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Silas stood rigidly at the foot of this father’s bed. “Yes?” Silas asked stiffly. His father greeted him with a cool sweep of his eyes. There was no friendly acknowledgment of any sort of warm, fatherly smile. “I was waiting for your arrival, Silas, and I have to say, I’ve been waiting quite a while. Too long, almost. Surely you didn’t encounter any problems? Or was a simple request to much for you?” His father spoke with a mocking tone in his voice. It was hardly a request, more like an order, or a command, thought Silas bitterly. “Well, what do you have to say for yourself, boy?” His father barked.
Silas looked at his ratty shoes, old, brown and leather. He didn’t answer. His father’s lipped curled. “I have successfully secured a spot for you at a pristine boarding school. I expect you shall be proficient. You’re train leaves tomorrow at noon. I suggest you start packing.” Stunned was an understatement to describe Silas’ feelings. More like horrified, stricken or appalled. Wordlessly Silas nodded, digging his right heel into his left toe. “You are dismissed.”
Forcing himself not to run out the his father’s bedchamber, he walked robotically down the hall, to his bedroom, a small, one windowed room with white walls, white bed sheets, a white pillow case and a dull, dark scuffed up floor. Throwing himself onto his bed, he burst into sobs, chest clenching, headache making sobs. He pounded his pillow, wanting to be anywhere but here. Silas’ room was very sparse. On one wall, in the corner, a diminutive bureau held Silas’ limited belongings. It held three shelves, though he probably didn’t need that many. All he had was two ill- fitting, baggy gray shirts and three pairs of sweatpants. A few pairs of sock, some underwear and a few measly shillings pretty much covered his first drawer.
The second contained his two most precious possessions. The first was a yellowed and fading portrait of his mother. It was made of cloth, like a small tapestry, and her face was sewn with countless colors of thread, her blouse sewn with a dainty pink. Though in poor condition when Silas first got it (as it was curled at the edges and torn), he had managed to flatten it out by pressing down with his palms on it for three hours, and had sewn it where it had been torn. Though most boys in his classroom thought Silas was one of the most girly boys that had ever met because he knew how to sew, Silas found it useful for patching up his clothes. Indeed his father felt no doubt disgraced, but Silas thought better of it then to remind him that he wouldn’t have to sew if his father actually bought him fitting clothing. But it did not matter. Silas also did not mind that the boys teased him. He knew it was indeed unusual for a boy to sew, but felt almost proud that he could do something the other boys could not.
The second possession was that of a small bear, falling apart with very little stuffing. Apparently, or so he had been told, it was a gift from his mother on his 3rd birthday. His name was Edward, and he was Silas’ best friend. Sniffling a little bit, Silas peered fondly at the second drawer, where he knew Edward was sitting, snuggled up in one of his sweatpants. Sitting up in the bed, he walked over to the bureau and slid open the second drawer. His very heart swelled with admiration when he saw Edward, so worn but so happy and courageous, all the time. He felt ashamed and angry that he let his father run him down. After all, it had been what? One conversation? Was that all it took to make Silas back down and stumble?
Taking Edward out the sweatpants, he tucked him under his arm and returned to his dreary bed. Tucking his beloved bear in beside him, he fell asleep. He had dreams about his mother finding him, and that his father went away forever. He dreamt would have a room all to himself. Of course, every now and then, Edward would come over to Silas’ room, and hop into bed. Every day he and his mother would do something new, like go take a walk that his mother and he moved into the biggest house in the world, where Edward his teddy bear into the park or see a movie in the theaters. He even imagined they went fishing together, and even though he well knew that it was custom for father and son to go fishing, but they would go fishing none the less.
Comforted by these happy thoughts, Silas slept for a long while. He finally woke up with a jolt that brought him back to earth with an unpleasant thump. Looking around in alarm, he hurried downstairs to check the clock. Looking up at the white clock hanging on the wall, he was relieved to see it was only 7:00 in the morning. He still had plenty of time, but he should best start packing right away. It took a matter of minutes for him to fold everything neatly into a miniature carpet bag, which he’d found under the staircase. Leaving the bag beside by his bedroom door, he sat nervously on his bed, hugging Edward tightly in his arm.
It was a very nerve racking period of time, waiting more than ten hours to go somewhere he didn’t even look forward to. Silas was so nervous all he had was a small apple for breakfast. Knowing he’d regret it later, he checked the time again. Finally, time came to read 1:45 in the afternoon, and Silas was very relieved to go. Fitting some big socks onto his feet, he safely zipped Edward into the carpet bag and carried his bag downstairs. He waited in the parlor, which was anything but humble. It gave an appearance of great wealth and power, which was what Silas’ father had had in mind. Waiting in the cold room, he fiddled with his old shoes and tried to be patient.
The parlor was the front room which guests would come in to visit with Sir Trenton, Silas’ father. Near the impressive mahogany doorway was a solid silver cup made for guests to put their business cards in so Sir Trenton could see if he wanted to meet them, and how much money the company made. Holding the cup was a somewhat gruesome looking human statue, bowing down, who was clearly suffering and in sorrow.
This was a slave, something that Trenton supported very much. It gave the house a distinct feeling of prejudice and judgment in not the least positive way. It was something Silas hated more than anything about his father. Because of the way Sir Trenton acted all the time around his only son, Silas heartily believed his father had just a cold rock for a heart. By the time his father had made it downstairs, it was 1:55, and it took at least 1o minutes to drive to the train station.
“You made us- me- late!” He spat at Silas. He strode out the door with Silas at his heels. Soon they had made it to Trenton’s automobile. “Get in! Hurry up!” he said angrily, throwing Silas’ carpet bag in the back seat with Silas. Silas winced, remembering Edward in there and hoping he was okay. Sir Trenton stuck the key into the car and it roared to life, making small Silas jump. The car produced a large stream of ugly black smoke that trailed off into the air, disappearing into the clouds. Silas wondered what happened to the smoke that went high into the sky. Maybe it would turn the clouds black and yucky.
They arrived at the train station at 12:02, partly because Silas’ father drove so fast and partly because it was a Sunday, and there weren’t many carriages or wagons or cars around. They ran into the train station and wildly looked around for Silas’ train. “We’re looking for Regan Boarding School!” Trenton shouted at Silas. Suddenly, a loud whistle and a burst of white smoke came out from a train, and it started to pull away. It caught Silas’ attention and he looked at its destination. The crudely scribbled sign read:
Regan All Boys Boarding School. Departure: 12:00
“Father, the train just left! I mean, it’s leaving!” Silas cried desperately to his father, who was walking away. “This is not my problem,” he said without turning, “I said I would take you to the train station, and so I did. Don’t you dare mess up at that boarding school, Silas. I don’t want you to show up on my doorstep.” And with that, Silas’ father left.
Feeling like he was going to cry, Silas looked at the train leaving. Running to the ticket seller standing in a wooden booth not far away, he cried, “Sir, sir! Please stop the train, sir! I need to be on that train! Can you stop it, sir?” Silas knew very well that he could of course; he had all the controls within fingers reach. The ticket man looked kindly at Silas. “Course I can, sonny.” He turned away and pulled a red lever, and the leaving train screeched to a stop. “Thank you, thank you, sir! And here’s my ticket, sir!” Silas held out a crisp ticket, and the operator took it with a smile. “You have fun at boarding school, you hear?” Called the man, winking at Silas and giving him a thumbs up.
Silas waved and beamed at him, running up to the train. As he sat on the cushioned seat, he recalled the man’s kind words. More kind words he had said in a minute to him than Silas ever got with his father in all of his nine years with him.