Jeff punched the button that booted his computer. He sat back and stared patiently at familiar images gracing the screen. The icon in the corner reminded him it was 2:37 a.m.
“Thought you’d want to see this,” he typed, then sent the e-mail with a photo attachment.
There were e-mail messages aplenty, none he cared to see. He inhaled deeply and deleted the spam, then on to his favorite news site. There was a drought in Oklahoma, a fire in Russia and two more G.I.s were killed in Iraq. The Dow was off 37 points, but he already knew that. He wished he could go back to sleep. But how could he?
“You got mail!” The widget flashed in the tray at the bottom of the screen.
More spam, he thought. He logged back on to his e-mail, intending to consign another pointless message to oblivion.
What’s she doing up? He was genuinely surprised.
“See you can’t sleep either,” the message read. “Big day tomorrow for both of us, huh!? Thanks for the pic. Who caught the fish?’
“Hey Sheryl. Biggest fish Bob ever caught (or Bobby back then.) I think he was ten. His mom fried it that night. He’s changed a lot since then. Guess you noticed.”
“So have you!” There was a smiley face.
“He got bigger, I got grayer.” Another smiley face and Jeff replied to Sheryl.
“Are you sure that’s his BIGGEST catch?” Sheryl’s emoticon was frowning.
“Lot’s of memories,” he typed. Send.
“And lot’s more to come,” Sheryl answered.
“Who taught him about girls?” Sheryl didn’t wait for a reply.
Jeff stopped to think. “Depends on the girl,” he wrote, then changed his mind and erased the text.
“I guess I did. But give his mom some credit. Far as I can tell he’s never kissed a girl in his life.” Send.
“He told you that?” she replied. The smiley face was back.
“What else did you teach him?“ There was another message.
“How to throw a football, to fight off the bullies, how to pray, to walk like a man, how to dance, how to change the oil in the car and how to drive a stick shift.” Send.
“You taught him well. He’ll make a great husband. Can’t believe you taught him to dance!” Jeff read the message with a sense of gratitude. He was glad she felt that way.
“Tomorrow I’ll show you my best steps. May I be second in line? And, Sheryl, when I see you walk that isle in your white dress there will be no one in the church more proud than me,” Jeff stopped to fight back a tear. “Of all the things Bobby has done, marrying you will be his greatest accomplishment.” Send.
“Sorry, Jeff, my father gets second dance. But third in line? You got it. So you’re saying I’m a bigger catch?” Jeff laughed out loud.
“The best,” he wrote. Send.
Jeff waited three minutes for a reply. “So when do I start calling you ‘Dad’?”
“Start now.” Smiley face. Send.
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