To read the story from the start go to: https://the-inkling.com/catch-up-with-the-inklings/
Lately John had been waking in the middle of the night with a sense of dread. During the day John usually managed to feel hopeful about the future, or at least the short term future, but when he was alone in the dark John could only see disasters in the future. He worried that one day a detective would come to the door to arrest him for all the stealing he’d done. John also worried that one day Fanta would realise that she was too good for him. Then there were the worries that John had for everyone because, like D’arby had said, the people making the important decisions in the world didn’t seem to care about the future. John worried because the weather wasn’t right, he was worried because the world was being turned into a rubbish dump, and he was worried because hardly anyone seemed to care about what would happen beyond their next meal, shopping trip, drink or cheap holiday. John worried that he wouldn’t be able to cope with all the loss he could see ahead.
As well as his relatively rational worries John was worried because a familiar feeling had returned and was getting stronger. It was a feeling of incompleteness and longing – a feeling of needing something, but not knowing quite what. It was only when this feeling returned that John realised it had been missing ever since D’arby had given him his special pills. John suspected that it was this feeling that had been the source of all the trouble in his life but he was too frightened to tell anyone about it.
John was in the kitchen when the phone rang on Sunday morning. He was still feeling the dregs of his night time anxiety and so he rushed to answer the phone faster than was necessary.
It was Emily on the phone and she wanted to know when she and Tim could come to visit John. John’s anxiety began to rise. He didn’t want Fanta to ever meet Tim.
“What about tomorrow for lunch?” suggested John.
Fortunately Monday lunch suited Tim and Emily and John was congratulating himself on having picked a time when Fanta would be at work when he noticed that Fanta was looking at him.
“That was Emily. I’m having lunch with her and Tim tomorrow” said John, because he thought Fanta must have been waiting for him to tell her about his phone call.
“Why does your family make you so anxious?” asked Fanta.
John realised that his hands were shaking and started laughing nervously.
“It isn’t healthy, is it?” said John and he paused so he could decide how to answer. He definitely didn’t want to tell Fanta that he was scared that if she met his brother Tim she would think that John was the inferior brother, but John realised that there was another thing about his family that made him anxious and he decided to talk about that instead. “I have disappointed them so many times. I am desperate to have a good relationship with my family but I don’t know how to and I am terrified that I will let them down again. I know that their love is conditional and that I may not always meet the conditions.”
Fanta put her hand on John’s shoulder. She wanted to say something but was too busy trying not to cry. John didn’t need Fanta to say anything though because he really just wanted to feel understood, and he did.
After about a minute Fanta managed to say “I find what you say so sad. And I think it is because I have felt something similar”. Fanta was about to tell John about what had happened to her when she was younger, but the phone rang again. This time it was Syafika and she needed to tell Fanta about what had happened the day before.
John left the room so Fanta could talk to Syafika but even from the kitchen he felt like Fanta was next to him. John looked around the kitchen as he tried to remember what he’d been doing before the phone rang but he couldn’t remember because he was too busy noticing that the connection he was feeling to Fanta had reduced his craving for something more. John wondered if that was a clue to preventing a backward slide into addiction, but realizing that he needed Fanta made John even more scared that he would lose her.