First Chapter – Father Then The Eyes Can See by

Author Bio

Born fourth of five children, I was usually the quiet and observant one growing up. I think I was the one needing the least amount of reprimanding, but – Shh, do not tell my siblings I said that; especially the youngest one!” Lol. My parents gave me a lot growing up, all of which had great value and influence upon my life, but most importantly, they gave me them, and they gave me HIM. I have worked in some form of customer service most of my life. Positions ranged from, “food services, careers in the travel industry, driving/executing dealer trades for a Chevrolet dealer, and sales.” No one could have made me think that one day, I would write and publish a book, yet here we are. Talk about “HIS ways not being our ways, and HIM knowing the plans HE has for us.” Umh. Well, this is book one of several titles to become! These writings are truly “God-given,” with tiny particles of my everyday life intertwined. It is a conversation piece – be it a personal one, a one-on-one, or within a group. Lastly, if you are going to come along for the full journey, (beyond the preview read that is), please accept my apology for the delay of these writings. You see, as a Flight Attendant living in Miami FL when this story first came to me, it was a distant thought, and I didn’t have time for writing. Guess I was too busy filling my life with other things. But soon after, I learned that – for me – wrong priorities equaled lost and wasted time. In closing, thank you for opening your heart and mind, to these writings. Remember, at some point, we all need forgiveness, so learn and choose to give it!

Chapter 1

 Guy-Near Hit

 As he drove down the peaceful tranquil country road, Guy took notice that nature, in all of its wondrous beauty was truly in rare form. The road was cascaded by full, beautiful trees with colorful leaves all around. In so many ways, it was a different day; at least it appeared to be. Was that actually it? What was so different today? What was so different about the drive or this particular part of his journey? He thought. I mean, I’ve only traveled this same exact road, what a hundred or more times before? So why today, what about today took him to this place in his mind’s eye? It just seemed to be one of those sweet, peaceful, tranquil afternoons and everything seemed and felt just right and then he saw her. Samantha sat there on a bench under a tree with those hazel, almond-shaped eyes that could warm your heart and touch your soul. But no, she wasn’t really there it was just his imagination dressing up a memory of her. How had he even dared consider giving up on her? He thought about what he almost lost or should he say what he actually gave up on. Remembering it as if it were yesterday, it still hurt as he realized what his misplaced focus had cost him. He silently asked himself, “Is this how you treat a friend, someone you say that you care about? What happened to loving unselfishly? What happened to having your best friend, your spouse’s best interest at heart?” As he drifted back to the time and place where he and Samantha had first met, he looked right passed the “red” traffic light. He never noticed the Chevrolet Celebrity as it pulled out making a left turn just ahead of him. However, the loud horn and the screeching tires immediately broke his trance bringing him back to the here and now. And if that didn’t do PROOF Father, Then The Eyes Can See PROOF PROOF 8 the trick, the seemingly crazed young lady that jumped out of her car did. Giving him a piece of her mind completed the mind transition, and he realized that though it was very close, it was simply a near hit as far as he was concerned. He figured everything was okay since they hadn’t actually hit one another. However, at this moment nothing he could say or do seemed to make the driver of the other car think or feel the same. Though his vehicle did not actually hit her vehicle, she was still just too shaken and upset right now to see beyond what could have happened. “Man, where did you get your license at some local corner store?” she blurted out, taking a second look at where the two cars would have collided had they not been able to stop. Guy offered an apology and even accepted the blame, but it was not convincing enough nor was it received. She gave him a disgusted look, shrugged off his apology with motions and jesters as she got in her car and sped off like she couldn’t get away from him fast enough. Watching her leave, he stood there with lifted hands of surrender wanting to seize one last chance to apologize. “Really, I’m sorry,” he said softly as he turned heading back to his own vehicle in disappointment. Walking back to his car, in his mind he began to play back what had just happened. “Where did she come from?” he thought then spoke softly, “Wow, she was a little fire cracker.” Getting back into his car, he consulted the paperwork stored for quick access in the dash. Taking a deep breath he slowly drove off, looking around his car trying to get his bearings, “What am I doing and where in the world was I going?” Before his quick review was completed, one of his favorite shows was interrupted by an incoming call being routed through his sound system. “Hello, Guy Shepherd speaking,” he answered. “Okay. So we are changing the location,” he confirmed as he verified the address. “Sure, that sounds familiar. Right, that’s the hospital located at the corner of Lincoln and Hope. Great, I am actually not too many blocks away, so I should arrive in ten minutes or so. Thank you, good bye.” As he resumed his drive toward the client meeting, he remembered another time he had received a phone call as he was headed in this direction. He had just returned from a business meeting when he received an urgent call saying his wife was on the way to the hospital, the one on the corner of Lincoln and Hope. Had it really been over five years since that fateful day? PROOF PROOF Guy-Near Hit PROOF 9 Five Years Ago Samantha Flashing lights and sirens were so not on today’s “to do list,” Samantha thought as the ambulance raced to get her to the hospital. Guy is going to kill me, she thought. An emergency operation now when he has so much going on? She started to cry as the impact of all that was happening suddenly hit