After thirty years of marriage and waiting and one trip to the Fountain of Youth, Aunt Midnight and Uncle Thomas finally had a boy.
It was a nice moment, when it lasted - the house was quiet, the... older generation were huddled together like they'd never a difference and those of us of the younger generation took turns in holding the new addition to our family.
But quiet doesn't last.
It wasn't long before the twins were wreaking havoc everywhere and Uncle Thomas was chasing them both with a big stick (to scare them, not to actually beat them). It must have been difficult for him - because Midnight had found nothing to bite but his hand when she was going through labour. He took it "like a man" though - put on a clean rag and went about as usual.
When things settled down at night and the twins were put to bed, I found Uncle Thomas in the dining room, pealing of his "bandage" and cleaning the sore wound.
“Annie!” he smiled at me, and then gasped when the bandage caught, “Come t'see an old man suffer?”
I laughed, “That's a horrible thing to say, Uncle Tom.”
He laughed with me and made to get up, “Sit down, I'll get some-”
“No, it's alright, really. I'm fine,” I sat down.
“So, er...” he sat back down and resumed tending to large red bite-mark on his hand, “what's on your mind?”
I looked at the minute grains in the wooden table. Uncle Thomas was the easiest person in the world to talk to. I mean, I could talk to mum, but she worried and jumped to conclusions; and talking to Aunt Midnight was a lot like just listening to her talk. Uncle Thomas... he just knew what to say sometimes.
“I thought you were headin' to Jerusalem,” he said.
“I was going to...” I mumbled.
“Have you changed your mind?”
“I don't... No, I...” I looked at him, “Should I?”
“Annie, ye know I can't answer that. Anymore than I could stop your Aunt from biting me.”
I scoffed, “It just doesn't feel right, you know?”
“Annie, we're not goin' t'be mad because you want to go to your father.”
“But Asa said that my father's a dangerous man and his group has dangerous ideals. And Aunt Midnight doesn't seem to like the Sons of the Sword much.”
“Yes, but what did your Aunt Midnight tell you?”
“And Asa isn't your father, Annie.”
“I know, but... He's always been there for me, provided for me, looked after me. My father... He's only ever seen me once. I'm...”
“Alright, calm down,” Uncle Thomas touched my shoulder, “Asa was only around when he wasn't in Bengal. And he was in Bengal a lot. I was only here when I wasn't at sea. And your father - he's not even allowed to have you. That in mind, he's probably been wishing for last two decades just to see you. And I know wishing isn't enough, but some fathers... We're like that. We get so caught up in the things we do, that we forget about what we've left behind,” he paused, “The people who've really always been there for you, aren't against your wishes, Annie. Georgia might worry, but she's not goin' to stop you. Georgia and Midnight are the only people who can legitimately tell you no, the rest of us...” he shook his head, “we haven't earned the right to.”
“So, I should... talk to mother and Aunt Midnight?”
“Just to warn you, your aunt has a lot of baby juice being pumped to her brain, so she might get a little emotional or angry. Be cautious and don't tell her I said that.”
I laughed, “Thank, Uncle Tom.”
I got up to leave, “Uncle Tom?”
“What will you name the baby?”
“Haven't decided yet.”