Max’s discussion with his father had not been easy. He resented his father’s calling him irresponsible. OK – it might look like that, Max conceded. He’d left his wife and kid; moved out. But of course that wasn’t the whole story. Of course it wasn’t; and his father should trust him, should know his own son better than that…Max thought of what it was costing him to keep the family home going, paying out to Carol, paying the kid’s school fees. And then to be called “irresponsible” by his own father!
He knew what was really eating the old man, though. If Max had left his family for another woman his dad might have even winked and slapped him on the back. But Max had left because he should never have married in the first place.
He stood at the kitchen sink and looked out into the dusk. It was going to be a cold night; winter was coming. On the windowsill sat a small pot with a crop of African violets amongst velvety dark green leaves. Obviously it had been raised in a hothouse. Max looked at the flowers with a secret smile – his Mona Lisa smile Robin called it – and thought he could see the leaves shiver at the cold seeping through the window-glass. He moved the violets to the top of the fridge where they’d be warmer, reminding himself to put them back in the sunlight tomorrow morning. Max always took good care of things that depended on him – “irresponsible”! It rankled.