her. “Okay, Samantha, breathe and relax your mind,” The paramedic in the ambulance advised her. “We will get you there in no time and we have already contacted your doctor. He is meeting us there.” “Has anyone called my husband?” she anxiously asked the nurses who were now wheeling her into a pre-op room. Samantha totally missed the nurses giving the doctor one of those concerned gazes from across the room as she said, “Now do not do this to yourself, Samantha. We need you to relax sweetie. You and your little one both need you to relax.” “I’m feeling so sleepy. Please tell my husband to hurry and get here,” she continued as she tried to heed the nurse’s instructions and force herself to relax. “Where is he? Where is her husband?” the doctor softly asked one of the nurses. “She is not going to relax until he gets here and she sees him.” At that very moment, Guy walked up to the nurse heading out to look for him, “I’m Guy Shepherd. They just brought my wife in by ambulance?” “The delivery team had some concerns,” he hears as he catches every worried gaze that turns in his direction as the nurse escorts him into the pre-op room where his wife is being prepared for emergency surgery. “My God, what is going on?” he barely manages to get out as another nurse hurriedly approaches Samantha’s husband. His fears are confirmed when in a hasty voice the nurse says, “Sir, I need you to come with me. We need to get you prepped to accompany your wife! And we have some papers for you to sign before we can proceed with the emergency surgery.” As the nurse propelled him to properly dress so he could enter the operating room, things changed before his very eyes. In a flash it was chaos everywhere but as if it was all in slow motion. Was he actually hearing all of these spoken words clearly as he was quickly briefed by the nurse? “Did you understand what and who was at risk here?” the doctor said as he turned to Samantha’s husband just as he entered the operating room. PROOF Father, Then The Eyes Can See PROOF PROOF 10 Guy looked toward the doctor with a dazed, confused look on his face. In a concerned yet demanding voice the doctor said, “Sir, I need a decision from you, now!” But before the doctor could briefly update Guy on what was going on he said, “My God, the patient is alert and quickly gaining consciousness, we’re going to need more anesthesia.” A nurse spoke to Samantha with passionate concern as the operating team calms the patient, and more anesthesia was given. Now, even more concerned for the patient and the patient’s awareness as to what was going on, one last time the doctor turned to Samantha’s husband for his decision. Guy shook his head as he mumbled, “I don’t know, I just don’t know! I need time to think!” “There is no more time,” the doctor said anxiously. “I need your decision right now!” Then as he walked out the door he turned and asked, “Is it a boy or a girl?” His frantic response reminded Guy how his own father had expressed disappointment with him and his career choices. He felt his father seldom if ever had good things to say to him or about him. He never mentioned my accomplishments, Guy remembers bitterly. These things and many others did not go unnoticed and so deeply scarred Guy that he had promised himself if he ever had a chance, his son would not be treated that way. He would show his son how to love and be loved. He would tell his son how proud he was of his accomplishments regardless how small. He would be a better father, a better husband than his own father had been. A growing boy needs to know and hear that his father is proud of him and appreciates who and what he is becoming, Guy thought. He needs a father that will coach him when he strays and affirm him when he does well. Guy’s thoughts were interrupted as he heard the frustrated doctor say, “My God, what differences does it make if it is a boy or a girl?” Taking one last look at Guy’s condition, the doctor firmly commanded, “Get him out of my operating room.” Realizing he was being forced out, Guy used his final seconds in the operating room to yell out, “If it’s a boy save my son, if not, save my wife.” Dazed and left standing outside the operating room door, Guy lifted his head to the ceiling still not completely attached to what had just happened. Did the doctor answer his question; was it a boy or a girl? Why was he being asked to make such a decision? What had happened after he talked to his wife earlier this morning? PROOF PROOF Guy-Near Hit PROOF 11 As Guy turned to go back into the operating room to try to make some reason out of what just happened, he heard sounds of chaos and equipment that triggered memories of movies he had seen. It did not sound good. Suddenly he placed the sound as what you would hear when someone was flat lining. He felt overwhelmed and his mind was swimming in confusion. He tried desperately to hear if there was even a very faint heartbeat as a nurse quickly directed him away from the operating room door and into a waiting room. “Oh, Samantha, what have I done? What have I done to our family? How can someone make such a decision? I needed more time to think this through. I couldn’t think straight. I couldn’t think,” he whispered in apology to his wife as she battled for life just a few doors down the hall. Angie Guy entered the waiting room looking right passed Angie, his wife’s sister. Angie had been standing there the whole time, and unknown to him, she saw and overheard almost everything. Angie stood still, frozen in pain and disbelief at what she had just witnessed. Guy had already taken her sister away from her once and she would not let him do it again. But what could Angie do, she had no power, she had no authority. She couldn’t make any decisions here. Only the husband was allowed to make these life and death decisions and it appeared to Angie he was in no condition to do so! As Angie prepared to leave the waiting room, she was stopped by one of the nurses. The nurse felt it best to have an alternate contact person on file since the husband was known to be out of the country and sometimes unreachable. This made Angie feel needed, it made her feel important. This could be her opportunity, she thought to herself. At least she would have a better idea of what was going on if she was listed as a contact person. As