The streams of rain on the window mirrored his expression as moisture of his own slid down the curves of his face. Ashamed of his visible weakness, he wiped away all remnants of his tears. Walking over to his favourite old rocking chair, he slowly lowered his aching body into its cradling comfort. Creaking back and forth, he began to hum his favourite hymn, “Amazing Grace”.
“Good morning Mr. Bramdon! How are you doing this morning?” Maria cheerfully asked, entering the room with an armful of books.
“To be honest, I’m feeling quite old, dear.” He answered, pulling at the wrinkled skin on his hand. “And yourself?”
Setting the books on the ground and placing a chair facing him, she took a seat.
“I’m doing just fine.” She answered, studying him. “You know what I think Brammy?” she asked.
“What’s that sweetheart?” he responded, smiling at the endearing nickname.
“I think you’re not being honest.”
“What’s that dear?” he said, furrowing his brow.
“I said you’re not being honest. I mean, you’re not lying. Clearly not. You wouldn’t dare. But I believe you are avoiding the question. Therefore, let me reiterate it for you.” Clearing her throat as if to embark on an important speech, she continued. “No lies this time. How are you doing?”
“What would you know? You’re just a volunteer.” He defended, trying to make light of the situation.
“Just a volunteer? JUST a volunteer?” Trying to sound outraged, while hiding her smirk, she continued on. “Is that all I am to you sir? A volunteer you think you can lie to and get away with it? Well I have news for you. This volunteer in particular cares about you. Therefore, I care when you are hurting. And you are hurting now.”
“Maria! I am not hurting.” He said, trying to convince her.
“Oh really?” she said, rising from her chair, acting the irate lawyer. “Then you weren’t crying before I arrived?” With a brief pause, she continued her interrogation. “And you weren’t humming that favourite song of yours, “Amazing Grace” upon my entrance? Because in fact, you only hum when you are feeling melancholy. Which you’re not, because you are clearly, and I quote, ‘fine!’” This final outburst was followed by a long silence. They stared into each others eyes. One withholding information, the other patiently waiting. Finally a voice broke the intense silence.
“How did you know I was crying?” Brammy asked, feeling self-conscious.
“I’m guessing you want me to be honest?” she inquired, lifting an eyebrow.
He chuckled softly. “Of course.”
“Well…were you in the garden earlier this morning?”
“Kind of off topic, but yes, until it started raining.”
“Well my sweet Brammy. I believe you didn’t wash up afterward. You have smudges on your face coupled with artistically placed tear streaks to complete the ensemble.” She took a deep breath. “Now, what’s the matter?”
“I was reflecting on my past. The mistakes I’ve made throughout my life. Mainly abandoning my kids.” His voice began to quiver. “You know, I’ve never even met them? And to this day they refuse to meet me. I don’t blame them either. But then there is you, Maria. I don’t deserve the attention and care you give me. I don’t deserve to be treated nicely when all my life I have only been nice to myself and no one else.” Taking out a Kleenex, Maria passed it to Brammy.
“You know, every day you come to visit me, I pretend that you are my daughter.” He said blushing. “I pretend that I am being given a second chance to be the Father I was meant to be.” He said, losing control and burying his face in the Kleenex. Rising out of her chair, Maria rushed to Brammy’s side, stroking his arm.
“You want to hear a secret sir?” Maria asked, soothing him.
“Why not?” he answered, taking in a shaky breath.
“My full name is Maria Elizabeth Bramdon. After my father of course.” She answered, gazing into her father’s eyes. Pools of moisture immediately flooded forward as he looked at his newfound daughter. His real one, not an imaginary one.
“So you’re not just a senior’s home volunteer?” He asked, disbelief coloring his sea green eyes, he noticed for the first time, a matching pair of eyes looked back.
“Nope! Not just a volunteer.” She answered, as they fell into each other’s long awaiting arms.
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