Monday morning David rushed off the
elevator and made a beeline for Jobe's room. From the door he spotted the neatly made
hospital bed with the small brass plate sitting in the center of the pillow. Slowly
walking toward the bed, that overwhelming hurt of losing yet another friend, wrenched at
David's heart. God, I still haven't figured all this out. Why is all this happening?
It's as though the valley is too deep and too dark. I need an answer. All I can do is pray
that Jobe's journey is now with You and that he has found . . .
"Jobe passed on late Sunday night. He asked me to have you put
his name up on the mosaic," Terry said from the adjacent bed. "I never saw him
as happy as Friday the day you baptized him. We read the Bible together and talked about
God all the next day. He died at peace because of you."
"Thank you," said David, picking up the small brass plate and
rubbing his thumb over the engraving of Jobe's name.
"No. Thank you. Nobody could get close to Jobe until you
started coming down here. Sunday morning Jobe apologized to everyone. You gave him a new
life and hope for us all."
Slipping the plate into his shirt pocket, David walked over to Terry's
bed. "Terry, you're such an enlightened individual. Do you think your involvement
with the live theater gives you a broader view on life?"
"I don't know if I'd put it that way. But I do remember when I
played the part of the psychiatrist in the play EXQUUS, the act where the young boy pokes
all the eyes out of the horses in the barn always made me think that . . . " Terry
talked for an hour. Afterwards, David made his rounds on the fourteenth floor, visiting
and taking orders for magazines and other items.
Three hours later, during lunch, David finally reached far inside
himself and summoned the nerve to go down the hall toward the mosaic. He peeled the paper
off the adhesive backing on the small plaque, found a spot amongst the mosaic and placed
Jobe's name. Knowing that there had to be meaning to all this, yet tired of man's
simplistic answers, David simply kneeled down and submitted himself to prayer.
The next day David returned to the hospital. He missed Wednesday but
returned on both Thursday and Friday. The following week he went everyday and on Friday,
just before noon, David remembered this was the day he'd promised Danny that he would
visit. He left early to stop by the day-care and get Marcea's approval. Sister Madeline
led him down the hall to the offices.
Marcea hardly looked up from her desk. While she was trying to think up
an excuse to keep David from coming over, Bill stuck his head in the office. "How
y'all doing, David? Marcea told us you're thinking about studying to be a priest."
"That's right Bill, I have been. There's a lot to think about,
plus I've got to come up with the money for tuition. But, I'm sure things will work
"Yeah, I'm sure it will. It's hard to believe all the changes
we've all had over the year."
"You're right about that. And just look what Marcea has done for
herself, Ann and Danny."
"Oh, that reminds me." Bill was now looking toward Marcea.
"Danny called when you were out to lunch with Tony. He wanted to know if David came
by, could he invite him to dinner. It looks like you two can figure that out. Anyway, I
told Danny I'd give you the message." Bill started back down the hall.
There was an uncomfortable atmosphere in the office. Marcea still had
hardly looked up from the paperwork on her desk.
Bill returned, sticking his head back through the opened office door.
"Oh one last thing, David. The FBI contacted me and said I was free to sell what was
left of my business and equipment. I know you're not interested in it now, but is there
anything you left there you want me to pick up? Me and the misses are headed back for two
weeks to get the loose ends tied up."
"Thanks Bill. There's nothing back there I'm interested in."
"Okay. Let's get together when I get back," Bill said,
leaving for the second time.
"Well, I guess you're invited for dinner," said Marcea in a
monotone voice. "Danny will be thrilled."
"That'd be nice. How about if I come by about five?"
"I hope you don't expect anything fancy. I was just planning
spaghetti." Marcea's tone was now almost unwelcome.
"That sounds good to me," David said as he left.
Marcea now wished that she didn't have the weekend off. She wasn't even
that thrilled about going to the beach with Tony on Sunday. Men! They're more of a
problem than they're worth. She finished up in her office and left for home.
Danny's constant questions grew tiresome, almost annoying. Marcea
dumped canned sauce into a pot of spaghetti. She laid out some white bread on a cookie
sheet, spread butter and sprinkled some garlic powder on top. The phone rang just as she
was putting everything into the oven. It was Ann calling to ask if she could spend the
night at a friends house. Danny left the kitchen while Marcea talked to the girl's mother.