she gave the nurse her contact information, her anger grew as she thought over her relationship with Samantha since her sister had married Guy. Between classes, studying, and his up and coming business, her sister seemed never to have time for her any more. This was one of the reasons Angie chose a neighboring city right outside of town to live. She needed to be within driving distance of her sister. Since her sister’s marriage more than eight years ago, it was also one of the reasons that Guy was not one of her most favorite people. He required so much attention at times that it even seemed draining for her and she wasn’t even the one PROOF Father, Then The Eyes Can See PROOF PROOF 12 married to him. However, little did she know that a change would soon come; or should we say a couple of changes to be exact. Five Years Later Guy After a quick delivery to a client, Guy was at the intersection of Lincoln and Hope when he again found himself sliding off to another place in thought. The honking horn of a motorist stopped behind him helped to transition him to the present, and to the fact that he was setting at a now green traffic light holding up traffic. What a day, he thought. Would these fleeting memories ever stop torturing him? He never knew when something would trigger one and then he’d have to battle his way back from his painful past. As he passed the local grammar school he suddenly began experiencing a strong emotional tug at his heart. The emotional roller coaster continued as he pulled into his driveway. He could hear the sounds of families spending time together coming from nearby backyards and all throughout the neighborhood. It became a collage of faint echoing voices of little ones playing. Their laughter brought laughter to his heart sending a warm smile to his face before he disappeared behind the closed door of his empty, quiet house. The evening quickly melted away giving in to the next morning. It began with the annoying beeping sound of the alarm clock. Man! What happened to the night? It cannot be that time again already. I must be dreaming. Yeah, that is it, he decided as he rolled over to slip again into a light slumber, I’m just dreaming. His light slumber melted into yet another dream as if he is watching a playback of an old movie. “Ouch!” the man yells as he receives a not so welcomed pinch from the woman in the bed beside. “Okay, I am up and at it.” “Don’t forget your umbrella,” the woman’s voice reminds the man as he closes the door behind him. Once again the alarm clock sounded bringing Guy back to the present and reminding him it was time to start the day. This time he gave in, turned off the alarm clock, and stared at the ceiling wide-eyed and tearful. “When is this going to end? What is up with these feelings and dreams? It’s another year, a new day,” he said to the empty room. “It has been this way for the last 254 weeks! Why am I still here, still in this place?” PROOF PROOF Guy-Near Hit PROOF 13 As he tried to shake off the feeling of sadness that threatened him every time he had one of his dreams, he reprimanded the face in the mirror staring back at him, “Guy, you gotta shake this!” Even as he tried to do just that, the mirror caught the sparkle of a ring on a cute jewelry rack on the dresser across the room. She is not the only woman in the world, he thought as he headed for the shower. She was my perfect one, though! He would, at some point, have to let it go and put it all behind him, but right now he just needed to start the water for his shower. “One step, one day at a time,” he spoke softly to his reflection in the mirror. For some reason, the last four years seemed to have been on freeze frame in his mind. Everyone around Guy saw it and they all wanted to help him over this hump, especially the gang at the partnership. However, it seemed that no one could truly penetrate this particular wall. No one could help him. He just couldn’t shake this inability to move on. But how could he move on or even think of closing this chapter of his life with so many unanswered questions? There were still too many things that just did not make sense. Life just couldn’t be right until all the dots were connected, but how would he do it, where were the answers to be found so he could move on with life? The people he’d talked to at the hospital didn’t seem to have any answers. Nobody seemed to know what had happened. Why didn’t they care? Where could he go to get the answers he so desperately needed? It had already been more than four years riding the rollercoaster of unanswered questions, runarounds, and lack of definitive answers. How does one retrace four years day-by-day with enough direction to find the reasons for what had happened to his life? There had to be something that he was overlooking. Before Guy could once again delve into the maze of unanswered questions, he heard a knock on the front door. “Hey, I saw your car in the driveway, I hope you don’t mind,” John, the mail carrier said almost apologetically. “It’s just that, well it has been so long since I have actually seen your face and talked with you Mr. Shepherd. Tell me, what’s the latest project?” John asked with a respectful and sincere voice. Guy chuckled as he responded and spent a few moments catching up with him before John handed him his mail and continued on with the neighborhood route. John had been his mail carrier pretty much from the day he and Samantha had moved in. There it was again. It seemed everything brought him back to Samantha and the unanswered questions that had plagued Guy for PROOF Father, Then The Eyes Can See PROOF PROOF 14 the past four years. He looked down at his mail and was immediately distracted by a headline in the newspaper. It appeared a woman in her mid-thirties had lost her life in an automobile accident. The odd thing was that she wasn’t driving. She wasn’t even in a vehicle. He wasn’t sure why, but this story grabbed his attention, and he had to read the full story. As he nestled down in his cozy chair with his herbal green tea and the article in hand, the phone rang. Man, what is it now? he thought as he reached for the phone. The caller ID indicated it was Stewart, one of the partners from the office. Realizing he was already running behind schedule, he quickly picked up the receiver. “Hey