“You wanted to talk, so talk.”
“Really? You just show up like this and that’s how you want to open this?”
“I got the message you wanted to talk to me, so here I am. How else would you expect me to open a conversation with you? We’ve never actually met so opening with some silly pleasantry didn’t seem like the thing to do. If it makes you feel better then fine I’ll start with one. Hello Katlyn, is nice to finally meet you.”
“Why do I feel like you’re being an ass?”
The man across from Katlyn let out a little chuckle. “Maybe in a way I am being an ass. Look Katlyn I’m not real sure how this is supposed to go myself and to be honest with you I’m a little nervous. I’m pretty sure you’re feeling the same way but in spades. I know if I were sitting in your place I would be.”
“Are you even going to ask how he is?”
“I know how he is. Believe it or not I’ve kept up with what’s been going on with him.”
Katlyn looked at the man in front of her. She had wanted to talk to him, get a chance to know him but now all she could think about was that he was sitting in front of her and the man was right, she was nervous as hell. Actually she was pretty damn scared at the moment but she couldn’t say why outside of the obvious reasons.
“I have to assume from your silence you’re trying to come to terms with me being here.”
“Ya think?” Katlyn knew she was being a bit of an ass herself but right now she was unnerved by this meeting and had honestly thought it would never happen. From everything she had heard it shouldn’t be happening now.
“Hey you’re the one who asked to meet me so here I am. Don’t you think it might be a good idea for you to lose the anger for a bit and let’s talk? I don’t have a lot of time and I’ve got to get back soon so I suggest we don’t waste a lot of our time together.” The look of sadness in the man’s eyes wasn’t lost on Katlyn.
“Why? He loved you so much, he still does. His whole life had been centered around you and what he thought you would have wanted him to be like and in so many ways he feels like he has failed. He hasn’t you know? Oh he’s made mistakes for sure and some of them big ones but the truth is he is a good man. The problem is you just up and left him at a time when he needed you most. When you left him he was a very young man with a very young family and it was at that time he needed you most. I know at times he must have been angry with you but he never stopped loving or believing in you. You were and still are his hero.”
“You think I don’t know that Katlyn? I’ve had to deal with that ever since I left him. It wasn’t that I wanted to go, it was that I had to go.” The man looked at Katlyn with a look of longing in his eyes and she couldn’t help but be moved by what she saw.
“You must know his first marriage ended in divorce?” Katlyn really didn’t understand why she felt the need to bring that up.
“I know and if it hadn’t happened I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you now.” A small smile lifted the corners of the man’s mouth as a bit of a twinkle brightened his eyes.
“You’re son always said you would have like me. I’ve always thought he told me that to make me feel better.”
“Like I said, I’ve kept up. I think my son did pretty good in finding you. I know you love him and obviously have always been willing to go to any length to try and make him happy. The fact that you’re sitting here now talking to me proves that more than anything else and there have been lots of other things that I know of as well. Steven isn’t always an easy man to understand, I guess he does get that from me.” The earlier gleam in the man’s eyes only got brighter with his last statement.
“Evidently he has a lot of you in him.”
“Don’t be confused, there’s some of his mother in him too.” This brought out another chuckle from the man.
“You think I don’t know that. Her I did get to know and let me tell you that was not an easy person to deal with. That woman did everything in her power to come between her son and me.” A shiver ran down Katlyn’s spine as she remember some of the things she had dealt with regarding Steven’s mom.
“She wasn’t always that way Katlyn. She was always a strong woman but me leaving her did something to her and I know it wasn’t good.”
“It wasn’t just that. You were around long enough to spoil the crap out of Steven’s first daughter but then you left before the second one even got a chance to know you. How do you think that made that little darling feel? After you were gone I think your wife saw in that first grandchild a connection to you because of the way you were about her and I don’t think that left your wife with a lot of time for the second one. I’m not saying that she did it out of meanness, she just did it.” Katlyn was trying to understand so much about the man who sat across from her.
“Yes I got word of that too and I wanted to do something about it but I couldn’t. I wasn’t in a position where I could. You know they don’t just let you pop out of where I’ve been just to put your family straight. There are rules.
