With the sounds of the ward surrounding him like a heavy blanket, Max lay there, unmoving, trying to make sense of the situation. The last thing that he could remember was sitting having a drink in the sunshine. The Klimt exhibition had been a real treat, especially after being stuck all morning listening to his fellow directors panicking about the state of the economy. Dear God, what did they know about recession? They were all far too young to have been working during the last one. If he’d had his way, Max wouldn’t have anyone under 50 on the board of such an influential construction company such as Napier’s. Stupid bastards were more interested in the price of their preferential shares instead of worrying how the company could keep the workforce busy at a time when so many of their potential clients were cancelling jobs left right centre.
After a morning like that, even the hundreds of tourists milling around the Albert Dock hadn’t spoilt Max’s pleasure of being back in Liverpool again. With the sun warming his old bones he felt content as he had sat outside one of the trendy bars that fringed the dock ,sipping a cold beer and watching the cormorants dive into the still water.
‘Max, what are you doing, why don’t you open your eyes?’
It too hard, he thought to himself, it’s easier just to lie here.
‘Come on my love, it’s not your time yet, you’ve got to try and wake up.’
Rosie always made sense, even when times had been tough for them; it was Rosie who pulled them through. Max knew that he hadn’t always been the best father to young John; he should have made more time to be with him when he was growing up but his darling Rosie had made sure that his son knew that everything Max did was for them, for the family.
The first time he saw his beautiful Rosie he knew that she was the only girl he would ever love. With her flame red hair and her porcelain white skin she captured heart in a way that he never believed possible. Their love was complete, enduring, all consuming.
‘Max my love please, please, open you eyes.’
As the sounds of the ward grew fainter, Max started to drift further and further back to a time, an another warm and gentle time, when he could run all day and never feel tired, when his skin would be tanned by the warm summer sun, when life was sweet and his future was a story still to be told.
Running through the forest, Max realised that he was happy to be back; it had been so long since he had felt this carefree. As he ran, he marvelled at the breeze blowing through his sun bleached hair. Glancing down he saw that his feet were bare and even though he was running through last autumn’s dry leaves they felt as soft as if he was running on the finest carpet. He knew that he should get home before it nightfall. His Mother worried about her youngest son if he was away from the farm after dark these days. She kept telling him that it wasn’t safe, but even with all the talk of war Max knew that he had nothing to worry about, not even the Nazi’s would be brave enough to invade Poland, not when his big brothers joined the Army, Marek and Pawel were more than a match for any man. Even so, it didn’t do to upset Matka, she might be probably the tiniest woman in the world, he laughed to himself, but you didn’t want to see her when she was angry, not even his great bear of Father would dare to cross her, in their family her temper was legendary.