Before David even pulled into a parking spot, Danny had the apartment
door open. David hurried in with a grocery sack, set it on the table, went over to Danny,
picked him up out of his chair and gave him a huge hug. Then they started doing high-fives
and headed down the hall to Danny's room.
Marcea looked in the sack while she was still talking on the phone: On
top of a deli prepared salad lay a bouquet of cut flowers. Next to it stood a bottle of
red wine and a long loaf of French bread. In the bottom of the sack was a cheese cake
covered with fresh strawberries. Marcea didn't know whether to be mad or pleased. She
arranged to pick up Ann in the morning, then after hanging up the phone, tossed out the
white bread and put the French bread in its place in the oven. Finding a vase, she closed
her eyes and smelled the fresh cut flowers. All the time we lived together, David never
brought me flowers. Now there's nothing between us and he does this. I should toss these
flowers, then give him a piece of my mind. But it wouldn't be fair to Danny. I'll
keep my cool.
Marcea got out a tablecloth, two candles and poured herself a glass
of wine. While trying to spice up the spaghetti, David came into the kitchen. "I hope
that it was okay that I picked up a few extra things. You know, meals at the monastery can
get pretty boring."
"Yeah, it's okay. And thanks for the flowers," said Marcea
not even turning from the stove.
"Danny sure is getting to know computers. I appreciate your
letting me come over to see him."
"Well, he had a good teacher," said Marcea, turning around,
taking a drink of wine and almost glaring at David over the top of the glass. "How'd
you lose so much weight?"
"There's a lot that I can't talk about. But I was on the road in a
different city every night, sort of testing different ATM machines and their security
systems. I didn't have anything to do during the days, so I'd stop at athletic clubs and
work out, swim, play racquetball, or whatever just to keep from getting bored."
"Sounds like a great job: Travel, play during the day, and lose
weight all at the same time."
"It wasn't that great; there were some risks. But I think the
biggest help was not coming home and plopping down on the couch in front of the TV with a
six-pack. And now up at the monastery, if I even want a beer, I have to ride this old
ten-speed bike fourteen miles round trip. But I feel great. I don't ever want to put the
weight back on."
"Well, you might put a few pounds back on tonight with the cheese
cake and wine you brought," Marcea said putting the salad on the table. "Why
don't you go tell Danny to wash up for dinner?"
Soon David was pushing Danny to one side of the table to take the chair
across from Marcea. "Do you mind if we say a blessing? I know we never did before,
but it's just a habit I picked up at the monastery."
"Go ahead," said Marcea as she bowed her head.
"Bless this food, oh Lord. We give you thanks and praise. And
thank you for all that you have done for us all over the year. In Jesus name we
"And Jesus, please have David and my mom get back together,"
Danny added to the prayer.
"Amen," replied Marcea and David simultaneously, knowing that
Danny meant well.
Dinner turned out wonderful. The wine took the edge off the tension and
Marcea started telling David the whole story how the convent was going to be sold
and then about how the anonymous donation saved everything. David just listened quietly
while Danny slipped off to his room.
After another glass of wine Marcea got up to serve the cheesecake and
David glanced at the digital clock on the microwave. "It's past nine o'clock. I've
hardly spent any time with Danny."
"Why don't you go see him in his room? I'll make some
"That's a good idea. I'll see if he wants some cheesecake."
David was surprised to see Danny had gotten himself into bed. David went in and knelt down
beside him. "Danny, is everything okay? I'm sorry that I didn't spend more time with
you. Next time we'll . . ."
The coffee had finished brewing. Marcea was putting the remaining
cheesecake in the refrigerator when she noticed there were no computer sounds or laughter
coming from the bedroom. She went to investigate and just outside the door Marcea froze.
She overheard Danny ask. "David, are you and my mom ever going to get back
"Danny, I know you'd like that to happen. But I hurt your mom so
terribly that I could never expect her to forgive me. It was all my fault when those men
came to the house and took her away. That night when I took all of you to the airport, she
tried to tell me how evil they were, but I didn't believe her. I even tried to blame her
for what had happened. It's hard for someone your age to understand, but sometimes you
hurt somebody so bad . . . well that hurt can't be forgotten."
"David, I think my mom forgave you that night we went to that
healing meeting, the night I thought I would be able to walk. But it was mom who got
healed. I could see it in her face. She's the one that got better. She loves you. Don't
you love her?"
Marcea craned her neck, still listening in the hall.
