[ This is the fourth part of an ongoing saga. Please read the first three parts before this one and leave your comments. Thanks. ]
4. Calm before the Storm.
Lily stayed outwardly calm although she was wondering how he had money to be buying new clothes, while she could hardly even get food to put in the house. She stayed calm mainly because her left foot was already in a splint and there was really no telling what would happen if she provoked Theo. She appeared ever so calm but inside the “Storm” was raging. She would play the hypocrite till she got her chance, then like a true Scorpio she would sting. Ruthlessly.
Theo left the small house they shared without as much as a glance back while Lily limped to the window and glared at him. The fact that he never seemed to care how angry she was just made her even more resentful. His loping strides made short work of the walkway and he slipped out through the gate quietly, as only he could.
He walked briskly to the little school, on the hill right next to the Church. It was the school where most of the people in that small community opted to send their kids. He passed the guard at the gate and waved to various teachers but he passed the classroom where his little daughter was patiently waiting and instead went to the well kept graveyard behind the church.
He found the simple tombstone that read “Rev. Jeffrey Grant” and saw that the dates of Grant’s birth and death were seperated by a mere dash. A dash in time, to God, perhaps, but as he knelt Theo felt that the dash seemed to be a woefully inadequate way of encapsulating the life of such an honourable man.
Theo prayed and felt guilt that he had never attended the man’s funeral. His tall body remained bent and kneeling for a few minutes but finally he opened his eyes again.
He looked up to see Deacon Brown milling about the entrance to the small chapel and looking in his direction.
“Come here, Young Adams. ” said the tall elderly deacon with a slightly crooked yet somehow charming smile.
Theo exchanged pleasantries with the older man and updated him on the happenings of the town at large and the man seemed to mentally compare what Theo said with some notes he made in his head from ages past. Then with a quiet nod the deacon excused himself and left Theo alone in the Chapel.
The place seemed smaller than he remembered it now. The pews which had once seemed so gigantic were looking small and ancient to him now. He walked to the piano at the front and thought briefly about lifting it open.
“Feel free to give it a whirl, Theo.” said a female voice from behind him.
Theo smiled and turned to see her. A vision of loveliness. An angel on Earth if ever such existed. It was Yvette Grant and she had brought his daughter Trianna with her up from the classroom. Yvette taught at the school and was daughter to Rev. Jeffrey Grant of blessed memory.
Theo opened up the piano and sat down. His daughter ran, quite irreverently, down towards him with a sweet smile, “Daddy, Daddy “, Trianna shouted but then she quickly got silent, as he put a finger to his lips, telling her to be quiet. She sat beside him on the small stool and watched him play and sing, then laugh, then cry.
“Amazing Grace. How sweet the sound.” Yvette said, she was smiling with a tear in her eye also.
Trianna looked at them both. She was confused, in her four years of life she’d never seen adults smiling and crying at the same time. It sort of scared her.
” I wanted to be here for his funeral…I was so sorry when I heard he was shot.” Theo said. Yvette shook her head begging him not to speak about it.
“My father wanted you to have this.”, she said as she gave him a gold chain with a cross and a small figure of Jesus on it. Crucified.
“It’s the Gold chain your dad always wore, are you sure you want me to have it ?” Theo asked. His mouth had dropped open from sheer surprise.
“Yes, I’m very sure. He said he wanted you to have it, if anything strange should happen to him, it’s almost as if he knew what was going to happen, he had all his business well prepared for his passing.”, she was trying to hold up but it was clear the pain, of the memories was getting to her.
“His words were ‘You are like a son’ to him and he wanted you to claim your birthright even if it seems like a ‘mess of pottage’ he told me to tell you that.”, she cried as she repeated the words to Theo.
“I don’t wear jewellery. I will treasure this though.” Theo said.
” I told him that. He said to tell you to wear it when it felt comfortable to you. My father also said I should let you know that he was there and that he saw the dive.”, she said the words not knowing their full meaning nor the weight that had been lifted from Theo’s heart, a weight he’d carried now for several years silently, bitterly.
Yvette wiped the tears away from her cheek and smiled. She looked radiant, when she smiled, but few men truly appreciated her lovely face because her ample bosom was not hidden, even by the extremely conservative black clothing, that she wore always. Yvette appreciated Theo for being one of the few men who actually looked into her eyes as she spoke. Almost every other man seemed to talk to her chest. Even the old deacon with the crooked smile.
The elderly deacon observed Theo, Trianna and Yvette Grant from afar totally unnoticed as he lurked in the shadows of the chapel yard. He watched as they talked and finally he saw Theo leaving the chapel grounds with little Trianna.
Deacon Brown’s smile was more crooked now than ever before.
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