Guy, get up out of that easy chair, put down that tea cup, and get over here fast!” Stewart almost shouted into the phone. “Wait a minute, how did you know exactly where I am sitting and what I’m holding?” Guy asked looking around to see if Stewart was outside looking in one of the front windows. “Well, the way you answered the phone, it is obvious that today, you got up early enough to do more than shower and get dressed for work,” Stewart laughed. “Besides, I know you always held down the recliner as you shared tea in the mornings with the Mrs.” Stunned, Guy still managed to force out, “Why, yeah, I guess you do know me because you literally called it to a ‘T’.” “Okay, then let’s move it. We have no time to waste. This clock is ever ticking,” Stewart awkwardly replied realizing a moment too late that he had put his foot in his mouth mentioning the Mrs. “We are setting up for our next project and we begin in twenty minutes! See you at the office,” Stewart added mysteriously as he abruptly hung up the phone. Without a second thought to the article and his cup of tea, Guy got dressed and headed for the office. Stewart’s cliffhanger had done the trick. Guy was now in “work mode” and moved efficiently through his morning routine in record time. The Partners “What were you thinking?” Kevin asked Stewart as he ended the call. “Exactly,” Steward replied with a sigh, “I wasn’t thinking. Before I knew it I was saying what I was saying! Why did he ask me the, ‘how do you know question’? Wow, anyway, okay, where were we?” Kevin and Stewart, Guy’s partners were excited about sharing the new project with Guy. In fact, they were so excited that they waited in the PROOF PROOF Guy-Near Hit PROOF 15 lobby for Guy’s morning arrival. They were going to nab him the minute he walked in the door, making sure they had his undivided attention. This morning’s drive into the office was filled with one commuter obstacle after another: the rain, the minor fender bender right in front of him, and the normal morning traffic delays, but Guy managed to be hopeful that this was not an introduction to what the day would offer. Eventful commute and all, Guy made his way to the office unscathed. This was even after he’d returned to the neighborhood corner store to pay Tommy for the gas he had inadvertently forgotten he’d pumped when paying for his raspberry hot chocolate. As soon as Guy entered the building, Stewart started, “Guy, we have been overlooking a market right under our noses! Instead of just doing corporate work, what about setting the atmosphere for home staging, and the possibility of breaking into the day care market?” Then it was Kevin’s turn, “Yeah, and it is going to require the effort of all the partners not just one of us. Guy, we need you along for the ride on this one, what do you say? This could guarantee us a market for I don’t know; for life or even after life!” Stewart jumped back in with, “Yeah, though I am still processing that after life part, what do you say, Guy?” Guy chuckled as he looked from Stewart to Kevin, “Come on, I don’t even know what it is you two are talking about yet. Walk me to the office and give me some of the details.” As they continued their walk to Guy’s office, Kevin and Stewart took turns filling Guy in on the new project idea and the details they’d already started working out. They were still discussing the beginning stages and what some of their next steps should be when an incoming call for Kevin interrupted there little think session. It was a call from his daughter Kaye’s school. “Sorry fellas, forgive me I have got to take this call,” Kevin said with just a touch of concern in his voice. The call only lasted a few minutes before Kevin explained, “I hate to do this in the middle of this type of momentum but I need to pause this meeting and get over to Kaye’s school.” “Is Kaye okay?” Guy asked with obvious concern in his voice. “Yeah, what is going on with Kaye?” Stewart asked. They both knew how much Kevin’s family meant to him. A call in the middle of the day from a child’s school immediately brought concerns to the mind of any parent. “I don’t know,” Kevin replied. “They wouldn’t give me any specific details; they just requested my presence at the school.” PROOF Father, Then The Eyes Can See PROOF PROOF 16 “Well you go and do what needs to be done,” Guy replied knowing how important it was for Kevin to make sure all was alright with his daughter. “Let us know as soon as you know what is going on.” “Yeah, things will be fine until you make it back,” Stewart added reassuringly. “Thanks. Don’t work too hard,” Kevin replied obviously a little concerned about the call from the school. Kevin’s Family Kevin was trying to get his game face on as he prepared for a lecture from the teacher expressing her disappointment in Kaye. Kevin was unaware the school had also given Kathy a call, but he was pleased to see his wife as he pulled onto the schoolyard. She’d decided to wait out front so they could enter together. Everything seemed to be going so well with Kaye in school lately, Kevin was thinking. I wonder what she could have done that they would call us both in? As he approached Kathy, he could see she had been thinking the same thing. He greeted her with a soft kiss on her forehead. “Hey love, how’s your day so far?” Kathy asked Kevin. “Great, we are right on target, we should meet our set goals for the quarter,” he replied. “How about yours?” “I think I really found something this time. I was reading some information on this web site today and it said I could make up to six figures and never leave the house,” Kathy replied. “Kathy, have you depleted your work from home budget already?” Kevin asked with a chuckle. “We are only three days into this month and you just got another $1000 yesterday. Okay, you know what as of now, I am not listening….” Laughing, Kevin began to replace talk by singing, “Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream….” This did not discourage Kathy though. She continued with her description of her new found possibility until they were met by Mrs. Cuppard, Kaye’s teacher. “Mr. and Mrs. Koole, thank you for coming. Kaye is in the library declaring to never leave,” she explained apologetically. “You see our storyteller, Mr. Greene, all the children called him, Grand-pa