Chapter Thirty-six

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"Time's up." Dr. McNichol smiled.

"It flies by, doesn't it?" Mathew commented as he stood and retrieved his suit coat from the back of the blue chair.

"You're making real progress, Mathew. I'm very proud of you."

"Same time tomorrow?"

"Actually, I think you're ready for a schedule change. Let's try Tuesdays and Thursdays next week. I think you're ready to drop a day."

"So I'm getting promoted?" He joked.

"In a manner of speaking." She walked him to the door.

"I wish I could get Sunny here."

"You can't do it for her. It has to be her decision, remember? You were ready to go to the cemetery. You wanted to be there when Lucien's headstone was placed. You were ready. She's not. She's operating by her own hourglass."

"I know, I know. Do you always have to be right?"

"Not always, but it's good for business." She laughed.

"Have a good weekend." He swung his jacket over his shoulder.

"See you next Tuesday."

They exchanged handshakes and Mathew headed out to his car. The sun was shining and he decided to ride with the windows down. April showers had brought their share of May flowers and the city parks, he observed as he cruised, were alive with greenery, blooms and people enjoying the outdoors.

He felt refreshed. Each time he left a therapy session it was like a rebirth. But unfortunately the feeling was fleeting. Once his car pulled into their garage, those feelings of success and personal achievement withered. Sunny's vacant stare was like a knife, cutting away any new growth he'd experienced within the paneled walls of Dr. McNichol's office.

His subconscious took the wheel and minutes later he was turning into the memorial park, unsure how he got there. The traffic along the paved drive was heavy, with the sunny weather prompting many to visit their lost loved ones. Mathew followed a white Camry to the back of the park, where his baby boy waited.

The area of the cemetery known as Cherubs Garden was deserted. He stepped out of the vehicle and followed the path to a place that had become his home away from home--a concrete bench and a slab of granite on the ground—meager fixtures for the home of a little prince. Taking a seat on the bench, he stared down at the words inscribed on marker. His eyes locked on the date. How could something so perfect and so beautiful begin and end on the same day? A memory slipped inside his head and he recalled the night they'd decided on his name.

"I think you did it. This might be the one."

"It's perfect. Do you like it?"

"I love it. It's not a name I would have thought of on my own. But the meaning and everything...this is it."

"So do we agree? Is this the name we love for our son?"

"Yes, if you're happy with it."

"I think it's meant to be."

Mathew couldn't help but smile, though his eyes were laced with tears. He could see her eyes and the excitement and happiness of that tender moment. The special times they'd shared were countless, but that one particular evening remained high on his list of the best moments in his life. He continued to study the headstone for several minutes, trying again to recreate the feeling he'd had that night at the ranch. He bent down and brushed a few blades of grass off the edge of the monument. Gently, he traced the letters of his son's name, unaware that he was smiling.

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