The last of the snow had finally melted overnight. Mud season was in full swing in Eden. She stepped outside into the brilliant sun. The tree-lined dirt road that had been completely frozen just a few weeks ago was now three miles of slippery mush from the turn-off at the highway.
She heard the sound of gravel. The car came to a full stop. Two men emerged. The younger of the two walked around the vehicle to the older man. He put his arm around him and motioned to the side of the wooden home. “Come! Look at our meadow!” The two men walked together, away from her.
The Bishop was very short, maybe 5’3. Seeing them stand side by side in the distance, Bishop’s tiny frame made the younger man look burly in comparison. His suit was cut of the finest cloth one would expect to see on Wall Street. His shoes, were impeccably shiny and clean when he stepped out of the car. Now, sloshing through the mud… She shrugged and walked back inside. She had lunch to finish tending to, she thought to herself, They’ll eventually come in.
She heard footsteps. The older man was speaking, his voice deep and rich. You could hear Tennessee in his inflection and cadence. They were right behind her as she was done setting the table. Pleasantries are exchanged. Hands washed. Food placed on the table. Hands held. A blessing prayed. Food eaten hungrily. Silence.
Coffee anyone? Yes! She gets up and disappears into the kitchen. She can feel his presence right behind her as she sets the coffee set on the tray. “So, how did you meet?” She tells him the story. “How long have you been involved?” She tells him that too. “I’m amazed to see how happy he is.” She nods and smiles approvingly. Just as she’s about to thank him, he continues “has he told you about his past?” She looks at the Bishop quizzically. “Doesn’t everyone when they get serious?” Bishop’s eyes narrow. He puts one hand on her shoulder and motions her a few feet deeper into the kitchen. Then, as he gets really close, “has he told you how bad he is?”
Stunned, she opens her mouth and closes it again. Finally, after a few breaths, “bad?” “He’s done some bad things. He has ADHD, you know?” “I know about the ADHD. He told me a long time ago,” she answers. “He’s done things,” Bishop insists. She crosses her arms atop her swelling belly and turns toward him. She looks down and right into those steel blue eyes. “Why don’t you tell me about the bad things your son has done?”
Bishop had just gotten started as his son filled the door frame. Without losing a beat, Bishop’s eyebrow went up as his feet swiveled across the floor. “My son! She was just telling me how you met! I think the coffee is ready. I can’t wait to sample that pie!” Before she knew it, Bishop had shuffled his way to the other end of the kitchen, grabbed the pie with one hand and his son with the other and the both of them were back in the dining room.
Coffee in urn. Milk in saucer. Sugar in pot. Dessert plates on tray. She could hear them talking. Taking a deep breath, she takes a quick look in the mirror and notes the look of puzzlement frozen onto her face. She shakes her head, as if to shake herself back to normal. “What in the world, new father-in-law? What in the world!”