Once again Rolen stood in front of the window at his father’s workbench. The constellations filled the summer sky. Silhouettes of nocturnal animals could be seen up by the railroad track running parallel from the shop. The answering machine still sitting there untouched, unplayed.
He knew she didn’t have an answer. She even said so herself, but what she had said instead had added to the growing list on his mental checklist which subsequently was causing his irritation to grow as well and his patience to diminish.
She mentioned the library. Dad’s library. It was dad’s room equivalent to his shop except this was indoors and it wasn’t where he built or examined things with a hands-on approach, but rather where he read, studied and wrote. He would study into all hours of the night - books, maps, newspaper articles, audio and video tapes, DVDs. His writing would take many forms: poetry, short stories, reports, letters and most often a journal…many journals.
“Have you gone into his library yet?” she had asked.
“I’m not ready,” Rolen replied and in hindsight wasn’t sure if that was exactly true. The truth was that Rolen had been so preoccupied with items in the workshop…and before that with pushing away the thought of his dad being dead. It took Rolen weeks to go out into the workshop. The thought of going into the library never crossed his mind. Not once. The library was different. It represented a different version of his dad. Even though the library was an important and intriguing part of his life, the workshop represented something more tactile and something a twelve-year old could relate to – baseball, tractors, and classic rock-n-roll. In truth, that was only part of it. Something, now that he thought about it, scared him about the library. And it was so much fear it basically anxiety. Rolen could feel it just thinking about it.
With plenty of rest during the day, Rolen was ready for another all-nighter. What that involved exactly he wasn’t certain. The one thing he did know is that he was going to need snacks.
Rolen entered the kitchen in a rush. His mind was on mission control and he didn’t want any distractions. On the counter, lay a note from his mother. Beside the note lay snacks to last even a preteen a couple of nights – chips, pretzels, some drinks and an apple with hopeful intentions. Grabbing his backpack from the coat rack in the laundry room, he stuffed it with the goodies before reading the note.
I know you all too well. Don’t stay up too late. J
Stepping outside with backpack in tow, Rolen paused to enjoy the starry sky and a few crickets conversing over harmonizing music that echoed from unseen parts of the forest enveloping the property. Reaching for the door knob to the shop, Rolen heard something faint in the distance. So faint and so distant that he almost shrugged it off and continued into the shop. He would have if the sound wasn’t accompanied by what he thought were voices…and engines. Rolen froze and closed his eyes attempting to focus his hearing on the sound.
Shuuurr-if. A few seconds passed.
After the second time, Rolen knew exactly what the sound was.