"Danny, I love your mom more than any woman in the whole world. I
didn't realize that when we lived together. But now she has her own life, and a new
"Tony's a jerk! I don't like him. I like you."
"I had my chance with your mother, but I missed seeing how truly
beautiful she is. Now you have to give Tony a chance, just like you gave me."
"But I want you to be my father."
"Danny, I am your godfather and that will never change."
"But what if you find another lady? Will you still come and see
"I'll never find another woman that I could love as much as I love
your mother. That's one of the reasons I'm planning to become a priest. I'll always love
her, just like I will always love you and Ann."
"I don't understand. Priests don't get married, but you love my
"Danny, listen to me. You just have to accept certain things. Some
things aren't meant to be understood. When you get older, you'll figure it out."
"I do understand. You're the one who needs to figure things
David lightly put his hand over Danny's mouth; it was late and
senseless to go on. He then crawled onto the bed and laid next to Danny, wishing there was
some clear-cut explanation to it all.
Danny laid his head on David's shoulder and did not say another word. Dear
Jesus, I don't want to take David from You. I just know how happy he would make my mom. I
never knew my real dad and David treats me normal. Couldn't we share him? Whatever You
decide will be right. I love You, Jesus. Good night."
Once Danny dozed off, David carefully slipped his arm from beneath
Danny's head, turned off the desk light over the computer and slowly pulled the door
closed behind him. He immediately noticing how dark and quiet things seemed in the rest of
Slowly walking into the front room, David's caught sight of Marcea
standing next to the table. The only illumination in the room were the candles still
burning from dinner. She was now wearing a red satin camisole and matching panties which
shimmered in the candlelight. She reached up and one at a time pushed the shoestring
straps off her soft rounded shoulders. The top fell to the ground and she stepped out of
it, hands outstretched. The shape of her body was silhouetted from the two candles shining
behind her. David fell to his knees as she approached, closed his eyes and drew in the
scent of her perfume. While he kissed her stomach his strong hands massaged her firm legs
then slipped up under the back of the satin bottoms.
Marcea rubbed her hands through David's hair as he started moving
upward with his kisses. Her breasts throbbing and wanting, her whole body burned wanting
him. Then, with a burst of strength David stood and gently pushed Marcea back. Leaving one
hand on her bare shoulders he lifted her chin with the other, looked into her eyes and
said, "Marcea, I can't."
Marcea pulled herself against David and whispered, "David, just
stay this one night."
The smell of her perfume became more intoxicating, her hair so soft and
smooth, and her bare skin so warm. David gently pushed her back, looked into her eyes,
then bent over and put his mouth on hers. They kissed with a passion neither had known
before. Marcea unbuttoned David's shirt, pulled it open and rubbed her hands through the
hair and over his muscular chest. She worked the shirt over his shoulders and off. They
were now flesh against flesh.
David's reached down behind Marcea and with one mighty lift she was up
in his arms. She laid her head on his shoulder and could feel one flexed biceps against
her side and the other under her legs. David carried her down the hallway, quietly shut
the door with his foot and laid her on the bed. Their mouths found each other again and
passion now boiled into ecstasy. Both were beyond the point of stopping.
Marcea started to kiss David's firm flat stomach while pulling out his
belt. David's arched his back when she started to unbutton his pants.
Then the phone rang!
"Let it ring," said Marcea as she continued unbuttoning.
After the phone rang four times, the answering machine on the night
stand picked up and they could hear the call. "Marcea, this is Tony. I thought you
told me you'd be home tonight. Anyway, I'm calling to let you know how much I'm looking
forward to Sunday and the special dessert you promised the rain check on. I thought I
could fly us to my beach house to enjoy it. I can't wait to see you in a bathing suit. Oh
by the way, the deal I was putting together is a go . . . "
David put his hands on Marcea shoulders and gently pushed her back,
without saying a word he walked out of the bedroom. Marcea sprang from the bed and
snatched her robe on her way out of the bedroom. David grabbed his shirt and his hand was
on the front doorknob. She walked over to him and wrapped her arms around his waist.
"Please don't go. Stay tonight. All the times we were together doesn't add up to how
I feel about you right now."
David put his hands on both sides of her head and kissed her on the
forehead. "Marcea, I know I'm nobody to talk, it's not fair to you and it's not
right, not in God's eyes." David opened the door and left.