“And yet here I am sitting here talking to you.” Katlyn wondered about that one most of all.
“That’s true but you asked to see me remember?” The man looked at Katlyn as if he could see right through her into her soul.
“Haven’t they asked?” Katlyn wanted to know how he would answer that question.
“They’ve asked to see me but it’s not the same. This isn’t the first time you’ve gone through this with someone in my position and you know how hard that was for you. Do you think I wanted to put my family through that? How did it make you feel sitting across from you mom asking questions she couldn’t give you clear answers to. Did it honestly help you? Did it make you feel better about the way things were?” The sadness had returned to the man’s eyes.
“Yes and no. When I sat down with Mom she seemed so distant to me. I wanted to feel her love but all I seemed to get from her was more like a cold encounter from a stranger. She didn’t even look like herself anymore. She had changed. All she kept telling me was this was how it had to be. I’ve talked to her a few times since and although she hasn’t been as cold she’s only got a short time to talk and she avoids talking about anything I think is important and I feel she only pushes me away.
“Katlyn she loves you, that’s why she does what she does. She can’t reach out and take you in her arms and hold and comfort you. There is no comfort in this. It’s lonely and sad. When you love your children and you have to leave them there’s no happiness in that. It’s simply the reality of things. Don’t you think we want to be with you? Wishing for that however can only make matters worse for all concerned. It can’t be changed. It can’t be undone. It is simply what it is.
“There’s so much you could tell me about him. So many things I want to know.” A tear ran down Katlyn’s cheek as she said this.
“You have all the answers you need Katlyn. They’re all there in the man you love. There is nothing I could tell you about him that you don’t already know or at least what you need to know. Don’t you understand that you’ve been with him now almost as long as I was with him before I went away? Don’t you understand that you’ve been helping build the man he is now for all these years?” The man really smiled at Katlyn this time.
“Well if that’s the case I feel like I’m screwing up.” That thought had never crossed Katlyn’s mind before and right now she didn’t like it too much.
“Katlyn is he a good man in your eyes?”
“Yes, a little grouchy at times but yes he is a good man.”
“The grouchy part comes with age I’m afraid but the good man part, a lot of that has to do with you having been there for him all these years just like he has affected the kind of woman you have become. If it hadn’t been for him you probably wouldn’t have written that first book. Oh by the way I like it. The others are good too but I really like the first one.”
“Sure. In that one in particular you captured my childhood home and I not only like it but I appreciate how you did it.”
“Oh about that little redheaded girl of yours. I like her. She’s a hoot. Lot of fire in that little redhead.” The man was giving Katlyn another big smile.
“I can’t deny the fire. She comes by it naturally I think.”
“If you’re going to say she got that from your mom, don’t. That is all you my dear woman.” The man continued to smile at Katlyn.
“I guess she did.” For the first time Katlyn smiled at the man.
“You have to understand Katlyn that no one is perfect. Not my son, you, those three girls and certainly not me. The thing is that you keep doing what you’re doing and try your best to do it right. Keep faith in your heart and soul, always try to be kind to others especially those you love, hold on to the hope for tomorrow, and never give up. Keep looking after my son, your girls, their children, and yourself.”
“I’ll try my best sir.” Katlyn suddenly had a sinking feeling in her heart.
“I’ve got to go now. They’ve let me stay a little longer than they should have. Just so you know. You’re mom does love you honey and don’t you ever forget that.” Now there were tears in the man’s eyes.
“How do you know my mom loves me?”
“Oh we get around up here and we talk. Your mom and I talk often. Boy that can piss off the wife at times.” Again the man smiled at Katlyn the tears still evident in his eyes.
“If you see any of my family members where you are will you give them a hug for me and tell them I love them?” Katlyn couldn’t hold back the wave of tears that now flowed from her eyes.
“I’ll do that Honey and you hug all those girls for me and all the little ones but most of all, hug my son and tell him I love him.” The man stood up to leave giving Katlyn one last long look.
“Remember Katlyn we’ll be here waiting when all of you are ready.”
With that the man turned and walked off into nothingness slowly vanishing as he went.
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