Chapter 5. Memories and apologies

“Meet as planned”

Rubin was drunk with excitement. His phone had jumped to life at precisely he one time he couldn’t answer or reply. Sat with 12 overpaid, opinionated executives watching slide 72 of a 134 page deck…for the love of God  he thought, these people could talk. Not a huge amount of listening was done by anyone in the meeting but a lot of talking.

“Usual place”, right, how could there be a usual place after only one meeting was beyond Rubin but he could see the comic value of the situation. He itched to answer the message but seeing as they were strictly banned in the board room and the fact that he had it under a load of paper he would just need to wait.

“So the numbers they say a very different thing to what we are hearing from the sales guys..” his boss Gordon was now well into his stride as he worked his way through the financial part of the meeting. Rubin found himself looking at him and wondering how he managed to control the room, keep the board engaged and to help them to make sense of the numbers. Rubin simply couldn’t understand why people struggled with numbers, to him each set told a story, came to life and implied a very specific outcome. Which these people were incapable of realising. Gordon had way too much patience with them in Rubins mind.

‘Get to the board’, ‘be successful’, was all his class mates had talked about in Uni, yeah right. These so called captains of industry had never impressed Rubin, as he looked around some had deciding not to wear ties,  so as to look cool-clearly. Others, wore incredibly expensive denim with shoes that coast more than he earned in a month. Rubin could not have felt more of an outsider if he tried. It made him chuckle to think of them as the Borg.

Graphs and pivot tables showed up on the screen and Rubin had to explain this part of the presentation. It was pretty easy stuff but he could see that they audience were struggling. If he was being honest he wasn’t overly bothered to dumb down his message, the figures were the figures. A lot of eyes were staring very openly back at Rubin They didn’t seem overly interested -working through his figures. As he moved through is presentation, his eyes were drawn to one of the Execs who had made small frogs out of bits of a paper.  Rubin had not seen that done in years. As he clicked forward in his presentation he was in autopilot, his brain was transfixed by the frog. His mind was in overdrive, transported to things that took place in dark corridors and horrible sounds and the desk of a teacher who made origami frogs. He could vividly remember sounds and tastes that had no place in a board meeting. He shuddered and then jumped when the fire alarm went off.

Rubin hadn’t had those sorts of thoughts as vividly as this in years.

“Do we have a meeting, usual place?”


 

“How the hell are you so stupid” Robin wasn’t one to mince his words.

Trae went cold at his fathers tone. He had only heard this a few times in his life and it never meant that anything good. “OK, look I know it wasn’t a great idea, but you know, we have been careful in the past and nothing like this has ever happened”. Trae knew his only course of action was to try and appease the situation. It was just that his brain didn’t seem to work fast enough to answer an angry Robin.

“What do you mean that you have been careful?”, Trae was seriously on the back foot now and his father had seen the pictures so he knew exactly what had happened. The whole incident had taken place almost a week ago but he had dinner with his Dad once a week, just the two of them and he had dreaded it for well, almost a week. The evening had started well, usual chat about his studies, football, music but then after the food, Robin seemed to need to get things off his chest.

Trae knew this was coming but he honestly didn’t know how to react. Throwing his arms into the air he just stared at his Dad. This was still the biggest strongest man he had ever seen and he scared the life out of him when he was pissed.

“I just don’t understand” Robin looked at his son and shook his head. “Tell me why you do it, this free running”. Taking a long drink of his protein drink Trae looked directly at his father and all he could say was “it challenges me, I get to push myself and do things that others only see on TV and it’s like amazing fun”.

Robin had never seen his son talk like this, his eyes were shining and began to describe how he started with a small group who were jumping over park benches and then gradually got better and better. Before long he had met with a few people who were gymnasts and who introduced him to clean eating, callisthenics and trying to free run over bigger and bigger landscapes. Sure he had a few injuries along the way, Robin had remembered the random limps, black eyes that Trae had sported over the past year or so . They talked for a long time and Robin started to see why Trae was so captured by this world.

Finally, Trae decided that he had to come clean, what had started out as a difficult dinner now became very comfortable, they were sitting in the kitchen looking at the mountain of take out boxes and bags that had arrived with dinner. “Look Dad, something else happened last week, the pictures where we were doing handstands on the roof, well it was an abandoned hospital and they must have had some sort of security cameras”, Trae took a big breath “the bloody cops arrived and took our details, but the thing is they didn’t get mine, we gave different names and addresses”. He stopped, took another breath and waited.

“We need to spend more time together” not the response that Trae was expecting at all. Right now, he needed to sleep and clear his mind, he stood up to clear the plates and the plastic boxes from the counters as Robin shuffled off to the bathroom. What did he mean about spending more time together? What a strange thing to say, and knowing his Dad that could mean anything. In any case he had lectures in the morning.

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