Sunday morning David helped get things ready before church, then took
his normal position in the front pew. He only heard a few words of Monsignor Grant's
sermon. But Marcea's words were still replaying in his mind. Even the scent of her perfume
was still floating in his memory. David went through the motions of the mass, then sat
alone in the pew while everyone left. The last thirty-six hours had been torture
the image of Marcea and the touch of her bare skin. All he wanted was her. I've come
too far to do just what I want. God, give me the strength to avoid this temptation. It's
so difficult. But I now know that it is . . .
"David, we need to talk," whispered a voice from behind
and to the side of him.
He looked back to make sure he wasn't dreaming. "Marcea, what are
you doing here? Aren't you supposed to be at the beach?"
"I broke my date," said, Marcea moving forward next to the
pew. "David, you need to know that long ago I forgive you for everything wrong that
ever happened between us."
"Marcea, forgiveness is asking too much. I saw the tape of what
those men did to you. I was wrong not to have believed you that night. And finally I
realize that it was selfish to have asked you to move in with me; all I did was take
advantage of the situation you were in at the time."
"Our living together was a two-way street. I had other options.
You're not the only one to blame there."
"Marcea, I'm not blaming either of us about that. Those were the
best years of my life. But now we both lead different lives; it's better that we go our
Marcea slipped into the pew. "That's true, we might be leading
different lives but we're not different people. I still feel the same way toward you as
that first time you asked me out for a cup of coffee when I was working at the club.
Nothing has changed. Let's try to start over."
"It's not that easy. That tape. . . when Mr. Henderson and Kirk
were forcing you to tell them about me." David swallowed and looked away. "I saw
the look on your face when they threatened harm to Danny and Ann. I will never forgive
myself for that. That time stopping-look of fear haunts me every time I see you."
Marcea sat down next to David and took his hand. "Listen to me.
You need to go to a healing service. You have to forgive yourself. The night I attended
one is the night I accepted that I was part of the sin. It was only after finding out that
God loved me so much, and accepting his forgiveness, that I was able to forgive you."
David turned back and stared at Marcea. Her sincere words only made him
want her more. Her beauty was more apparent now than ever. He wanted to reach out, to hold
her, to be part of her and share his soul with her.
Marcea motioned with her free hand, then continued. "It's just
like Christ up there on the cross. We betrayed Him. Almost everyone turned on Him, and yet
his last words were 'Forgive them for they know not what they do.' Also, you have to look
at the words in the Lord's Prayer: 'Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who
trespass against us.' Total forgiveness only comes out of true love."
"Marcea, maybe you should have given the sermon today," It
was Monsignor Grant. He put one hand on her shoulder and apologized. "I didn't mean
to listen, just heard your last few words when I walked up. Anyway, David, we'll have to
skip our brunch this morning. I have a noon meeting and need to get going. But why don't
you and Marcea go to brunch? Maybe she could drop you back at the monastery?"
"I'd gladly give you a ride," volunteered Marcea.
"Thank you," replied Monsignor Grant, slowly starting back
down the aisle, then stopping and looking back over his shoulder. "Marcea, you're
absolutely correct, forgiveness comes out of love. If only people concentrated on the
forgiving part more. There'd be a lot more people still in love."
David was frazzled, knowing that he couldn't trust himself alone with
Marcea. And it was too late to say anything to Monsignor Grant. He was already at the back
of the church. Larry the head usher was flipping up kneelers, working himself forward.
"Larry, I was wondering if you and your wife would like to go out to brunch with us
"Sure, let me go check with her," Larry said as he flipped up
the last kneeler.
So Larry, Mandy and their daughter came to David's rescue by joining
him and Marcea for brunch. Marcea and Mandy hit it off right away. Marcea had not met such
a genuine woman close to her own age since leaving Washington. Larry's intellect and
articulate use of words, almost intimidated David. They got into their own conversation
and when Larry started explaining about the grace of celibacy, Marcea couldn't help trying
to tune into the men's discussion.
When Mandy shared about the loss of their youngest daughter, Marcea
shared her own feelings about when Danny was born. They weren't trying to comfort each
other, or to lessen each other's sorrows. Just two women facing the pains of life, like
standing at the foot of a cross. Finally, David finagled a ride with Larry and Mandy back
to the monastery, still wishing to avoid being alone with Marcea.
