The first fifteen messages were all about his dad. Not his dad leaving or being away, but his dad being dead as in no longer alive. Quite depressing. Rolen’s late-morning flare he had caught by too much detective work was vanishing.
Then for an instant his eyes widened, his body jerked from fright while his arms flailed knocking the answering machine of the counter and crashing on to the floor. “Rolen Steven!” His mother shouted, eyes half closed, hair a disastrous mess. “Look at me!” she said tight-lipped.
Rolen looked and appeared to be a bloody, tired boxer struggling to hang on in the corner of the ring knowing a bashing blow was heading towards his face that would end it all.
“You didn’t sleep at all last night…again, did you?” The tightness in her lips eased as she click her tongue making tsk tsk sound. Her eyes warmed as she embraced her son. She knew what he was going through only to a certain extent. A wife of a…missing husband deals the loss differently, way differently than a twelve-year old son.
“Rolen? Please go up and go to bed and sleep for as long as you can sleep.”
Rolen gave no resistance. It’s was almost as if he needed to be ordered to go to sleep. He barely made it up the stairs before crash landing face-first on his pillow. It would be dinner time before his mom saw him again.
His mother’s cauliflower casserole wafted through the house as if it had a super-hero cape on and heard Rolen’s cry of hunger. Feeling refreshed both physically and mentally, Rolen rose out of bed looking forward to devouring his favorite meal. While putting on a change of clothes, he thought back to his anthology of thoughts. He decided, while looking in the mirror (realizing he needed to shower badly), that some of his ideas about his dad were far-fetched and simply a reaction to a devastating event.
However, Rolen was still convinced that his father was not deceased, but rather very much alive. Missing? Obviously. Hurt? Possibly. Somewhere nearby? He could only hope. It still vexed him that he felt he was close, but at the same time very far away. In any case, he was very much looking forward to another visit to his dad’s shop with a refreshed state of mind. He smelled under his arms. And without the foul odor.