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Hold Me Close (Never Let Me Go)
She sat alone huddled up on the couch.
There’s a sudden roar of thunder and then a bright flash draws across the hazy evening sky.
Where’s Karl, he should be back by now? His flight could have been delayed. But wouldn’t he have called if that were the case?
It had been a tuff couple of weeks. Lib losing the baby, Ringo being lead astray, Zeke being gone from site half the time and now this business with Guy. She thought she was coping, but she soon realised the truth was, she wasn’t. She needed Karl back, she needed her husband. It had been different this time. It was all different. He had been gone a lot longer, she was missing him like mad. He’s barely called, but then that wasn’t all that unusual. Although this time she had one extra kid living in the house. Sunny pretty much kept herself to herself, she was easy enough to handle, just a little hard to get through to. Ringo was out more often, he’d always be at the Gym or at footie practice. As for Zeke, well, he was hardly ever at home, or anywhere else for that matter. She didn’t know where he was or what he was up too. No one else did either. She often worried about him, pretty much ever since he came home. These days it seemed like there was hardly ever a moment when she wasn’t worried about something or someone. It was now she realised just how much she relied on Karl. When he was there. He was always distanced for a few days after he arrived home. Jet lag mainly, but she knew there were other things as well. Things they didn’t often discuss, for various reasons.
She really did miss Karl, truly, she did. But a tiny part of her, doesn’t want him to come home, wants him to stay in London, doesn’t care much about whether he gets home or when he gets back. She sighed again as she thought about this. She couldn’t help it, she thought it as resentment. Resentment that he was never here when she felt she needed him. And then of course, undeniably, there was still that little bit of resentment against, (as he called it) his other family. It wasn’t as big a deal as it had previously been, but still, it was always there, hidden away at the back of her mind. However this time Karl was not only going over to visit Izzy and Holly, but Rachel too. And that helped ease the pain a little.
Then another roar of thunder hollows and little droplets of rain begin to trickle down the windows.
For a moment she laid aside her train of thought and just sat watching the rain gradually cascading down the misted pains of glass.
Then another flash of light lit up the sky and reawakened her previous thoughts.
Rachel. She missed Rachel, she had grown up so fast she’d thought. Thinking back to several years ago when she first walked into her life. Her, Zeke and Alex…and then Katya of course. She gave a faint smile as she reminisced. Without consciously thinking it, she was rather pleased to be distracted by the memories of those days now passed. It kept her mind from wandering back to Karl and the kids for a while. It was a diversion in her mind.
The rain got heavier as the heavens opened. The wind picked up and…there was an abrupt knocking at the door. This startled Susan as her mind snapped back to the present. She got up from the couch and went to open it.
He walked on in, trawling his case behind him.
‘How was the flight?’
‘Was it delayed?’ she questioned sympathetically.
‘Ah no, no I just booked a later flight.’
‘How are the kids?’ he asked.
‘Um, they’re alright. Sunny’s finally starting to fit in.’
‘Good. What about you?’
‘Yeah, you know, I’m pretty good.’
She shied away a little.
Karl picked up on this.
‘I’m rather tired, I mean I got some sleep on the plane, but…if you don’t mind I think I’m going to head to bed.’
Karl dumped his bags and wandered off to the bedroom.
Moments after Susan followed.
Minutes later and the two of them are tucked up in their bed.
Suddenly out of nowhere Karl asks, ‘What’s wrong?’
Susan is a little taken aback, expecting him to have drifted off, his eyes closed. But his eyes were still open, asking her with sincerity.
‘Nothing. Why?’ she quibbles as she wraps herself tighter in the sheets.
He turns to face her, not quite assured.
‘Susan, something’s up.’ He insists.
She sighs reluctantly.
‘I’ve missed you.’ She utters, turning over to meet his gaze.
‘And I you.’
‘Yeah, but I’ve really missed you.’
‘I’m here now.’ he ushers, placing his arm around her in reassurance.
‘Truth is I’ve not been coping.’ She relents. ‘You were gone, Ringo’s been having a hard time of it, Zeke’s hardly ever at home and Sunny’s just…been Sunny, I guess.’
Karl looks sympathetically towards her.
‘I’m sorry. I’m sorry for leaving you for so long. And for not telling you about the later flight. But like I said, I’m here now, and I’m not gong anywhere in a hurry.’
Susan let’s glimpse of a little smile.
‘Thank you, for coming home to me. Even if it was slightly longer than I anticipated.’
Then Karl proceeded to snuggle his nose into hers and drew her ever closer to his being. The loosening of the tightly wound sheets around Susan’s body then followed. He was here now, she knew that. He was here for her, with her, and more importantly, she was there with him. And it was then that she thought to herself, softly muttering the words…
Hold me close, never let me go.
It was only now that she truly realised, she couldn’t hold Karl back from visiting his, their other family in London, but for now she could hold him here, close to her in their embrace.