Greene, unexpectedly passed on this morning. His family lived in the same neighborhood as one of the students who shared the news with the rest of the children before the staff could gather the students for an official announcement. We generally try to handle things like this preemptively.” PROOF PROOF Guy-Near Hit PROOF 17 “Naturally the children began asking if it was true and if that was why he was not here for story time today. We were honest with the children and affirmed the rumor. One of the students actually suggested we should have a moment of silence for Mr. Greene because he saw it on TV once. Since the teachers saw nothing wrong with that it was allowed. Then a couple of the students ended it with Amen which was rather sweet. Since story time was canceled, the students were encouraged to either write an article about Mr. Greene or spend the time reading. Kaye took a book to a table and began reading or so we thought,” Mrs. Cuppard continued. “At the end of what would have been story time, the children were gathered for lunch, and that’s pretty much when we gave you both a call because Kaye refused to leave the library.” They concluded their short walk down the hallway as Mrs. Cuppard stopped in front of a door where she told them Kaye still sat. “Please forgive us for our part in her pain,” Mrs. Cuppard said obviously upset that they had to call Kaye’s parents to come to the school. “No, you do not owe us an apology, life is sometimes unpredictable. Thank you for being honest with her, and for calling us,” Kevin said. “The library will not be needed for at least another hour and a half, so please take your time. I will be either in the cafeteria or my classroom if you need me,” said Mrs. Cuppard as she excused herself. Kevin and Kathy shared a concerned yet encouraging look before entering to comfort their grieving daughter. “Hello Kaye, how’s your day so far? Your teacher seems to think that it is not going so well. What do you have to say about it?” Kevin asked. Kaye gave no response and sat in silence. “Come on, Doll, you need to talk to us about it so we can help you,” Kathy suggested. As tears trickled down Kaye’s face, Kevin was beside himself trying to figure out a way to ease his young daughter’s pain. There had never been a time in which he was unable to comfort his little girl. This was a first for him and he did not like what he was feeling. It made him feel helpless and powerless. When Kathy noticed the tears forming in Kevin’s eyes, she suggested he see if he could find Kaye something to drink. Making eye contact with Kevin, she nodded letting him know she was relieving him to go get himself together if he wanted. “Are you sure?” Kevin silently mouthed so Kaye could not see him. “Yes,” Kathy nodded in silent response. Kevin leaned in and kissed Kaye on the crown of her head and said, “Daddy will be right back.” PROOF Father, Then The Eyes Can See PROOF PROOF 18 As he turned to walk away, Kaye grabbed his hand and said, “Daddy, I want you to stay. Mommy can find the water fountain for us.” With tears rolling down his cheeks, Kevin sat down in a small chair beside her. “Sure thing Doll, but mommy is gonna have to hurry. Daddy’s not sure if this chair will hold him for long,” he responds while locking eyes with Kathy for some form of silent encouragement. “Sure it will Daddy, that was Mr. Greene’s chair, and it held him just fine,” Kaye said sadly. “Oh, okay,” Kevin replied wondering what he could say to help her deal with this loss of someone that obviously meant a lot to her. “Daddy, will you and mommy die and leave me, too?” Kaye asked without warning. “I am only a kid, how am I gonna take care of myself? Will I become homeless like those people downtown and on TV? I don’t want to eat from a trash can. Nobody cares about you when you are homeless. Nobody loves you!” “Wow! Kaye you have asked some tough questions and made some heavy hitting statements. Where does daddy begin?” Kevin replied, sending a silent prayer upward for guidance. Guy and Kevin Deciding to postpone any further talk on this new project until Kevin got back, Stewart went back to his office. This gave Guy time to catch his breath and actually start his work day with a more normal routine. He opened the blinds behind his desk after he closed his office door behind Stewart. At first glance, it was not obvious that he was the owner and founder of the company, but the plaque on the door gave it away every time. He was different from most of his counterparts, though. He was well respected and received by mostly all those he met in the business world. As he shuffled through the CDs loaded in the ten disk-CD changer, he flipped through the papers in a file located on his desk. The smooth, relaxing sound of instrumentals filled the airways. This was one of his favorite parts of the day; confirming that he and his business partners had made the best choice for their clients. Atmosphere should have been my middle name, he thought. He and his partners were at the top of their game when it came to creating an atmosphere through inspirational background music for their business cliental. In their humble beginnings, most thought his idea creating ambiance and supporting brand identity through mood music was unheard of, especially his father; but it turned out to be quite a lucrative business. PROOF PROOF Guy-Near Hit PROOF 19 Guy was one of the few employers that referred to his employees as business partners. He figured if they were gracious enough to invest in the company’s stock, then daily open appreciation should be an expected given from their leader. This was just one of his many ways he gave back and set the tone for a happy and comfortable work environment in his own business. In his mind, it began with him but they were all indispensable. He respected them all realizing that without their individual input there would be no company. His attitude helped motivate them all to go above and beyond and continually think outside the box. Office morale was high because to Guy everybody was somebody important. Thinking of how grateful he was for his partners, brought his thoughts back to Kevin and the phone call he had received from his daughter’s school. Guy wondered if everything was alright and remembered a few weeks ago when Kevin had received another