Today’s Stream of Consciousness post is brought to you by the prompt of ‘long’. It’s a long holiday weekend here, but that’s not what I’m going to write about. Of course not. I’ve got fiction on my brain(which shouldn’t come as a surprise to any of you who have stopped by here before). So, this will actually be referencing something that’s about to happen in Shed Some Light(I may have shared some from Carlos & Tereza’s story before). This part won’t likely end up in the actual story, though. But, Toby’s story will be in the works once I finish Shed Some Light.
Toby knocked on the door but didn’t wait for an answer before he stepped inside. The woman at the sink didn’t turn to look at him, so he walked right over and wrapped his arm around her waist, kissing the top of her head. “How are you, mama?”
She turned toward him and smiled, but he could see the worry lurking in her eyes. “I’m fine now,” she said. “You’re here.”
It was her standard response, and he got it. He had a job that could be dangerous, and after all the grief he’d caused her growing up, she still worried about him all the time. “You know I’ve spent most of this week sitting at my desk. It’s not all chasing down bad guys.”
She let out a little laugh and leaned into him. “I’ll still worry. It’s my job.”
But, she hadn’t always done so well at her job. And just as she’d started getting things back on track, he’d started getting into trouble. And if what Tereza had told him earlier was true, she’d once completely abandoned her job. “I wanted to talk to you about something,” he said, taking a step back.
She must have sensed something in his voice because she tensed at that. “Take your shoes off if you’re staying. I taught you better than that.”
Oh, yes, the rules. What she clung to when she was afraid she was losing her grip on control. “You also taught me not to lie, Mama,” he said as he toes off his shoes. “But, you’ve been doing that for a long time, haven’t you.”
She’d been putting some cookies on a plate, but her hand froze at that. He could see it tremble as she went to put the lid back on the cookie jar. The last twenty years it had been full of at least one kind of cookie or another. “I don’t know what you mean by that, Tobias. It is an awful accusation to make, though.”
He hadn’t wanted to. He hadn’t wanted to believe Tereza. But, she wasn’t one to lie. And the picture she’d had in her wallet looked just like his mother would have thirty years ago. Still, it wasn’t easy to say the words. Finally, he went with, “You always told me I’m the oldest, but that’s not true, is it?”
“What are you talking about?” she asked, a little too lightly. She apparently forgot that he interrogated criminals for a living. He knew the signs when someone was lying. “Your brother and sister should be getting home from school soon.”
His half brother and sister from the only good man his mother had probably ever known. And he’d left them, too. Not by his own choice. The man who had wanted the bit of money he carried and his watch had taken care of that. Toby had been a rookie patrol officer at the time. But, he’d known then where he wanted to go in the department.
He wet his dry lips with the iced tea his mother put in front of him before looking up at her again. He’d been afraid his stepfather’s death would send her into a spiral again, but she’d been stronger after several stints in rehab. Thank God. “I’m talking about Tereza,” he finally said. “I’m talking about my older sister.”
Well…I didn’t even know that bit about Toby’s stepdad, or his half-siblings, until I wrote this. Will have to remember when I start writing out his back story.