Just another dull day. Same traffic, same smog, same monochrome skyline. The view out of the office window, even twenty floors up, was grey. Except for the little black spots as businessmen and women criss-crossed the streets below, moving to the beat of some inaudible percussion instrument. He sighed. Even after working for years to get to this office it all seemed so temporary, like a borrowed coat, to be shrugged on and off on a whim. Perhaps it was the fact that the décor matched the view.
Ping! Another email. No doubt it was some request for some file hed finished with months ago. He pulled his sleeve up displaying a brand new Rolex; a present to himself for being promoted. Twenty to five. If he had t go to the filing department then hed be cutting it very close. Robert might just eat by himself again and disappear before he arrived. He weighed his options. There was a muffled thump as a pigeon smacked into his window. He jumped. The bird had fallen away and now there were only a few stray feathers twirling madly in the gusty wind. He smiled; perhaps it was a sign he should leave.
The new company car was roomy. He could easily have carried a girls football team without mishap, but it was just him seated on the grey leather. It was silent as a grave; just his breathing as he sped along the motorway. His new cell phone jittered on the dashboard: a text message. He glanced out the rear-view mirror. A police vehicle. The text would have to wait until he was at home then. He refocused on the road.
The automatic lock clicked into place after he shut the car door. He walked to the front door, along the concrete slabs Giselle had put down with Robert before she left. His keys jangled before sliding easily into the lock and turning. There was a click as he shut the door behind him. He frowned, no microwave sounds or cheesy sitcoms assaulted his ears. They were almost starved for sound. He crept up the stairs as though his conscience was pricking him, not daring to disturb the monstrous silence that seemed more at home here than hed ever been.
Robert? he said, it came out unintentionally whispered and he had to clear his throat before repeating himself and knocking. The door swung open with ghostly silence, as if holding its breath. Ping! The computer screen on his sons desk jiggled as it notified him that a new instant message had arrived. He turned away. And there was Robert, prone upon the floor in nothing but his underwear. A piece of paper was taped to his pale chest.
The rhythm of the CPR exercises hed taken after Giselle had read something in the newspaper about suffocating children came back quickly. It was almost surreal to be forcing his palms into Roberts chest while surrounded by the paraphernalia of teenage-hood and the passing references to childhood. Almost like he was seeing Roberts life replayed before him, his own reminiscence for the boy-man figure whose own life was slipping away.
The siren replayed over and over in his ears which had sucked in the sound like a thirsty desert traveller. The waiting room was silent but for the withheld shrieks. Eventually, the doctor returned. Hell be okay. A few days recuperation and he can leave. Lucky for you his heart restarted. Yes, lucky for him, not for Robert who had wanted to die. A shy, sheepish smile sat on his pasty face when he entered the ward. Robert looked disoriented for a moment before an uncertain smile sidled onto his lips. Thanks, Dad, he whispered.