call from his wife concerning his kids at school. “Hey Guy, hate to bother you but looks like I’m responsible for the kids car pool today. Or should I say we are responsible?” Kevin said with a knowing smile. “Kathy will be stuck at the dentist and it does not look like she will finish in time for the car pool. Do you mind taking me by the kid’s school for the pickup and then swinging by to drop them off with one of the other moms until Kathy can pick up Kaye? I really appreciate it!” Before Guy could officially respond, Kevin was out the door knowing his friend would not turn down his request. “Hey, wait a minute,” Guy called after him, “what’s wrong with your car?” “Remember I told you I had to return the old lease car today? The new one will not be delivered until tomorrow morning,” Kevin responded, his voice echoing as he headed down the hallway to his own office. “By the way, don’t forget you are driving us to the grand opening tonight, too. I promise to be ready by sevenish.” Shaking his head, but not really upset by the turn of events, Guy remembered how he and Kevin had first met. Not only were they business partners but they were longtime friends. Guy and Kevin met in college and became instant friends. Guy had assumed the 6’3”, blue-eyed, blonde rich kid was some spoiled brat without a clue about life or hard work. But he’d found out that was far from the truth. Kevin was no stranger to hard work. He had dreams and a passion for structural and architectural design, and knew early on that his life would somehow be an avenue to express that. Kevin’s presence and friendship kind of filled an area that Guy’s dad was too busy to fill. To date Kevin still was one of the most genuine guys PROOF Father, Then The Eyes Can See PROOF PROOF 20 he’d ever met; one whose family wealth and influence hadn’t wrecked or ruined him as a kid. Kevin actually managed to live a balanced and peaceful life; which was quite refreshing for Guy. Meeting a kid like that his first week of college was priceless for him and had developed into their business partnership. Mr. Hughes’ Grand Opening Bringing himself back to the present, Guy decided he’d better do some work on the next grand opening. They’d all been quite pleased with the latest grand opening. They now had four cardinal accounts and all of them perfectly satisfied clients. They’d expected their latest client, Mr. Hughes to be meticulous and he was. He’d wanted to be involved and included in the entire process from start to finish. Mr. Hughes took part in all of his contracts, and though he could sometimes be difficult to have around, his presence kept the partners on point, reminding them to think two steps ahead. It also reminded them to stay abreast to the latest trends. Mr. Hughes was notorious for the unexpected in the business world. His last project had definitely been an outside the box experience. Who would have thought to put a floor to ceiling tank of rare and exotic coral, stones, and other sea life in the center of a room making it the focal point no matter where you were seated? Who would make such a luxurious investment in a small secluded remote part of the world as a surprise anniversary gift to his wife? Well, that would be Mr. Hughes. This project with Mr. Hughes would market and advertise the partners for years and years to come. This would definitely be a good thing to work on until Kevin returned from his meeting at Kaye’s school. As he picked up Mr. Hughes’ file, he wondered how things were going at Kevin’s parent/teacher meeting. Kevin, Kathy, and Kaye Kathy had no problem finding the water fountain; there were even tiny cups in a dispenser nearby. She first took a couple of sips herself then she partially filled a tiny cup for Kaye. On her way back to the library, she ran into Mrs. Cuppard. “How is Kaye feeling? Is she going to be alright?” her teacher asked with concern. “Yes, we believe so. She wanted to speak with her father in private. Though she is full of questions right now, I think she is going to be fine. Were there any other children affected this way?” Kathy asked. PROOF PROOF Guy-Near Hit PROOF 21 “Not from what we can tell so far,” Mrs. Cuppard answered. “All of the other children seemed to be fine. However, the school secretary is putting a letter together as we speak that will go home with the students advising parents of the events surrounding Grandpa Greene’s death. It will also inform parents of the briefing shared here with the students today. We’d much rather the teachers deliver this type of news to the class instead of one of the students.” “Yes, I think that is the best way,” Kathy replied. “Again, my husband and I both thank you for calling us, Mrs. Cuppard. I am going to head back to the library and check on Kaye and Kevin now.” “You are welcome Mrs. Koole. I hope Kaye’s day will soon get brighter,” her teacher said as they went their separate ways. “So do we,” Kathy respond before turning to make her way back to the library. Before Kathy could reach the library, Kevin and Kaye were in the hallway headed in her direction. They told Kathy they had stopped by the office and signed Kaye out for the rest of the day. “Here is your water, Doll,” Kathy said handing the small cup to her daughter and looking over her head at Kevin. “Thank you, Mommy,” Kaye replied as she reached for the water. As they headed for the exit, Kevin managed to make eye contact with Kathy over Kaye’s head. He gave his wife a comforting nod letting her know that Kaye would be fine. When they reached the parking lot Kaye reached for her mother’s hand while turning to give a send-off kiss to her dad. “See you later Daddy, Mommy and I are going to see my Grace,” Kaye said as she waved good-bye to Kevin. This was something she had called Grace Adam, Stewart’s wife ever since she was a baby. “But we are not even sure she is free today,” Kathy turned to Kaye and said. “Will you please call her Mommy, I really want to see her and the baby,” Kaye pleaded with her mother. “Well, you two be safe and have fun with whatever you decide to do,” Kevin said as he turned to go, “I will be at the office until about seven if you need me.” “See you later,” Mother and daughter said almost in unison as they waved good-bye. As Kevin took a few minutes to check his messages before he drove off, he