The rest of Dr. Smuyth’s visit was lost on Jacob. From the moment the doctor said, “you know all of that,” Jacob worked to get through it.
When the doctor patted his left shoulder and walked from the room, Jacob took a full breath.
And broke down.
The thoughts flew through his head: He’d wasted the last four years babysitting his father; he threw away his last chance to do the work he loved; he would never be a carpenter again; he’d have to sit back now; he’d sit on the sidelines like a sad fuck while other guys played hockey, ran, or lifted weights; he was almost free of his Lipson Construction albatross NOW he’s incapacitated; how could this happen? While he cried, his mind spewed catastrophe after drama after “my life is over” scenario.
Out of nowhere, he heard Celia’s voice: “Why haven’t you stepped into your wisdom?”
Wiping his face and nose on the sheet, he blew out a breath and cleared his mind. Closing his eyes, he stretched his being. Not quite sure of what he was doing, he remembered Delphie’s childhood instruction — clear your mind of thought, create an open space, breathe, let the images come …
The image of Jill walking across hardwood floors came to his mind. Her naked body was covered with goose bumps and her nipples were erect. The beeswax candle she carried shook side to side with her shivers. The candlelight reflected off the square cut diamond on her left ring finger. Catching his look, and lust for her, she tipped her head sideways and smiled.
“Hey, Molly.” Jacob opened his eyes to his concerned bookkeeper. “Is it eight-thirty?”
“Yes. Are you okay? Should I get the nurse?”
“I’m okay. Thanks,” Jacob said. “There’s something you could do for me.”
Aden Norsen slowed his SUV to the curb at a small bungalow near Old Towne Aurora. Getting out of the driver’s seat, he went to the back hatch for his kids’ backpacks and suitcases.
His children were supposed to spend two months with their mom in the summer. She had reminded him of their legal arrangement just last night. Of course, her “visitation” only happened when she was in town, when she felt like having them, and when whatever else that was more important than her children was over. This year, Nuala wanted their kids today.
Of course, if this visit went the way of every other visit, the kids would get on Nuala’s nerves in a couple of days. She’d “tough it out” for a couple of weeks, and then the phone would ring. Aden would take them home. His home. Their home in Park Hill. Even though he knew this visit would be like all the others, he always hoped things would be different.
“Bye-bye, Daddy,” his ten-year-old daughter, Noelle, said. She hugged him and then took her backpack and suitcase from him. “I’ll call you tonight.”
“Bye, Dad,” his twelve-year-old son, Nash, said. He hugged Aden. “See you tonight?”
“Soccer practice. I’ll be there,” Aden said. He gave Nash his backpack, suitcase, and skateboard. “You’ll …”
Nash smiled a half smile. “I’ll call.”
Noelle was halfway up the driveway when she turned and ran back. She threw her arms around Aden. Too cool to initiate the hug, Nash wrapped himself around Noelle and Aden.
“Love you so very much,” Aden said.
Standing with his arms around his precious babies, he prayed for their safety. Every year, he walked away with a knot in the pit of his stomach. Every year, he brought two silent children home. Every year, he sat with them night after night while they cried their hearts out. Aden let out a breath and let go. The God that brought these beautiful creatures to his life will care for them.
Nash picked up Noelle’s suitcase. Noelle carried Nash’s skateboard, and the children began their walk toward their mother’s front door. As they approached, Nuala opened the door. With a lit cigarette dangling from her lips, and an infant on her hip, Nuala was all class in her stained tank top and no bra. She raised an arm to wave at Aden.
The retelling of Denver Cereal, Volume 1, continues tomorrow…
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