This morning I am sharing the second chapter of my e-book ‘Loving Judah’; when a terrible tragedy strikes, some people are drawn together even more closely, others’ relationship is ripped apart. In my story, Aislin’s step-son has died on a trekking expedition to Kashmir; her husband Peter, Judah’s father, is understandably devastated but his grief seems to be drawing him away from her, rather than pulling him closer:
The beautiful day was a mockery. Aislin had seen the first light of dawn as she stood by the uncurtained window and now She watched Peter, stiff from sitting downstairs all night, slowly stumble out into the early morning. He was bent like an old man as he almost tripped over the pile of rubble, splashed into the pool which had gathered. He seemed barely conscious, as if all feeling, all thought was buried beneath the huge weight of misery that overwhelmed him. Hardly aware of what he was doing he unzipped his flies and peed into the heap of sand.
When Peter wandered into the bedroom she was in bed and lay watching him as he took off his suit and pulled on his pyjamas and the sweater he slept in. Surely it was light enough for him to see that she was not asleep?
He got into bed but lay as far from her as he was able, on his back staring at the ceiling.
“Are you alright?” she asked.
Peter did not reply but rolled over so his back was towards her.
Aislin swallowed her upset; She had lain weeping through the night, images of Judah flashing in her mind whether her eyes were open or closed. And somewhere deep in her heart she secretly pondered whether she would have felt differently if he had been her son. Surely she could not hurt more? Her sorrow was physical, a pain that constricted her chest.
She got up and for some reason thought of how she used to go to bed naked; When she and Pete were first together she did not even possess a night dress
She pushed her feet into her trainers and staggered into the chilly bathroom, climbing over the cardboard packages containing the shower unit. Can I really bear to wash in cold water again? Yesterday she had risen early and heated water on the range and brought it up to the bathroom… Yesterday. She had a sudden flash of the coffin. It was biodegradable.
She cleaned her teeth, and shivering returned to the bedroom.
Peter was awake.
“Can we get the electricity fixed and the boiler connected as a priority, I really have just about had it with washing in cold water,” she said, stripping off her sweatshirt and pyjamas.
“Have you forgotten what happened yesterday?” Peter asked, his pale face unusually flushed.
what did he mean? Apart from the funeral, nothing had happened yesterday.
“What did happen yesterday?” she asked, zipping up her jeans.
“What is the matter with you?” he bellowed, sitting up. “Not content with sending my son to his death, you can’t wait to get him in the ground and forgotten, as if he never existed!”
“Peter!” she exclaimed outraged.
“He was always a problem to you wasn’t he? You didn’t even want to marry me because of him!”
“Peter that is so unfair!” she could hardly think of the words to combat this nonsense “I loved Judah, I always loved him! Right from the first! I’m sorry but you’re out of order to say that – I know you are upset – “
“Upset!” Peter screamed “Upset? My only child dies thousands of miles from home, of course I’m bloody upset!”
He threw himself back onto the bed and pulled the covers up over his face.
Aislin’s heart was turned to stone even as her mind tried to reason. He’s hurting, he’s grieving, but that is so so bloody unfair. the doctor had said something about grief and grieving, about bereavement – anger, guilt, disbelief, acceptance, she had muddled it. Whatever. Peter was angry, angry with her, but it was only because she was there. She stamped out of the room and if there had been a door she would have slammed it. That had been one of Peter’s first jobs in the house, ripping every hideous door from its hinges and flinging it in the skip. They were horrible, even without the awful paint flaking from them, but at least they allowed for some privacy in the bathroom. Aislin was indifferent to it now and wondered if there was a door yet designed which would please them both.
Her foot connected with the lantern still standing at the top of the stairs where she had left it last night and it tumbled down the steps and she heard the glass shatter.
She took her anger out on the house. This sodding house, this bloody house, this damned bloody bloody sodding house. She stamped down the stairs, cursing at each step.
Let’s sell it, Pete, lets sell the damned ruin. Lets find a brand new house, an executive dwelling on an exclusive estate. The whole thing was a mistake a crazy damned stupid bloody sodding mistake, bugger it, bugger, bugger, bugger.
She hopped across the joists and into the kitchen as the back door opened and a tall windswept blond woman strode in and dropped a travel bag.
“Ashy,” she said. “Oh Ashy! I know I’m late, too late, but oh Ashy!”
It was Sandi.
If you want to know what happens to Peter and Aislin, and to Sandy, here is a link to my book which I hope to publish as a paperback next year:
… and here is my blurb for the book:
The tragic death of Aislin McManus’s adored step-son Judah is a catastrophe; the fact that his father, Peter, blames Aislin almost breaks her heart.
Her attempts to mend the breach between her and her husband are failing and when Aislin meets someone else who is blamed for the death of his best friend she resolves to do everything she can to reconcile him with his family, even though she puts herself in danger by doing so.