The Inklings: Chapter 36

The next afternoon John went for a long walk. He wasn’t going anywhere in particular, he just wanted to get out of the house and do something. John was sick of being on holiday already. He wasn’t used to relaxing – he didn’t know how to enjoy it, and without anything to distract him, his mind kept wandering back to his problem of how to avoid going to gaol.

After a couple of hours of walking John needed a rest so he sat down on a seat in a park and started watching the other people in the park. Some people were sitting on the grass in the sun, others were walking their dogs, some people were conscientiously running laps and there was a group of adults watching their children play on the swings. Amongst all of this, one person caught John’s eye. There was a woman who was walking slowly around in an unpredictable pattern. “Maybe she is walking around to kill the holiday time like me” thought John. “Or maybe she’s thinking about her problems like me.” She was too far away for John to be able to work out the expression on her face so he walked closer, averting his eyes until he was near so it wouldn’t look like he was spying on her. When John got close he looked at the woman and was surprised to find that it was Syafika. He hadn’t recognized her in her hat and sunglasses.

“How are you going?” John asked. Syafika looked a bit confused when she saw him. He decided she must have been deep in thought – probably wondering about what Vincent was thinking.

“I’m ok” said Syafika

“Sorry about last night” said John.

“Don’t worry” replied Syafika. “It wasn’t your fault.”

There was a pause, which Syafika felt uncomfortable with so she added “I had to get out of the house so I wasn’t sitting around waiting for Vincent to return my calls.”

“I had to get out of the house too.” said John. “Otherwise I might have been tempted to put up some Christmas decorations. D’arby warned me to not even think about buying any, so instead I was thinking about making my own, but I know that would still be dangerous.”

Syafika was glad to have a reason to laugh and when she had finished she took the opportunity to ask John about something she’d been meaning to ask for a long time. “Hey, I think I saw you in this park months ago” said Syafika, and she couldn’t help smirking as she remembered. “You rubbed dog pooh into its owner’s hair.”

John stared blankly ahead while sifting through his memory. Eventually he came across a blurry memory of a rainy morning when he’d been feeling particularly angry.

“That sounds like something I would have done” John eventually answered and he made a mental note to add that incident to his list of things he could go to gaol for.

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