Over the next five days, no matter how hard he prayed, he couldn't
suppress the deep urges he was having for her. Larry's words about the "grace of
celibacy" reflected even what Paul had once said: "Celibacy should be practiced
by everyone outside of marriage."
David spent even more time at the hospital, which helped occupy his
thoughts and he spent Friday afternoon looking around second hand stores for a used
computer and modem.
Saturday evening he called Danny and after a few software patches they
were on-line, talking computer to computer. Danny was happy they were connected up again,
but really wished David would just come over, especially since they were living so close
now. It was that closeness that had David frightened the temptation of being around
Marcea was hard to overcome.
It was the end of August and for five days the temperature made it over
the one-hundred degrees mark. The sixth day of the heat wave was the hottest and by
evening the temperature had only fallen a few degrees. The air was dead still. Too hot to
sleep, David laid on top the sheets staring at the ceiling with his hands folded behind
his head. I hope Danny accepts my excuses for not coming over. I could tell tonight, by
what he typed over the computer, he wants a better answer. But I've got to keep my
distance from Marcea.
David felt something in the room and turned on his side. The
curtains gently started to dance as a midnight breeze just began to blow. The stillness
outside was coming to life; the temperature was dropping rapidly and the smell of rain
filled the air. Lightening flashed in the distance and he heard raindrops. Getting out of
bed, David pushed the curtains to the side and stood in the now refreshing cool air. The
breeze was quickly building into a strong wind and its force and fury turned the few drops
of rain into a downpour.
David's almost hypnotic trance snapped when a bolt of lightening hit
close by! The brilliant flash was followed by a huge, loud, rumble of thunder. Then he
heard a thump and some odd wobbling noise coming from the closet behind him!
David sprang for the light switch, but the power had been knocked out!
His heart at full speed, he could still hear something rolling around in the closet. He
yanked open the louvered closet door and looked into the darkness. With the next flash of
lightening he could tell there was something on the floor. He reached down, but even in
the dark he could tell it was just a football.
Out in the hall one of the monks had a flashlight and told David that
although lightening had hit a power pole, everything seemed okay. David walked back to his
room and was rotating the football in his hand, feeling the leather strings, the way
footballs were sewn together years ago. Carefully making it back to the bed in the dark,
David set the old ball on the night stand and then let the storm's lullaby rock him to
The freshness of the wet ground evaporating under the morning sun
filled David's room. Getting out of bed he stood at the window, inhaled the morning air
and said a prayer. Looking toward the night stand to see if the clock radio now had power,
David noticed the wide black-felt pen writing on the football. His eyes locked on the
printing: 1966 STATE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONS. David picked up the ball and rotated it, looking
at all the signatures. His name was on the white band, just where he had signed it over
twenty-five years ago. Right above the strings was the name Paul Miller, followed with the
Sunday after church David was telling Timothy about the storm and all
that had happened. "Anyway, I hear something fall off the shelf in the closet! The
power is out, I open the door then there's a flash of lightening and I get a glimpse of
the football wobbling there on the floor. It wasn't until the next morning I found out it
was the football from the State Championship Game. Can you believe it?"
"Believe what? That a football fell off a shelf. David, the
thunder and the wind was shaking things up pretty good. Did you have your window
"Yeah, but that's not what I'm talking about. How'd the football
even get there?"
"Someone must have overlooked it. You know, that room was being
fixed up for Paul. You know in the less private area for when he got sick and needed more
care. Someone put it there, maybe even Paul."
"No, that can't be. Paul told me he had given it to his father the
night of the game and never saw it again."
"David, Mr. Miller visited Paul a couple of times before he died.
Maybe he brought it down to him."
"I don't think so. I think it's some message, that God wants me to
continue on the same team that Paul was on. I'm sure, now more than ever, that God is
calling me to be a priest."
"I'd caution you to stop looking for signs. There's more to it
"Timothy, I don't understand you. Ever since I told you I wanted
to become a priest, you seemed to be trying to talk me out of it. If I think I hear or see
a message, you just sluff it off!"
"I just want you to be sure. I've seen many fellow colleagues
renounce their vows because they later fall in love and want to get married. Do you really
think that you can lead a celibate life?"
"I'm fairly sure." David, paused. "But the other night I
almost slipped up; lucky thing the phone rang."
"Was this slip up with Marcea?"
"Yes. How'd you know?"
