#NaNoWriMo Day 30: A Father's Joy #amwriting
And in a trice, NaNo is done. I ended with somewhere over 170,000 words. How did everyone else do?
To commemorate the end of NaNo, a story about a father's joy:
They came to the bakery window whereupon Little Jaicobh’s blue eyes instantly flared, absorbing everything on display, ruminating over every bread, every cake, every pie on the shelves.
“Remember, Cub,” said Sheamas, resting his son in the bend of his arm, “we’re just goin’ in for some pockets, so no comin’ out with arms loaded like we did last time.”
Little Jaicobh seemed hardly to hear his father’s gentle entreaty; he was far too engaged with the gingerbread biscuits lining the bottom of the window, all of them in familiar shapes: there was one of Unaa with her pillowy chest, and another of Uncle Alasdair wearing a crown, and a few of Aunt Linaa and Uncle Unghaahi, but none of Khaasta or his cousins.
“Aye,” Sheamas sighed, smiling and shaking his head, “I know you hear me somehow. We’re just gettin’ apple pockets to take to Uncle Lochan’s and shise sin.”
Sheamas was well aware that he said this more as an affirmation with regard to his own resolve rather than to fortify any address he could make to his son. A doting look, and beseeching burble, and he should be done: all his love was for his darling child, and without a mother to be the sensible head, Sheamas must do what he could to be firm where his child’s health was concerned. Self protestations and remonstrances, however, were nothing to a son whose dominant proclivity was to prove his endearing nature: forever in a smiling humour and easy temper, forever giggling and running about in high happy revel—how could he deny anything to such a child? The ever-joyful gleam in his son’s eyes began to work its way to his heart, and Sheamas groaned and turned aside. “We’re gonna walk outta here with more than I meant to get.”
Little Jaicobh laughed and embraced his father about the neck.
“I know, mho gra,” Sheamas crooned, patting his son’s back. “All babes empty their Das pockets.”
They entered the bakery, and while Sheamas had a mild aspiration of leaving with only a few things in hand, the comforting scent of baked breads and steaming pies persuaded him to think otherwise. His son’s eyes fell everywhere, his nose following every warming aroma, his hands reaching out to touch every biscuit and bun they passed. “Keep those little hands of yours in, Cub,” said he, gently holding his son’s hands together. “If we touch it, it’s gotta come home with us.”
“Sure’n he’ll take one of everythin’,” Betseigh exclaimed, entering from the oven room with a trey of fidget pies .
“Diathaneas, Betseigh,” said Sheamas, shifting his son away from the head baker as she passed.
“An thu, Sheamas.” She passed her trey to one of her fluttering assistants, and returned to the counter. “’Tis yourself well, and the little one here, growin’ in all places,” she cooed, tickling Little Jaicobh’s stomach. “You do be gettin’ big for your age,” and then turning to Sheamas, “Is the boss talkin’?”
“Not yet. He likes pointin’ well enough.”
“Aye, well. Some of ‘em don’t be talkin’ till they got what to say. Maybe the boss is waitin’ for what to interest him an’ o’. You’ll be wantin’ your pockets?”
“I’ll fetch ‘em in a trice.”
In a blur of motion, Betseigh was off, gone to the oven room once more where Sheamas’ order lay warming in the masonry oven. Little Jaicobh watched her go, and as she disappeared behind the divide, his eye caught and followed a serving girl tittuping along the counter space, and then another and another: each change of motion compelled him to pursue, and his head bobbed and weaved to compensate for the dizzying movements that his eyes were desperately trying to follow until a Lucentian half-moon drop cake came into focus. He pointed to it, and then looked expectantly at his father.
“Not today, Cub,” said Sheamas softly. “We’re goin’ to Uncle Lochan’s, and we’ll have somethin’ there.”
Uncle Lochan might have a sundry of good things to share, but Little Jaicobh was convinced of his not having a half-moon drop cake, which was all his ambition. He smiled sweetly and pointed again to his desired treat.
“We can have that another day. Today, Uncle Lochan has somethin’ for you.”
More desperate machinations were required if Little Jaicobh were to have his way. He was aware of his father’s weakness, aware of the gapes, the pouts, the glowing prospect that discomposed him, and though he rarely needed to employ these tactics, he would certainly avail them now. He puckered his lower lip, canted his head, and stared at his father with glistening eyes, his aspect deplorable and his manner pleading.
“Ach,” Sheamas moaned, looking askance. His ascendancy was beginning to wane, his determination of not buying anything but a few pockets was diminishing, and by the time he had turned back to his son, his heart was already resigning to his unconquerable will. “You’re ruinin’ your poor Da,” he grieved.
Sheamas was saved from any further assailing looks, for at that moment, Betseigh returned from the oven room with a large box of fresh apple pockets in her hands.
“Here they be,” said she, “six an’ ‘o, and the seventh for this one here, without a mite a trouble. Here, you do be lookin’ down a-sudden, Sheamas. You was lookin’ well afore. Ah, the eyes,” with significant nods. “Sure’n, I knows ‘em. Every Ma and Da do. My young-uns negotiated me oughta everythin’ there were with ‘em eyes. Couldn’t say a no to ‘em if I wanted. Well, what are Das and Mas for but the spoilin’, eh?”
Little Jaicobh’s cheeks flushed, and he made a shy smile.
“Ah, he’s a sweet duck if I e’er seen one,” the baker cooed. She pinched his cheek, watching him curl in shyness, and reached over to the shelf where the half-moon drop cakes sat. “There it is,” placing the small cake in the child’s hand, “and no more eyes at your Da, you mind.”
The child glanced at his cake and then at the baker. “Thank you,” he chimed in a tinkling voice.
Sheamas gave a small start. He spoke: never had he heard a word uttered from his child, never with such articulation and fervency had he heard him say anything at all. He spoke, and instantly did he wish to collect every pie, every cake, every treacle in the room and lavish it upon his son. He spoke, and Sheamas knew not what to say; he knew not whether to throw his hands up and cry in jubilation or to allow the moment to pass without notice for fear that if his reaction be too extemporaneous, his son may never speak another word again. He spoke, and the means of communication between them had exponentially increased. He wanted all at once to say everything, to ask him to repeat what he had said for fear that he had dreamt his son’s first words, but he could only gawp in amazement and say nothing.
“Sure’n there’s a word for you,” Betseigh laughed, plucking at Little Jaicobh’s round cheeks. “He knows what to speak for. His interest were in sweets an’ o’.”
“Where’d you learn that, cub?” Sheamas breathed, his eyes flaring, the corners of his mouth beginning to curl. “Can you say it again?”
The child grinned, made an arch look, and shook his head.
“Bet you can’t say it again,” Sheamas insisted, with eager smiles. “Do it for your old man, Cub.”
He would not have said more, as there was a cake to be ate, but the doting and hopeful look in his father’s eyes moved him to hold the cake up and say in a questioning accent, “…Thank you?”
“Aye,” Sheamas laughed, tears welling in his eyes, “you can have it now.” He remained some time in his first flow of amazement, standing at the counter and watching his son delight in his treat with all the gratefulness that his overpowered heart could express. He had spoken, had proved he could do it without much provocation, had even an understanding of the words which he had said. It was all felicity and exultation, and Sheamas pressed his nose against his son’s round cheeks, and allowed himself to be conquered by an abundance of tears.