breathed deeply, and opened the garage door. He only had 2 hours of daylight left, and he wanted to be as far away as possible when he had to make camp. It was a kilometre to the river, and then he'd be gone. He took the towstrap in his hand, and stepped out sharply.
It turns out that a fully loaded kayak is a heavy item, and Adam was quite distracted by this weight he was towing. So he wasn't aware of Tracy at the window, watching him. They'd already checked their tickets, and come up with nothing other than an excuse to open up a bottle of potcheen. Jason was in a little world of his own, untouchable by anything at this point. Other than perhaps the greyhound racing results.
She didn't do anything for a while, but then went over to her man and kicked him once, quite hard, to bring him back to the waking world.
'Your son is running away right now, you big tool.'
This didn't really penetrate. Jason looked around dumbly.
'Adam just left with a canoe and bags tied to it. He's running away, so what is your dopey ass going to do about it?'
A harder kick was delivered. 'Get out!'
This prompted him to move, without much enthusiasm. He was an overweight and sluggish man, and so he ambled off at a fairly low speed.
Adam was suffering on to the river, to his planned entry point at Barringstonbridge. The kayak was pretty heavy, the dolly wasn't ideal, and he'd been working all day. He also felt horribly lonely. It was crushing, and he was confused as to whether the pain was real or in his head. He knew it would be better once he set up camp for the night, but he absolutely had to put a couple miles behind him first.
He was halfway there when his dad spotted him, and didn't get much further before he caught up. Adam tried to ignore him, and pushed on.
'Where are you going?'
'Away.' That was it really, no real plan.
'No you're not.' He tried to grab the tow strap. Adam delivered a savage kick to the shin with his steel toe boot, and so Jason fell away, in pain. He knew he'd have to get rid of the man if he was going to get into the river. The bridge was only a couple of hundred metres away.
'Why are you leaving?' Adam fought back the urge to spit insults. He felt that how he left would set the tone for the rest of his life. That if he was nasty here now, it would be a nasty, bitter path ahead. He wanted to see the things he'd been missing out on, all the life and love that wasn't here.
'I just want to live, rather than survive. I want to make my own choices, see the world.' He knew that this wouldn't penetrate. The urge to say what he felt was strong.
Jason was stupefied. There wasn't the cognitive resources present to put together any kind of reply. There was an attempt for a few seconds to process it, then he fell back on baser responses. He ran at Adam, going for the tow strap, and Adam tried to step to the side and dodge it.
He dropped the strap and they both hit the ground, hard. There was a scuffle between them, where Adam fought the urge to go all out on the man. He got a few good hits in and managed to roll away. Lying there, he saw the sky was getting darker. He needed to be downriver soon.
His father stirred, like he was going to start again, but then a black-clad figure appeared, face masked, hurley in hand, and planted a boot on Jason's chest.
'Don't dare move. You, be gone.'
Adam hesitated, then got moving with the kayak again. He knew his Dad was in safe hands. He'd seen that hurley not more than an hour ago, and knew the initials on it. He moved quickly on down towards the bridge. A familiar face was standing on it, two bicycles propped against the railing beside him.
'Thanks for that.'
'No problem, it needed doing. Sam has spent the last couple years itching to give your oul boy a hiding. Maybe he'll learn something from it.'
'Hopefully Brendan, but I don't much care. It won't affect me.'
'Here, Mum gave me a couple soda farls to give you.' A bag was produced from the basket of one of the bikes, and obviously held a little more than some soda farls.
'Thank her very much from me. Could you give me a hand floating this?'
They untied the kayak from the dolly, carried it down to edge of the river bank, in through the gate to a lane that ran along the side of the river. Adam pulled off his steel toe boots and put on a pair of plimsolls, did a final check of all the stuff he had stowed, and slid the little vessel into the water. He managed to get into it without wet feet, thanks to Brendan holding it in close to then bank. Once seated, he did a quick look around, unclipped the paddle, and cast off.
'Thanks Brendan! Tell your Dad and Sam thank you too!'
'No bother! May the water rise to meet you, and the wind be to your back, till we see you again!'
Adam smiled at the cut down Irish blessing, and started paddling. Shortly, he was round the corner and Clonkeen was behind him for good. Hopefully.
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