It was raining heavily outside St. Luke’s home for the Aged. A young man knocked on the door impatiently. He mumbled something indistinctly as he waited for someone to open the damn thing. He was visibly irritated; he had called ahead and informed them that he would be late.
Just as he was about to knock again he heard the sound of wooden bolts being pulled. An aged lady in nun’s clothing stood before him, she smiled and apologised and asked him if he was the person who had called that afternoon. He hid his irritation and spoke,” yes, I had called ahead, the traffic-“
“Your father, am I correct?” she cut in, pointing to the old man who was standing behind his son, visibly enjoying the rain.
The son turned around surprised. He stood there in wonder for a minute or so until he felt his anger and irritation returning to him.
“Dad”, he shouted,” didn’t I tell you to bloody wait in the car. This is why we’re here in the first place.”
He rudely grabbed his father by his wrist and dragged him into the building. The old man smiled as he passed the nun, a sad smile that could bring one to tears. It was not the smile that caught her attention though. She knew this man. She couldn’t remember his name or remember how she knew him, but his face was so familiar she knew they had met.
The son mistook her silence and confused look as disapproval of his behaviour and apologised,” I’m sorry sister but he just irrit-“
She cut him off again, “Come now son, do you think you are the first to leave your father in an old age home? Or the first one to tell me what you were about to say? There is no need for all that; just come in and fill up the forms.”
She walked back in silence with the son trailing her; he felt ashamed and kept thinking about what she said. It was true. More than being irritating he just wanted his freedom, he couldn’t take care of his father for the rest of his life, he would lose the most valuable moments of his own if he did so. He consoled himself as he had done so for the past month. He told himself this was the best for his father over and over again.
The nun pointed to him to have a seat and sat opposite him before dropping a stack of forms and asking him to fill them.
He started off immediately; the last thing he wanted was to talk more. Somehow that old lady made him feel bad about what he was doing.
She sat there staring at him, silent and unmoving. Then she let out a gasp of surprise as he looked up at her. She noticed them for the first time; his eyes were a bright electric blue. They stared at her in equal surprise as he tried to figure out what was happening.
She jumped out of her chair and pulled the forms towards her, she read the names he had filled and gasped again as she realised she was not wrong. She knew the man and his son. She stared at him as he managed,” what?”
“Your mother? Do you know what happened to her?” she asked him in a very serious tone.
“She uh passed away giving birth to me”, he replied, the confusion now evident on his face and in his tone,” Can you please tell me-“
“Many years ago”, She started in a calm tone, “ I knew a man, he used to be a daily visitor to the church next door, after mass he used to come over and play with the children, A gentleman, one of the best persons I know. The children loved him and he loved them more. Have you heard of people leaving children on the doorsteps of orphanages? Well, that used to happen a lot here as well. Once we found a small baby boy, covered in mud, crying, good lord how that kid cried. Whatever we did we never managed to stop his crying, until he came the following morning. As soon as he picked up the child, the crying stopped and it was replaced by a beautiful, beautiful laugh. How he loved that boy. He wanted to adopt him but they wouldn’t allow an unmarried man to adopt just like that, he tried a lot but they wouldn’t budge. He came to me and told me he would take the boy and go away if I would let him. I opened the door for him that night and he did take the boy away. Before he did, I kissed the little one on his cheek and stared into his bright blue eyes for a moment. That’s the night he first called you “David”, before taking you away as his son.”
David stared at her dumbstruck. Words failed him. His thoughts were meaningless, he never knew. That man- His father had never told him. His father. Tears welled up in his eyes as he thought those words over and over again. My father.
Many hours and a silent car ride later he helped his father back into their house. They had not spoken. The sister had spent some time talking to him before David brought him back home. David knew the truth now and his father knew that he knew.
He fixed his father a hot cup of coffee and sat him down, he sat on the floor resting against his legs with tears rolling down. In a few minutes, he asked in a broken sad voice,” why? After everything I did to you? Why didn’t you tell me? Why did you accept everything? Why did you leave everything to me? Even when I was about to abandon you, why did you stay silent? You gave me everything and stayed silent as I tried to take whatever you had left. Why?”
He broke down crying as his father smiled running his hand through his son’s hair,” Because David, you are my son. I’ve never seen you as adopted and I’ll never let you feel that way. You are my son and whatever you do, I will always love you little one.”