“Mine!” I smiled. The keys were sitting on the kitchen table, apparently Father had let himself in but hadn’t stayed. “Looks like I am about to be released from house arrest.”
“Looks like it.” he kissed me and then headed back upstairs for a shower.
I felt amazing. My life had never been better. Over the course of just a few weeks, I managed to bury my Mama, make peace in my own way with my sister, discover that my Father wasn’t the villain that I had made him out to be, learned that Mama was unfaithful for years, and still managed to fall in love with Junior. The old Addy would not have ever gotten past the truth that hit me in face, but the new Addy was okay. She realized that life was not predictable, and she sucked it up like a big girl.
It felt good to be free from the bondage of protecting Mama, and soon I would reconcile with Father. It was childish to prolong it any further really. Maybe I would take Junior to meet Father that weekend. It made me nervous, but also made me excited! A new life called for new and healthy relationships.
“Want to go meet my Father this weekend?” I asked as we sat across from each other in the Diner. I got a strange look from the waitress at first, but soon she realized that I wasn’t crazy anymore and warmed up to me.
“Sure,” his eyes grew big. “I guess I should take you to meet my Father too.”
“Yes, I would love to meet him!” Junior had told me stories about what a great Father he had. His Father was the reason that he decided to teach.
“Well, we’ll have to arrange that.” he sipped his coffee and told me to go ahead and tell Father that we were coming down. He would call his Dad and see if we could meet for dinner the next night. I couldn’t wait Before lunch time we had it all settled. Father sounded happy when I informed him of our visit, and Junior said that Tom Hanks, Sr. was excited about meeting me. Things were really falling into place.
I headed next door to see if Penny wanted to hit the beach with me. Junior was running errands and getting a haircut. I could tell that he was a little nervous about meeting Father, but I was beyond excited about meeting his. If anything made our relationship official, it was this!
“Mr. Hanks!” I smiled at the gray headed version of Junior that stood before me at the restaurant.
“Hi, you must be Adeline.” he held his hands out to me and gave me a warm hug.
“So nice to meet you!” I couldn’t stop smiling.
“Hi, Dad.” Junior patted him on the back and we took our seats.
“So you like my son, huh?” Mr. Hanks asked. I felt like I was sitting across from Junior in twenty or thirty years. Did I like his son? Not only did I like him, I loved him.
“I do!” I nodded, taking a sip of my water.
We talked, laughed, and enjoyed each other’s company. Mr. Hanks’ face lit up when he talked about his late wife, and Junior’s face lit up when he shared little tidbits about me.
“Vera always said we were going to have six kids and we ended up with one." He remembered, “But it didn’t take us long to realize that one was plenty!”
“Was Junior bad?” I couldn’t imagine Junior being anything but perfect.
“Not bad, just painfully shy. We had to coax him into leaving the house for a few years there. Once we moved here he managed to come out of his shell.” Mr. Hanks was making Junior blush.
“I would love to see pictures of Junior as a child!” I realized that I hadn’t seen any yet.
“I would like to see pictures of you!” Junior smiled, probably imagining what I would look like.
“I hear you lost your Mother recently? I’m sorry to hear it.”
“Yes sir, she had leukemia. She was only sixty one.” I thought about Mama’s brilliant smile.
“I know that must be hard. If anybody can help you through it, Junior can.” Hearing this made me tear up, Junior had already helped me make it through more than he even realized.
The rest of the evening was wonderful! Meeting Junior’s Dad made me look forward to seeing my own even more. I had wasted so many years. I was more ready than ever to make amends. The weekend couldn’t come soon enough!