Fandom: The Calcium Kid
Characters: Jimmy, Clive
Prompt: 96. Letters
Word Count: 781
Summary: There are some letters you don't need to send.
Author's Notes: Originally posted for the theatrical_muse community.
"What is so important you had to come and talk to me about? Thought we had an arrangement."
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Jimmy has this letter in his mind.
He's had it for a while, since he was seventeen. He'd've had it at sixteen, but that was too rough a year, much too rough. He didn't want to think about his father or how much he desperately missed him; he just wanted to get lost in sex and depression and teenaged angst. Thinking about his dad in the nick, not wanting to talk to Jimmy, not wanting to see Jimmy or hug Jimmy or--
So Jimmy's had this letter. He knows it by heart, had it memorized and solidified early. He could recite it now, really, if you ever asked. It's not too long to have you waiting for it, but not too short to be trivial. You can't really be trivial with family. It's degrading.
(You know his dad used to be in Parliament? Yeah, used to work for Lambeth's representative, actually. It's not a very forgiving job, politics, not at all. Jimmy knows that now; knows it better with more years under his eyes than he knew it with less.)
The first thing Jimmy did when he had finally decided to think about his dad was to write everything down he could remember. Everything he hadn't thrown away or forgotten on purpose, and there wasn't much of it. He'd tried remembering smiles and good times and he wasn't writing fast enough to capture all his thoughts. All the things his dad told him, the dates to remember, the advice, the ways of life; how to cook up kippers and paint a wall and say hullo to someone frowning and play rugby and -- and then suddenly -- he hit a blank. It was as if he'd been flung from a carousel that had kept spinning, that was going too fast for him to make out anything other than a whirl of sound and lights and blur. And it wasn't enough. It wasn't enough, what he'd written, not nearly enough. And there he was, this great pathetic blubbering mass of seventeen year-old boy, trying so hard to think of what he was supposed to do about closed doors and crying over the fact he couldn't have his dad come home so he could ask him.
He did a good job, Jimmy's dad. He did the bloody best he could and he did a good job. Jimmy may not've had cordon bleu for dinner, but he was always full when he went to sleep. He might not've had enough time to play with Jimmy each week-end, but he'd let Jimmy sit in his lap or lie on the couch next to him and tell him about his day at school, his day with Mum, his thoughts about how aeroplanes flew and why trees needed to be seeds as babies instead of little trees and even if his dad fell asleep, he had still been listening the whole time. He'd take Jimmy to the pub with him, but make sure no one teased him or roughed him up or let Stan get him into trouble. Every question, every problem Jimmy had, had an answer or a place to go find one, and when Jimmy's mum forgot to say good morning or to pack him a lunch or to tuck him in, Jimmy's dad would do it for her.
(Jimmy still can't really blame his dad for what he did. Mum loved them, Jimmy knew, but she... she had a hard time showing it. Most of the time, really. Mum wasn't the person who taught Jimmy loyalty or composure or affection.)
He's never sent the letter, or written it out. Jimmy figures he'd rather live it. His dad always placed more merit in the things a person does rather than the things they say, and so he's adopted much of the same idea, mostly. So he lives it, every day. Dear Dad, when he swallows his pride and pulls the light blue, misspelled shirt over his head, Dear Dad when he counts out the pints he needs to deliver to each house, Dear Dad when he makes sure Stan doesn't fall in the street when he's arse-faced. Thank you for everything, when he tries to learn Paddy's reel, I've tried to keep what you've taught me when he's running behind his float, I promise not to forget when he's steeling himself to break a board for a classroom of students. Stay safe and strong when he's looking at Pete Wright in that corridor under those lights, in that ring and knowing something needs to happen.
Love, your son when he looks at the only picture he has of his dad that rests on his bedside before clicking off the light and falling asleep.