Thomas Barrow, Downton Abbey
Title: The Waning Day
This is an epilogue to Another Chance
Warning: Character death
William opened the door into the back garden
When there was no reply, he walked over to his chair under the tree. He stood for a few seconds before taking his glasses from his lap and then gently shaking his shoulder.
His eyes opened and he blinked a few times as if trying to remember where he was.
"Ah, William. I must have dozed off."
"It's such a lovely day that we're going to the coast for a picnic. Do you want to come?"
Thomas squinted at him before shading his eyes from the light.
"Are the children going?"
"No. Charlie and his family are in London, remember? And Clara moved to Canada after she married."
Thomas sat up straighter.
"Of course, of course. What was I thinking. No, I'm going to stay here. You and Jenny go and have a good time."
"Are you sure?"
Thomas took his hand.
"William. I'm old, not helpless. At least not yet."
Jenny appeared in the doorway.
"Are you going to come with us?"
"All right then. I'll leave you some chicken and salad in the refrigerator for your supper."
Thomas looked back to William.
"Do you want to come inside?
"No. As you said it's a nice day. I'll stay here for a while."
As William closed the door behind him, he turned to look back. Jenny came up and slid her arm around his waist.
"I'll ask Rita to look in on him later. He'll be all right."
He put his arm around her shoulder.
"I know, but one of these days he won't be."
Thomas heard the car leave the driveway. That was William for you. Always a worrier. After Charlie died two years ago, he and Jenny wanted him to live with them. They had a large house and there was only the two of them now. At first he didn't want to move. After he left Downton, Charlie and he had been together for almost twenty-five years, living in the same terrace house. Somehow he thought that leaving would be breaking some unspoken promise they had made to one another. But he quickly realised that he couldn't look after the place by himself and that the stairs were more than he could handle.
He had the guest bedroom on the main floor and the den had been turned into a sitting room so he could be alone when he felt like it. He brought their furniture, even their bed, so it still felt like home. He pushed himself out of the chair and steadied himself before walking to the house. God, he missed Charlie. Sometimes in the middle of the night we would roll over in bed and reach out for him, then panic when he wasn't there. Then he would remember and just roll back to his side of the bed.
He opened the door into the house and went to the kitchen. True to her word, Jenny had left his supper. It looked good as always. He decided it was much too early to eat, besides he hadn't had much of an appetite recently. He could tell from his trousers he had lost weight. Maybe that was why William seemed more worried than usual. He went to his bathroom and looked in the mirror. His face was thin, thinner than it ever had been. But he felt good. Minor aches and pains, unsteady at times, but when you're almost eighty-six if that's all that was wrong you were damn lucky.
He went to the sitting room and turned on the radio. There was a television too, but he seldom used it. Television tended to irritate him. Music made things so calm. He sat at the small table by the window and pulled one of the worn photo albums from the bookshelf. Photos over the years of him and Charlie, of William. There were even a few of some of the people from Downton - Jimmy, Alfred, Daisy, Carson scowling in the background. He ran his fingers across each one of Charlie as if by touching them he was still able to touch him. He shook his head and closed the album. Thomas Barrow, you're a sentimental old fool.
He moved to the chesterfield opposite the television. As he sat staring into the distance, he played with a small cross on the chain around his neck. Damn you, Charlie. You told me you would never leave. You fucking promised! He shook his head again. What's wrong with me today? Charlie didn't do it on purpose. One night they were sitting on the chesterfield, this chesterfield, and Charlie leaned his head against Thomas's chest as they listened to the radio. He was there and then he wasn't. It was that simple and that peaceful.
Thomas yawned and leaned back. He was still tired. In the garden he had been dreaming about Charlie. He could only remember part of it. Charlie was standing in the sea waving to him. William had wakened him at that point. He stretched out on the chesterfield, sticking a cushion under his head. Maybe he could finish it now.
~~ End ~~