"That's as clear to me as that football falling off the shelf is
to you. That's where I see signs."
"What kind of signs?"
"They're obvious. You and Marcea share something. But your
personal life is none of my business."
"Sure, there was something between Marcea and me a long time ago,
but that's over now. She has her own life. "
"Whatever you say David. But if you're looking for a message, look
at the gift God gave to man to keep him from being alone. Then ask where Jesus choose to
work his first miracle."
David sat silently. I know God created Eve for a companion to Adam.
And I think Jesus's first miracle was changing water into wine, but where was that? Let's
see, it was some sort of party or . . .
"David, you need a break. Do you have someplace you could go
to get away from the monastery for a while?"
"Well, I was thinking about taking a bus up to Oregon to explain
some things to Paul's parents."
"That'd be good. Then when you get back we'll continue this
Wednesday afternoon Monsignor Grant was confronted in the church
parking lot by Marcea. She'd had been waiting there for over an hour. "Where's David?
I need to talk with him. Danny just got this letter, saying something about going on a
"I'm sorry. I dropped him off at the bus station this
morning," Monsignor Grant said getting out of his car.
"Where's he going?" demanded Marcea. "Are you shipping
him off to a stupid seminary to brainwash him that women aren't good enough for him? Just
like your stupid church that has a Pope that can't make a mistake and teaches that women
aren't as good as men?"
"Wait a minute, young lady. I never condemned the church you
"Yeah, but we don't have a man that makes all these infallible
rules against women."
"Now hold, on Marcea. The last so-called infallible rule a Pope
made was in 1950, and that was the annunciation of Mary. I think this more than validates
the point the Catholic church doesn't discriminate against women. One of our most
momentous prayers is called the 'Hail Mary'. I'd suggest you get your facts in order
before we debate this issue," Monsignor Grant said sternly.
Somewhat contrite, Marcea choose her words more carefully. "I
didn't know that about the infallibility rule. I thought the Pope made them all the time;
1950 was before I was born. But, I did notice a statue of Mary in your church."
"Marcea, I don't think you drove all the way up here to find out
about women in the Catholic church, or about papal infallibility. What's really on your
Marcea took a deep breath. "I don't want David to become a priest.
I love him and I know he loves me. It's not fair. He shouldn't have to choose between me
and serving God."
Timothy took both of Marcea's hands. "My dear child, on that issue
you could be right; maybe priests should be able to marry. But I'll be long gone before
that ever happens." Monsignor Grant paused, thinking of a dear friend who had traded
the priesthood for marriage. "All I can suggest is that you put your hopes into
"But asking God for David not to become a priest, would be wrong
sacrilegious or something."
"Marcea, pray for what you want; let God figure out what's right.
Just understand that sometimes God calls us to make sacrifices we may not quite like at
the moment. I'll pray also."
"I just couldn't pray for that, with the shortage of priests and
all. I should just start to accept it now."
"Marcea, pray from your heart; put all your faith in God's hands.
Then whatever happens is because He wills it. Don't worry so much about what seems
obvious. Even if there were only one priest left in the whole world, God's church will
continue to grow. It wasn't that many years ago that one man brought Christianity to
Israel and look how his word has spread throughout all the corners of the earth."
Marcea wiped a tear from her eye. "Thank you Monsignor. I feel
better letting someone know how I feel. I apologize for the way I jumped at you."
"My dear, things will work out for you, and for the church. Trust
Without saying say another word, Marcea went back to her car and drove
off ten miles down the road stopped the car. She had found the right words. Dear
God, I do love David and I put all my faith in you. It's just that he would make such a
good father to my children. With all my faith I do put my trust in you. I give thanks for
all that you have given to me. No matter what happens, I will always continue to love you
with all my heart. This prayer I totally yield myself to you, accepting whatever you . . .
David made it into Portland Thursday morning. Three transfers later on
the light rail system and just before noon he made it to Mr. Miller's warehouse. As he
came up the stairs to the second floor, his vision locked on the large oil painting of
Paul being ordained. David walked over to it, noticing all the other awards and war
medals. This stuff wasn't here last year. I should have called. It wasn't too pleasant
the last time I dropped in unannounced.
"Could I help you?" asked the receptionist.
"Yes. Is Mr. Miller in?"
"No, Dean's out to lunch with his wife," said the
receptionist, now taking a hard look at David. "Hey, I know who you are. You're
David, the guy that showed up here last year, the day all the phones went dead. I'll never
forget that day."
