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Starting Over

Starting Over

The two men met in the back room of the quiet coffee shop.

The elder arrived first. To the casual observer he would have appeared about seventy, maybe seventy-five years old, wearing a smart blazer that might have been new a decade ago and sporting white hair and an unkempt beard. He ordered a black americano and sat in the quietest spot of the café, waiting for his son to appear. He wasn’t surprised his son was late.

The old man had almost finished his coffee when he heard the café door open and in bound his son, all enthusiasm. Converse trainers supporting jeans and a denim jacket spoke his determination to remain youthful, but the lines in his face put him in his mid-thirties.

The old man sighed as his son ordered a cappuccino and a toasted teacake then changed his mind to a mocha and a muffin.

‘You’re late,’ grumbled the old man.

‘Yeah, sorry, been busy you know. Do you want another coffee? I’ll get it.’

He was half way out of his seat when the old man said ‘no, I don’t want anymore. Caffeine plays havoc with my waterworks.’

‘What do you think of the project?’ said the younger, taking a bite of his muffin.

‘You want my honest opinion? It’s shite, utter ordure, the excrement of a particularly foul animal that dines exclusively on the rotting entrails of long dead skunk, that’s what it is.’

‘I think it’s going well. People are happy, the sun is shining, there’s loads going on. Exciting times, it seems. Don’t they say, “may you live in interesting times” and it sure seems interesting to me.’

‘That simplistic and selfish appraisal of what’s happening is just what I expect from you. I blame myself really. I think it’s because you never settled down, had kids. You’d see things differently then, like I do.’

‘Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard it before, but this is the way things are now. And I don’t see anything wrong with the project at all. In fact, I’m quite enjoying my role in it. Despite my early reservations, remember them?’

‘Yes, I remember, and maybe I should have listened. But to be honest, son, I think you’re only seeing the parts of the project you want to see. You’re not seeing the misery it’s causing elsewhere, the rampant damage, the destruction of habitats…’

‘You’re not going all “Greenpeace” on me are you, dad? You knew there would be changes when the ball was set in motion. You can’t turn back the clock.’

‘Well, actually I can.’ The old man waved his hand in the air and the lights in the café dimmed until the two were sat in total darkness.

‘Oh, dad, you’re not going to say the words, are you? I’m having such fun.’

‘Sorry son, something needs to be done to sort this mess out.’ The old man paused, took a deep breath and then boomed ‘Let there be Light.’

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