saw Guy had called asking him to give them a call as he was on his way back to the office. As Kevin pulled out of Kaye’s school, he gave Guy a call to let him know he was in route and should be there shortly. PROOF Father, Then The Eyes Can See PROOF PROOF 22 As soon as he had ended the call, Kevin lost control of his vehicle. After running off the road and spinning around a few times, the vehicle finally came to a stop with the back bumper resting against a tree. Once Kevin realized he was okay, he got out to check the vehicle for damage. He found the spin out had been caused when the back left tire blew out. There had been no cars on the road at the time of the incident for which Kevin was extremely grateful. He sat there for a minute longer to allow his heart rate to slow to a more normal pace before setting about changing the tire. Kevin walked away without a scratch and thanked God for keeping him safe. Though it was very scary for a moment, he was calm now and glad to see that the vehicle had only suffered minor damages. Once the tire was changed, Kevin was off to the office. He found he had quite a lot to think about during his drive realizing just how much he had been taking for granted. Between the tire blow out and the heavy questions Kaye had asked him back at the school, he began to wonder if he had done everything possible to take care of Kathy and his family if something were to happen to him. Did he have everything in order financially in the event that something unexpected happened? Would Kathy be able to find a real job? Would she even be able to work a traditional nine to five and still take care of Kaye and any other children they might have in the future? His thoughts expanded from financially to was he prepared spiritually? Did he even believe in either Heaven or Hell? If he did, where had he been preparing to go? Had he been making any kind of spiritual preparations? Did he really need to ask himself that question? Kaye’s questions had made him realize that in her young mind, it was passed time to do something about it and remove any question marks; and she was right! He needed to do a lot of things differently. One of the first things he needed to figure out was what his plan of attack would be. What more did he need to do for his family? Pulling up in the office parking lot Kevin had transitioned in his thoughts to an even broader view of Kaye’s questions about the homeless in their city. He sat in his vehicle for a minute before entering the office. He really wanted Guy and Stewart’s support and hoped that the slight change he was proposing was workable. He’d have to look at the numbers to see if they were spreading themselves too thin, but he felt in his heart this was the direction these new projects needed to go. They were only a five-year-old company. Could they afford to do charity work right now? Well there is only one-way to find out, he told himself as he exited the vehicle. PROOF PROOF Guy-Near Hit PROOF 23 Guy and Stewart had been talking about Saturday’s brunch menu and the upcoming church program that would follow. Stewart was describing the menu when Kevin walked in. “I am a little late but thank God I made it and in one piece!” Kevin declared. Surprised, Guy and Stewart looked at each other and then at Kevin’s dirty clothes. “Kathy on strike or something, what happened to your shirt?” Guy asked teasingly. “Oh, just a little blowout and a minor run in with a very big tree, that’s all,” Kevin answered. “What, is everything okay?” Stewart asked realizing this was not a joke. “Were you in the vehicle alone?” “Yes and Yes! I Thank God Kaye decided to ride with Kathy and the car sustained only minor damage,” Kevin assured them. “My clothes are the only casualty.” “Well, we are glad you are here, safe, and sound!” declared Stewart. “I am glad to see you here in one piece,” Guy added sincerely. “Well okay, let’s not make this some soggy conversation about my tire ordeal, let’s just go forth with this meeting. So what do we have here?” Kevin asked as he pulled up a chair. They closed the door, pulled out a couple of notepads and began sharing their different ideas. Starting with Stewart. Grace Kathy had called ahead and Stewart’s wife Grace was more than happy to have them stop by for a visit. Her pregnancy was causing her to have to cut way back on work and drives by herself. She welcomed their company and had prepared one of Kaye’s favorite snacks as she awaited their arrival. “Hello,” two voices called out as Kathy and Kaye entered the house with a sweet emphases on the hello. “Hello ladies, come on in,” Grace welcomed from her chair. “How are you both doing today?” Kathy gave Grace a gentle don’t-be-worried but concerned look with her, “I think my day was a lot better than Kaye’s.” Grace suggested Kaye check out the kitchen for her surprise as Kathy discreetly shared what had happened at school. Often Grace would have something new or different going on in the kitchen. Kaye’s eagerness to try and spot the latest addition gave Kathy just enough time to fill Grace in before they caught up with her in the kitchen. PROOF Father, Then The Eyes Can See PROOF PROOF 24 “Have you ever had anyone you know die, My Grace?” Kaye asked as soon as they were all in the kitchen together. “Well, let me think. Does a pet gold fish count?” Grace asked. “I guess it sort of counts,” Kaye respond, “But I am talking about a real person.” “Well, I guess that is different, Sweetie,” Grace said carefully wanting to be accurate and true with her answer. “I tell you what; let me come back to that one in a little while, okay? But right now, I have a special snack for you.” “Okay,” Kaye replied. They made themselves comfortable around the island in the kitchen with a glass of orange juice and one of Kaye’s favorite “My Grace” snacks. They talked all afternoon and into the evening. Before they knew it, it was 6:45 p.m., and Grace still hadn’t decided what she, Stewart, and now her two guests would have for dinner. Speaking of their husbands, Kathy mentioned she thought it was odd that Kevin hadn’t called her yet. “You know you are right,” Grace added, “I haven’t heard from Stewart either. Let’s give them a call and see if they’ll bring us take-out!” “Great idea, My Grace!” Kaye said with so much enthusiasm that they all