Word List a grave - a test tube - a bowl of rice - a cell phone, a pink fingernail
Mike blew on his pink fingernail to help dry the polish. As often happened, he marveled at the things he did because of his daughter. Five-year-old Bethany insisted on having her nails painted every week and Mike had become an expert. When she wanted to have her dad paint his own the same color, he steered her to a compromise. Most Monday mornings he showed up at work with a brightly colored pinky nail.
When the cell phone on the kitchen table rang, the girl answered it. “Hello?” The girl’s smile grew. “Hi, Nancy. Yes, he’s right here. He just painted my nails.” Nancy was Mike’s girlfriend. “Pink!” The girl looked serious for a moment. “Okay, I’ll tell him. Bye.”
“Was that for me?” An innocent-sounding Mike asked.
“Nope. That was Nancy. She said she’ll be here in an hour.”
“Well, then, we better feed you. How about a bowl of rice crisps? You can eat your cereal and watch cartoons while I shower.”
He toweled his short hair and full beard dry before blowing his nose with the towel. Red-rimmed eyes stared back from the mirror while he ran a comb through the facial hair. It was always the same every last Sunday of the month; his emotions took over and he could not stop crying so he allowed himself to do so in the shower while Bethany ate her breakfast.
Since Nancy had come into their lives a year before, the body-shaking sobs were not as bad; the time spent shedding tears was shorter. His girlfriend and daughter bonded soon after he introduced them and a sense of peace infused his life. The loneliness was not as marked.
Today was a bit different and he was nervous. For the first time, the young woman who had helped dissipate some of his life’s darkness would accompany them on their monthly pilgrimage. You see, Bethany was a true test tube baby. Conceived from frozen eggs and born a year after her mother died. The last Sunday of the month was a special day for them and his daughter had asked Nancy to join them today. The day they would visit the grave of the mother she never met.