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Maple Street Memories #8

Episode Eight

“I don’t know what to say.  I didn’t expect this.  I always thought my dad was well, my dad.  I was sad I never knew him.”

“Chere, now we can know each other.  I like to think your mother would be happy at our reunion.”  He slid a platter of glazed chicken closer to her.

She shook her head.  Mary felt a tear slide down her cheek and dabbed at it with a napkin.  “I’m not sure what she would think.  It’s overwhelming.”

“I understand that.  I’m not sure what to do but plan to talk with my wife tonight.  I would like so much for you to be part of my family and not have to hide our visits.”

She took in his eyes, recognizing the deep blue of her own.  She had always fantasized about knowing her father.  Now she had the opportunity.  And to be part of a family again.  “I should probably think about this.”  She let out a long breath.  “But I know I would love to be part of a family and know you.”

Tears dotted his cheeks as he smiled and reached for her hand.  “You make me so happy, Mary.  I was so worried you would run away when I told you all these things.  Nothing would make me happier than to get to know you.”

A tray of lavish desserts was delivered.  Charles motioned to the waiter.  “Please box all of this up for mademoiselle.”  He waved his hands over the almost untouched platters and bowls from the entrée course.

The waiter gave a bow and whisked the dishes from the table, leaving them with dessert and coffee.  “Let me discuss the situation with my family.  How about we meet again for lunch next week and take it from there?  I’d love for you to come to dinner at the house one evening.”

She smiled as she bit into a cream puff drizzled with chocolate.  “That sounds wonderful.”  They finished their evening with him asking about her work, the house, and her siblings.  He agreed to meet at the Sugar Bowl for lunch.

Over the next few days, Mary’s mood lifted.  Notions of family dinners and spending time with Charles dominated her thoughts.  The day came for lunch and she saw Charles walk through the door and remove his hat.  She gave him a wave from the booth in the back, seeking as much privacy as possible.

He greeted her with a hug and a kiss on the cheek.  She lingered next to him, taking in the comforting scent of his aftershave and the hint of tobacco.  Another older waitress named Dolly took their order.  After their sandwiches were delivered, Charles sighed and hung his head.  “I’m not sure how to tell you this, chere.  I talked to my wife and children and explained the situation and that I had found you and wanted you in my life.”  He shook his head in sadness.  “They are angry and shocked right now, so I am hoping their hearts soften with time.”

Mary’s forehead creased and the effervesce she had felt the last few days began to fizzle.  “You mean they don’t want me?”

“Ah, it’s not that simple.  It’s hard for them to accept you.  My wife is furious and feels betrayed.  I understand all of that, but she’s not willing to entertain the idea of you at our home.  My children are spoiled and I think also feeling deceived.  It will take time for them to accept you.”

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