The final entry in The Omicron Matter – Goodbyes. Dinner is finished and Jason clears the table and does the dishes. It is something he can do to stay calm as he explains what is going to happen. His aunt is slowly coming to grips with Jason’s coming journey. Old worries haunt her again.
For those who are new to the Omicron Matter, the book home page is a good place to start
In one of my writing books, the author uses the concept of “Energy Points.” The second energy point is where the characters leave everything behind to embark on their quest.
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Cleaning Dishes at The Farm House
Finally she said in a shuddering voice, “The cows miss you. Won’t go in the stalls right and cheese doesn’t taste as good.”
Jason said quietly as he washed , “ I miss your stew. Jolene puts cream in hers. And too many vegetables.”
His aunt said, sniffing, “Those water heaters are the talk o’ the town. Can’t see the fuss.” Even with his back turned, he could sense a smile in the voice. A life time of backwards praise let him know she had noticed.
He replied conversationally, “When I get back, I expect I could do another one even better.” He looked around and saw a free wall and pointed with his chin, “It would fit there.”
His uncle said, “We don’t’ have a gas line and we still pump the water.”
Jason finished the pot and picked up a towel and said, “There are solutions to those.” He looked at his aunt and said, “A hot bath after the last milking on a cold rainy night could feel good.”
His aunt crossed her arms and said, “Tain’t natural.” He saw Candace and Uncle Patrick tense. Six months ago he would have retorted all the ways she used new things. But he held his tongue. He dried a third plate and waited.
His aunt looked away and said, “But my bones are getting tired these days. Might be nice to warm up occasionally.” The tension left the room. She straightened up and said, “How long are you going to be gone. Someone else might offer me a water heater.”
Jason looked at Patrick and said, “You will tell about that conversation when it happens, won’t you?”
His uncle looked at his aunt and then at Jason said, “I shall write it down. I won’t miss a word.”
Jason continued, “To be honest, I don’t know. Travel will go faster, but I don’t know how things will turn out on the other end. I expect at least six months, but it could be as much as two years. And that is me just guessing.”
His aunt looked at Candace and said, “I don’t think she is going to last the six months.”
Candace flushed and said, “Mum’s not happy, but she is going to help. Kimberly and da’ will as well. I’ve got the job at the pub and they’ve promised to keep me on. And Jason’s left a good sum to take care of us that should last until he’s back.”
His aunt scowled saying, “Money’s not going to help when the little one has the colic.” She folded her arms and said, “and you mother’s got a business to run. Bring the little ‘un around on occasion and give your mum a break. Seems we’ll have to fill in while he’s gone larking off.”
Jason said quietly, “Thank you.”
His aunt said sharply, “Shame on you for leaving a lass in that state.”
Jason sputtered, but Candace said, “He didn’t know. Besides, he will be doing things we can’t imagine. He’ll be meeting important people. He will be doing so much more than washing dishes and making water heaters.”
Jason said firmly, “and I will be back.”
His aunt sighed and then crossed her arms, “Nothing wrong milking cows. Perfectly good honest labor.”
Jason tried to stay calm as he said, “I know…and it fills the day. But I know I can do more. I know we can do more…we working folk…and I intend to show everyone just how much we honest working types can do.”
There was a bit of quiet and Jason dried the last dish. His aunt said, “But you’re coming back?”
He moved closer to Candace and put an arm around her and said, “I’ve got a reason or two. Sean…Da’ found happiness here and he saw more than I am going to. I think I can find happiness here. But I have to go too.” He paused and said, “Won’t be much point in staying if things aren’t safe and I have to try to make things right.”
His aunt said, “Sean was a good man. More curiosity than sense, but he was a good man. Always treated me right.” She reached for his hand and said, “He would be proud.” She looked away and said hoarsely, “Just come back. You’re all we’ve got left.”
Jason got on a knee and looked his aunt in the eye and said, “I’ll be back. Please take care of Candace and little one. Let em’ know who their da’ was. Show ‘em how to milk and how collect eggs.”
His aunt pulled him, “You come back sooner and tell ‘em yourself boy.”
It was late and his aunt would not have them walk home. A woman in Candace’s condition should not be out in the cold and dark. Jason’s room and bed were small, but they didn’t seem to mind.