Chapter 1 A Couple of Surprises

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I dab at my eyes with an already damp tissue as I look at my father being lowered into his final resting place. It's a double-edged sword. I'm sad that he's gone, but know that he's in a better place because of the pain that I witnessed him go through for the last two years as I cared for him. When they finish lowering him in the ground, the minister says a final prayer and it's time to leave. The ride back to the house is made alone and in silence because there is no one there to share the limo with me. My mother left us six months after I was born. I never heard from her and never had a desire to find her.

I have the driver stop by the church on the way, so I can get the final paperwork. The minister is surprised that I want it handled so soon, but I want to get it over with as soon as possible. When I come out of the office, there are still a few people milling around the sanctuary. I smile and thank them as they offer their condolences. I walk down the middle isle towards the door when I run into him.

He looks the same as he did the last time I saw him seven years ago. There are minor changes, like the suit he is wearing. When I knew him, he wouldn't touch one with a ten foot pole. He wore jeans and a shirt to church every Sunday. I look at his handsome face and into his eyes and see the same hazel eyes with green flecks gazing back at me. My heart does a twist as I look at him. All of the old questions resurface -- 'Where did he go?' 'Why did he go?' 'Why did he never contact me?'-- As those questions start to rise, my back straightens and without a word, I walk around him and out to the waiting limo.

When I get home, people are milling around eating and visiting. I walk towards my room saying "hello" and "thank you" to people along the way. I walk into my room and my son is sitting on my bed waiting for me. I close the door behind me, put my things down and sit beside him, putting my arms around him. "What's up honey? Are you okay?" He hugs me back saying, "I just wanted to make sure that you are fine mom. Mrs. Miller said that now that grandpa is gone, I'm the man of the house and I have to take care of you."

That stuck up snob was probably trying to pump my son for information. "I'm fine honey. How about you? I know you and grandpa were close."

"I'm fine mom. Grandpa and I had a talk a little while ago. He told me that I don't need to cry because he's dying. He said that we have known it long enough and are prepared for it. When I say goodbye, just do it and move on." That sounded just like my dad. I give him a squeeze.

"That's good. What else did Mrs. Miller say to you?" "She kept asking me what we were going to do since grandpa is gone now. Don't worry mom, I didn't say anything to her. I didn't tell anyone our secret." He hugs me tighter. My little man is an awesome one. "I'm proud of you honey. Are you excited about our plan?" I whisper in his ear. He seems to get the drift, "I am mom." He whispers. "I'm ready to leave just as much as you are."

I smile at him. As he looks up at me, I'm reminded just how much he looks like his father. I pull back and stand up, taking off my jacket. "Let's get out there so that we can get this over with, okay." He nods his head and grabs my hand. I open the door to find Mrs. Miller standing outside of it. She looks up in surprise at having been caught trying to snoop.

"I...I was just trying to find the bathroom." The nosy ninny offered up weakly.

"You passed it when you came down this hall." I say dryly, while closing my door and locking it, then leading her back up the hall to the door that has a large sign that says 'bathroom' on it. She 'hems and haws' while saying thank you and walking in the door closing it behind her. I look down at my son and we share a smile while walking back into the living area.

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