A father sits with his son in an old abandoned apartment, and as minutes turn to hours, and hours to days, the nightmare they have been facing together finally begins to fade into some semblance of normality…and Joe watches his son…become his son again.
All thanks largely in part, to a man named Max…
The door opens and Max walks in. Smiling first at Joe and Timmy, who can only stare, he then sets down two bags of groceries on the kitchen counter. As he begins to put them away, he breaks the silence. “Cold out there.”
Joe looks out the window. “And somehow pleasantly warm in here. I don’t suppose you’d want to tell me how you manage that?”
“Or how it is that the refrigerator works in a building that no doubt hasn’t seen the flow of electricity since the 1980’s?”
Max changes the subject. “How are you today, Timmy?”
“I’m okay.” He sits up in the bed and begins to move his body slowly, cautiously testing every muscle. “I’m pretty sore, and I don’t really remember much about the last few days.” He looks at his father who is sitting in a chair close to the bed. “Just seeing that face every time I’d open my eyes.”
Dad smiles, still amazed at the transformation he has witnessed in his son, then looks at Max again. “I don’t know who you are, or where you come from…but I want to thank you again, for…” his words trial off, until finally, “…giving me my son back.” He pauses, and the tears begin. “For giving me my life back.”
Max walks over to the two, and sits down on the edge of the bed. He offers each a drink.
Joe takes of sip and continues. “I thought I knew what it meant to find fulfillment.” He looks first at Max, and then turns his attention to his son. “I thought if I could provide for you and your mother, give you the things that you needed – a nice home, clothes, education, but then…when…” This time it’s too much to bear, and the tears come again, as Joe buries his head into the palms of his hands.
“It’s not your fault Dad.” Timmy leans forward and puts his arm around his father. “I ran from the situation. I guess I was searching in the wrong place, too.”
Max stands. “I think both of you could use a little fresh air.” He quickly grabs their jackets.
Joe looks up. “Now?”
Timmy smiles. “I haven’t been outside since my last fix. Maybe some fresh air would help.”
“It’s settled then.” Max says.
After a few moments all three head to the door of the second floor apartment. Max opens it. “After you,” he says. Joe and Timmy start to walk outside. Max stops them. “And you two need to know something…”
They both look at him.
“Whatever’s happened in the past…” He gives them both a look of compassion and concern, adding the ‘patent’ Max smile that only he can give. “…it’s never too late to find…the closure that you need. Look to God…look to each other. Trust.”
They smile back, each one grateful for the God who placed this stranger into their lives. The smile still on their faces, they turn and step out of the apartment doorway, and after one step on the outside hallway, they find themselves on soft ground, surrounded by gravesites and tombstones. They both slowly turn back around towards the apartment door.
The door is gone. The apartment is gone.
Joe and Timmy stare at each other in total disbelief…
Max is featured in my ebook, Whispers, available at the FaithWriters ebook store: