The End Of The Rainbow – Episode 08

The outside door banged.“Your faither,” Mirren whispered, her face blanching.By the time she and Adam got into the other room, Thomas Gray had already started berating Kirsty, demanding an explanation and then denying his daughter the chance to give one.Kirsty was in a corner, crying, while her father shouted angrily. When he saw Adam it only seemed to make him worse.“You!” he ground out, his face pallid with anger. “I telt ye never to set foot in this hoose again! See what ye’ve started? Yer sister thinks she’s above daein’ an honest day’s work, just like you.”Mirren laid a pacifying hand on her husband’s arm.“Adam just came back for his pictures, Thomas. He knew nothing about this.”He shook away her hand.“That’s as may be. But he gave her a bad example frae the outset.”He pointed an accusing finger at his son.“Ye want somethin’ better than what ye’ve got, so yer mither tells me. Well, ye’ll no’ get it idlin’ away your time wi’ the sons o’ gentlemen. Ye’re no’ the first tae want somethin’ better. D’ye think I’m content workin’ in a foundry, where every day’s like a day standin’ at the gates o’ Hell? Aye, when I was young an’ fu’ o’ ideas I wanted somethin’ better. But I ken better noo. Hard work pits bread on the table, nothin’ else. And, if ye have an ounce o’ sense, ye ken your place . . . and stay there!”Mirren was crying. Adam felt the sour taste of rage rising in his throat as he searched for the reply that wouldn’t be permitted. Thomas Gray pushed past him, threw himself into the fireside chair and turned away from his assembled family. For an instant, Adam saw his father as if for the first time a man made thin by intense heat, a man of little more than forty with gnarled hands and grey-streaked hair. The sight rendered him silent, and into the silence Kirsty spoke, her voice suddenly calm.“Nobody needs to shout. I’ve found work already. Well, work that’ll see me right till I get a new situation.”Mirren and Adam stared at her in something approaching horror. Surely Kirsty wasn’t about to confront her father with the news that she intended being an artist’s model? “I’m getting a domestic job up the town. The pay’s fine, and I’ll be home every night. It’s just for a wee while, till I get a good situation.” The white lie tripped easily from her tongue. “And it wisnae my fault!”Without waiting for a reply, she flounced off into the back room.Walking home, clutching his precious portfolio, Adam couldn’t help smiling at the memory of his spirited little sister having the last word in yet another family quarrel. But his face grew serious again at the thought of his father. He had always been a good parent, a loving husband, a hard-working and willing provider for the family. Never talkative or demonstrative, he had yet cared for them all, loving them in his own fashion.Adam sighed as he thought of the angry stranger who seemed to have taken his father’s place these days. Pausing for a moment in the dark street, he recalled his words.“Ye’re no’ the first tae want somethin’ better.”And, suddenly, Adam realised that his father’s bitterness and rage was born of disappointment for chances missed, for dreams that had died . . .“I’ll make it up to him, to all of them. Some day.”As he walked on, his head bent against a rising wind, he spoke the words aloud, as if to confirm his promise.


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