Guest post by George Davis
Mary’s husband, Henry, is killed during a shootout to stop bank robbers. At the family viewing of Henry, Mary kisses his lips. "No one will ever become between us," she whispers. Their two sons, four-year-old Michael and six year old Douglas watches their mother from chairs.
Mary sits with Michael, now ten, and Douglas, now twelve, on the couch watching a movie on the television. Michael discreetly nudges Douglas.
"Mom why don’t you date mister White?" Douglas asks.
"I don’t want to."
Mister White is Paul, a teacher at the boys' school. He also coaches baseball and football. Mary has been going to watch Michael and Douglas play the sports for two years.
"He likes you Mom," Michael says.
"Did he tell you that?"
"No but we can tell," Douglas says.
"You always turn away from him," Michael says.
"I don’t want to date him or anybody else for that matter."
Douglas sighs. "Mom you’re not a good father."
"You’re a great mom but not a good father," Douglas says.
"I’m not trying to be a good father only a good parent," Mary says and then an afterthought. "Is Mister White putting this good father stuff into your heads?"
"No," Douglas says.
Mary’s frown tells her sons that she does not believe them.
"That’s the truth Mom," both boys say.
"It’s just us," Michael says, "Doug and me think we need a father in the house for us guys."
"You’re being a good mother," Douglas says. "We just need a dad."
"This mister White will be a good dad?"
"Not just him," Douglas says, "but he is the only man we ever seen you talk to."
"Other than the neighbors and they’re already married," Michael says.
"I don’t want a husband so I’ll be a better parent."
Michael and Douglas desire for a father in the house becomes steady and persistent until her will against it falters. Her sons are asleep. She thinks about their wish. She has a lot of times made their wishes come true. But, now, they are interfering with her faithfulness to her husband. She looks at her wedding ring. His ring she put on her his finger before the casket closed. Things that bond them in matrimony but her sons' wish, she has to make it happen. She cries as she removes her wedding ring.
Mary sits in the audience with her husband, Paul. Their focus is on the line of students waiting to walk onto the stage to receive their acknowledgement of completing high school. They see Michael. Her thoughts leave the moment to remind herself to be sure to tell Henry all that happened today. He already knows that Douglas is attending a law college. "Mike is coming up," Paul says with excitement. He makes sure the camera is set for the moment. Michael responds to his name. Paul stands to photograph Michael's moment. Mary does not stand but smiles her approval.
On the grounds, Douglas joins them. He greets his brother with a high-five and then a hug. He shakes hands with Paul and then hugs and kiss Mary on her cheek. Paul recruits a passerby to take a photograph of them together. "A family picture," he says.
"Paul, boys," Mary says, "lets go to dinner now because I have something important to tell you."
Mary stands over Henry’s grave, tears flow to wet her cheeks, and then she drops to her knees. With a garden tool, she removes a couple inches of ground and takes a pouch out of the hole. She gets her wedding ring from it and fit it onto her finger. "I'm back my love," she says through an affectionate smile. END
George A. Davis born in Philadelphia PA (presently resides in Tampa FL); retired Federal government employee; studied creative writing and recipient of the Community College of Philadelphia Fall 2001 Judith Stark Creative Writing Award for Script work; Third Place in Scripts – Tampa Writers Alliance 23rd Annual Writing Contest; Black Short Stories Editor's Pick and Author of the Month; Writers Platform Editor's Choice Award.