"Oh, why's that?" David asked, not sure if he wanted to
"Because right after you left the phones started working again.
But what was really strange is Mr. Miller let everyone have that afternoon off after he
had me bring up all Paul's things from the storage room. The next morning everything was
on display, just like you see it."
"Really?" David said looking back at the wall. "I'm sure
Paul would have been pleased that his father is so proud of him."
"You bet he was pleased. You should have seen the party Mr. Miller
had for him." The receptionist reached for a tissue. "I'm so sorry that he's
gone, but I'm glad I got to know him at least."
"So am I."
There was some noise on the steps. Mr. Miller had Mrs. Miller on his
arm and they both spotted David. Mrs. Miller ran to David and threw her arms around him.
"Oh David. What you said at Paul's funeral was so . . . wonderful." Rose became
Mr. Miller walked over but held his composer. "It's good to see
When Mrs. Miller let David go, Dean put his hand on David shoulder and
turned him toward the open office area. "Hey everybody, this is David McIntosh! He
and my son grew up together. They're best friends."
Clapping filled the second floor. A few employees came up and shook
David's hand leaving him dumbfounded. As the commotion ceased one of the salesmen took
David aside. "I don't know who you are, or what you said to Mr. Miller, but ever
since that day last fall when you showed up on your Harley. Mr. Miller has become a
totally different person."
"I don't think that had anything to do with me."
"You must have said something," insisted the salesman.
"Mr. Miller did a one-eighty after your visit. He went to a skeleton crew on
Saturdays and we can now flex our hours for family events and other things. Dean is even
sponsoring two soccer teams. The working environment around here now is like one large
"I still don't think I had anything to with all the changes, but
it sounds great. I just hope Mr. Miller can afford all that."
"I'm sure he can; we just had our best profit quarter ever. Dean
showed his appreciation by arranging a family picnic where he announced a thousand dollar
bonus to each employee. Now quit acting like you didn't have anything to do with turning
him around. You know David, you should be a counselor or something. You have some
Everyone gradually returned to work and before Mrs. Miller left she
made sure David was coming to dinner. She also invited him to stay through the weekend.
Mr. Miller then led David into his office and shut the door. As soon as Dean sat down
behind his desk, David blurted out, "I came here to tell you how Paul really
"David, please don't. You don't owe me any more of an explanation
then what you gave at the funeral. Paul was a hero no matter how he died. It was you who
made me realize that. So if you don't mind, I'd just like to let Paul rest in peace."
"That's fair enough. I just thought I owed you a better
"Thanks David. I'm sorry to cut you off, after you came all the
way up here. But something's are just best left untold."
"That's okay, Dean. I needed a break, this is sort of a vacation
for me anyhow." There was a long silence as both men searched for something to say.
"Oh, I almost forgot, there is another reason I came up here," David said
unzipping his gymbag. "Here is something that I think belongs to you." David
pulled out the game football and handed it across the desk to Mr. Miller.
Another stillness came over the office as Mr. Miller rotated the ball,
looking at all the names. Now Dean spoke. "You know David, if only I could live that
one night over, things might have been different."
"I know what you mean. I think we all have one of those days or
nights, one we wish we could do over. You do know that Paul forgave you?"
"Yes, I know." said Mr. Miller standing up from behind his
desk, walking across the office and opening the door. David followed him out to where he
placed the football on a shelf next to the MVP trophy. Dean stepped back, now almost
David thought of asking how long it had been since Dean last saw the
football, or if he knew where it had been all these years. But it wasn't important,
instead he said, "It looks good there. It was meant to be right there."
Dean put his hand on David's shoulder. "There's one thing of
Paul's I couldn't display that I want you to see. Mr. Miller led David down the stairs,
through the warehouse and to the back wall where he pulled some packing blankets off the
Harley. "It hasn't been moved since Paul parked it here last year."
David squatted down and studied the white fluffy clouds painted on the
sky blue gas tank with the words HEAVENLY GLIDE pen-stripped through the middle. "I
never knew Paul had a Harley. He must have bought it after I gave him a ride on mine.
Afterwards he told me it was like gliding through heaven."
Mr. Miller watched David scrutinize every detail, rubbing his hand over
the chrome in awe. Then the words, just came out. "Paul meant for you to have this.
It's yours David."