Peter was tired – he could not clearly make if he was tired, sleepy or jet lagged. He was tossing and turning in his bed for a while. He had drifted in and out of sleep several times. But now, he was very much awake, wide awake. He had just returned from his business travel far east, where all his firm's manufacturing has been relocated to. Peter managed the supply-chain for his company and he was quite good at it; and very successful. Although he has been typically traveling at least once in a quarter, recently, they have been becoming more and more of an ordeal. The enchantment and the mystique of the Far East no longer held magic for him. On travel, he yearned to be back home and he had started missing his family more – it looked to him that travel made him realize how little time he spent at home with his lovely wife, Simone and their kids – (just) teen-age daughter Jess and their son Jamie. On the flight home, he had played his long-forgotten favourite band, Pink Floyd’s music on his iPod. The lyrics,
Home, home again
I like to be here when I can
When I come home cold and tired
It's good to warm my bones beside the fire
Far away across the field
The tolling of the iron bell
Calls the faithful to their knees
To hear the softly spoken magic spells
stuck and he replayed it over and over in his head ("Hmmm...I should get back to listening to them more often", he told himself). Come tomorrow, Sunday, he would be at Church hearing those soft spoken sermons, sitting close to his family. "Damn", he muttered, "if only I could sleep tonight".
He twisted around and looked on the other side – his 3 yr old son Jamie was sleeping against Simone. Jamie was special; literally he was a special child needing a different kind of attention and upbringing. Peter worried about Jamie a lot – mostly because, he had no idea what the future held for Jamie and if he would be independent, after they were gone. One saving grace for them seemed that he was the second child behind Jess; and hopefully Jess would be there for Jamie after them. But, Jess – Jess, Jess, Jess, he sighed aloud. He had stopped by her room, before getting to bed – she was asleep, but his lips seemed to be screwed in anger and brow arched in sleep – perhaps going through a bad dream. As he had stood by the door-way, watching her, he did sense some of the struggle Jess is going through – he had no time for her; and Simone was overwhelmed handling and taking care of Jamie. Even if Jess was going through some problem, neither of her parents would know; worse not only they did not have time, but were perhaps telling Jess on what she should be doing, without even understanding what she is going through. Deciding that he would spend some quality time with her this weekend, he had gone to closer her bed, bent down, looked at her closely – his heart swelled; he had softly kissed her forehead, adjusted the blanket – Jess seemed to cuddle up and relax in her sleep, lips uncurling and brows straightening out.
He sighed aloud again and swore – perhaps too loud, that Simone stirred in her sleep – she opened her eyes and smiled weakly at him. He already felt guilty to have woken her up, when he let himself in the first time. Now his tossing and turning had woken her up again. Peter was sure that Simone’s day would have been swamped working with Jamie, keeping up with him and various programs. As Simone drifted back to sleep, Peter continued looking at her – he ran his fingers through her hair; he loved her a lot and was constantly amazed at her dedication to the cause; although he could not recall the last time he told her that - that of his love and his appreciation. He resolved again – to create and spend some time with her. And with Jamie and with both of them. And with Jess. Simple, he realized, he just needs to spend more time at home.
This line of thought distressed him further and anguished him. Peter realized that he is not only going sleepless, but he was creating possibilities of waking up the family. He got up softly, paddled out – swallowed a sleeping pill and went and lay down in the guest room. As he slowly drifted back to sleep in the guest room, he thought tomorrow could be a different day. Atleast he was not in the foreign country amidst of a different culture and language. At least, he was home. In that knowledge, Peter slept… alone.