SHADOW

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CHAPTER 30

JONATHAN PRINCE WOKE up that morning with a cranky feeling in his gut.

He felt exhausted, both mentally and physically, and lay back in bed for a few more minutes trying to clear and sort out the clutter in his mind. As he thought about the harrowing vicissitudes of his life in the last couple of years, he shuddered slightly and sucked in some breath.

A lot had happened lately, and it was eating away at his sanity. It was a sheer wonder that he wasn’t yet suicidal, considering the psychological trauma he himself suffered. Well, he certainly wouldn’t have conceived of his boy being suicidal. Jonathan didn’t see it coming, even though Alan had suddenly become introverted in the months after the tragedy of the accident and fracture in their family.

Maybe he didn’t look hard enough, or failed to see the obvious. Maybe it was his fault; everything that had gone wrong in recent years was his fault. He’d caused everyone so much agony, how was he ever going to make amends?

Jonathan felt sorry for himself then. There was no love left in his life; he was desolate, broken and miserable. He’d already lost two innocent children and lost proper use of his legs; his life was really twisted. His wife had left him, and his only surviving son was lying unconscious with his life hanging by a thin thread.

A cold shudder seized Jonathan’s heart as he thought about Samantha presently. She was gone, and he couldn’t blame her for any decision she’d taken. He pushed her away. Now he had nothing left in his life.

Nothing –

Well, maybe not entirely nothing.

Jonathan got out of bed, grunting quietly as he reached for his crutch beside the bed. He went to the bathroom, had a quick shower, and then to the kitchen, fixed a quick breakfast of fried eggs, toast and a mug of steaming tea.

He was thinking about Samantha all the while, deeply distressed that things had taken such an awry turn and yet hopeful that they could still get back together, when he got that appetizing notion that life might be handing him a second chance at his marriage. And he sensed that perhaps she was probably feeling the same, too.

For instance, the other night when he went to pay her a visit, he noticed the familiar glint in her eyes although it had only lasted but a second. It was a forlorn look which held within it a subtle promise; it was the same way she’d looked at him those many years ago when they first met and fell in love.

Even though so much had been damaged since then, it wasn’t improbable that they could both get back together and rebuild their lives again from ashes. Together. Then it wouldn’t be a total loss; they would have each other again, and they would have their son.

Alan.

Jonathan wondered about him for a moment, frowning with bleak uncertainty. Was there any hope for him, seeing that even the doctors seemed confounded by his present state? Since Jonathan was unable to visit the hospital the previous day, he wondered if there was any new, and possibly, positive development on Alan’s health. In any case, he would find out later that day when he went to check him. Meanwhile, Jonathan decided to call Samantha first to find out how she was doing.

He was quite glad when she answered the phone, but he quickly perceived the despair in her voice.

“What’s it, Sam?” he asked her quietly.

She sighed. “I’ve been thinking about Alan,” she answered warily. “I don’t know what I’ll do if something were to happen to him, Jonathan. I’ve already lost so much; I can’t afford to lose him now. It’ll kill me.”

Jonathan paused, bowed his head and exhaled gravely. “He’ll be fine, Samantha; he’ll pull through. I believe it. Al’ is a tough kid.”

“Yeah,” she sighed softly, suppressing more tears.

“Do you mind if I come over, just to spend some time with you?”

She giggled hesitantly, and then said, “Sure, I’ll need the company before I go out of my mind.”

Jonathan laughed. “I need the company myself.”

“Alright, see you later.”

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