I returned to Appaloosa Plains just in time for David’s birthday. We didn’t plan a party or anything so it was just mom, dad, Christina and myself.
My sister Christina just turned 16. She has been great with David. Her adores her and she loves to teach him his skills. She has been teaching him talk and he has learned to say “Aunty Chrissy”.
A few weeks after David’s birthday mom passed away in her sleep.
Dad was of course devastated. Mom was 98 and had been full of life right up until the end. I don’t think I ever saw her with gray hair – she had been dying it red for as long as I can remember. As sad as we all were we knew mom had a good life. She earned two college degrees, reached the top of both the business and journalism career, wrote two best selling novels, was married to dad for over 40 years, and raised four children.
I tried to be there for dad whenever I could. Having lost my wife not to long ago I knew what he was going through.
I decided I should try dating again. Having spent most of my young adult life traveling I didn’t know a lot of the local single girls so I tried Internet dating. I was set up with Alison Jessup.
We spent our date at the winter festival. We built a snowman, had a snowball fight and went ice skating.
Alison thought it was funny when I grabbed her hands and suggested we spin together. She was so sure we were going to fall but despite a few wobbles here and there we stayed upright.
Before long it was again time for an Equidae birthday. Since we didn’t have a party for David’s last birthday we decided to have a big party this time. We invited all of his aunts, uncles, and cousins.
It was great getting to see my older sisters Corinna and Courtney. It had been a while since I had seen them. Alison came to the party too which I thought was great though I was a little worried about introducing her to my crazy sisters just yet.
David aged into an handsome little boy. I think his mother would be proud of him.
He is such a creative child and is always making up stories and acting out roles. His latest is that he is king and needs to preside over his royal court.
I think he gets the ideas for these stories from the books Christina reads him at bed time.
With the arrival of spring came the spring festival. Since Alison and I had so much fun at the winter one I decided we should check out the one for spring. I met her at the park with a bunch of flowers. She loved them.
We played horse shoes and tried out the love meter.
The love meter has a couple both hold the joy stick at the same time and it detects their compatibility. Alison and I got the highest score.
I had just gotten a new cell phone and so we of course had to pose for a couple of selfies.
“That picture’s great,” Alison said. “Will you send it to me?”
“Sure,” I said.
I was just getting home when my phone rang.
“Hi, is this Conner Equidae?”
“This is Nurse Stephanie Myers from Appaloosa Plains Memorial Hospital. We have you down as the emergency contact for a Brendon Equidae.”
“That’s my father. Is everything alright?”
“Sir, I am sorry to be the one to tell you this but your father suffered a heart attack at your home this afternoon. A neighbor saw him on the ground and called 911. The paramedics were able to revive him while on their way to the hospital but upon arrival he suffered a second heart attack and the doctors were unable to resuscitate him. He was pronounced dead at 5:30 pm this afternoon.”
Following the funeral I had to get out of the house so I walked over to the park. The festival was shut down for the night and there was no one around. Suddenly I felt a pair of arms around me.
“Alison?! What are you doing here?”
“I saw you leave and head this way. I figured you needed to get out of the house but I also figured you shouldn’t be alone.”
“Thanks,” I said.
We stood there for what felt like hours but was probably only a few minutes.
When we got back the house I knew it was now or never. I dropped down to one knee and said, “I know this is probably the wrong time to be doing this but after tonight when we stood there in the park just holding each other I realized that I don’t want go another day without you being in my arms. Alison, will you marry me?”
“Yes of course I will marry you!”
We decided not to have a big wedding so close to dad’s funeral so we eloped. We couldn’t be happier.
I didn’t realize until after dad died how much stuff he did around here. This week alone I have unclogged two toilets, fixed a leaky shower and sink, and repaired the dishwasher. I have been reading books and looking at articles online trying to figure out if there is a way to make things unbreakable.
I had just finished fixing yet another shower and was walking out of the bathroom when Alison stopped me in the hallway.
“I’m Pregnant!” she exclaimed.
As I pulled her into a hug I couldn’t help but worry. The last time I went through this my wife died during childbirth. I know that Alison is thrilled about being a mother but I am not sure I am ready to go through this again.