suddenly realized they were very hungry. Stewart and Grace It appeared to be one of those mornings she’d been told most pregnant women had to experience. Grace had been up now for at least two hours. She’d spent that time walking, talking, singing, and praying over her soon to be first born. She even spent a few moments watching Stewart sleep. As the baby finally settled down, she returned to bed next to her husband. After only ninety minutes, it was time for Grace to get up to have breakfast prepared and ready so they could eat before going to church. As she worked around the kitchen she spoke softly to her unborn child, “This is a horrible breakfast, I cannot believe I complied with his request.” When Stewart made his way to the kitchen, he found baked pork chops, rice with a little gravy, biscuits, and sweet tea. As he sat down to eat he noticed Grace easing off to the side and away from the kitchen table. “Grace, sweetie, why am I eating alone?” he asked concern for his very pregnant wife obvious in his voice. “I don’t know, for some reason I just do not have a taste for what I cooked. It’s odd I don’t seem to have an appetite at all, just a funny feeling in my stomach…,” but before she could finish her response she PROOF PROOF Guy-Near Hit PROOF 25 motioned with her pointer finger as she rushed to the powder room where she spent the next twelve minutes. Moments like these were unbearable for Stewart feeling he should be able to sooth his wife’s discomfort, but all he could do was stand by and ask what he felt was a silly question, “Honey, are you all right? Is there something I can do?” Grace, knowing how this made him feel, always responded, “Sure Love, will you come hold my hand?” Even though she really wanted to be left alone, she always found some way to reassure him or remind him how much she loved and needed him. It was so late by the time Stewart and Grace made it to church that morning that they sat at the back to keep from disturbing the flow of service by looking for a seat toward the front. The Pastor acknowledged their presence advising those in the back to be on the lookout for Sister Grace as she could deliver her baby any minute now. He asked them all to be on alert in the event she had to make a sudden dash for the door and clear her path. Most of the men chuckled but sympathy and an understanding sigh was heard from most of the women in the congregation as the Pastor continued with his message titled, “God’s Perfect Timing.” As Stewart pulled the car into their driveway, Stewart wondered why his very pregnant wife had been so quiet all the way home from church. Usually they discussed the Pastor’s message but today Grace had seemed so far away. He’d decided to let her think through whatever it was; knowing she would share her thoughts with him when she was ready. “Honey, don’t you move,” Stewart said as he got out of the car and walked quickly around to the passenger side door. Grace gave no response even when Stewart opened the passenger door to assist her out of the vehicle. She did not even acknowledge his presence or the fact that her door had opened. “Grace?” Stewart gently called. She blinked and turned to him, “Stewart, how long have you been standing there?” “Not long,” Stewart said, then asked, “Where were you just then?” As if she was picking up where her thoughts had left off, Grace surprised him by asking, “Do you ever think about Guy and the family that was stripped away from him?” “Well, yes, from time to time. Why do you ask?” Stewart responded wondering what had brought that on. “I often think about it and pray for Guy and his family, but for some reason today I just think that there is something in the making. I just feel PROOF Father, Then The Eyes Can See PROOF PROOF 26 it so strong and so close as if I could reach out and touch it. I don’t know Stewart, no news is supposed to be good news right? I know we’ve not heard from Samantha or any word regarding them, but I have prayed for a reunion and that it’s not too late for Guy to have a family, his family. I believe that the same God who created all and raised Lazarus from the dead can give Guy not only the answers he needs, but mend the shattered pieces of his heart as well. I believe God can restore his family no matter where they are.” Stewart took advantage of the break in Grace’s dialogue and gently reached for her hand, “Okay Grace, let’s get you in the house. We can finish our discussion inside.” “Don’t you think that this can happen for him, Stewart?” Grace persisted. “I didn’t say that,” Stewart replied wondering how she had discerned his doubt so easily. As if reading his mind, Grace continued, “It is what you didn’t say that disappoints me. Doesn’t your friend deserve the same peace and happiness that you have? Doesn’t he deserve to come home to a family anticipating his arrival after a full day of work? Doesn’t he deserve to have someone to live for? He is your friend and he’s obviously still in pain. Can’t you see that?” Obviously disappointed in his response, Grace ignored Stewart’s offer to help her out of the car and walks sadly into their house. As Stewart watched his wife disappear into the house, a light drizzle of rain began to fall. “Hmm, a little rain for the just and the unjust?” Stewart said as he looked up at the sky. “God, why are things so obvious to Grace but not to me? What am I doing wrong or not doing right? Please show me what I need to do to help my friend find the answers to the question marks that have divided his family.” As Stewart looked at his beautiful home, thought of his beautiful wife, and the child that would soon fill his life with laughter, he was almost ashamed for being so blessed by God. Suddenly the weather changed and the rain really started coming down hard. Hearing the rain on the window, Grace pulled back the curtain to see what was taking Stewart so long to enter the house. Watching him stand there looking upward, into the falling rain let her know that his ears were now open, and that God was speaking to him. Grabbing the umbrella, Grace opened the door and walks out to escort him into the dry warm house. PROOF PROOF Guy-Near Hit PROOF 27 As they approached the steps, Grace turned to her husband, “Everything okay?” Stewart kissed Grace’s cheek as he answered, “Yes. I know what I need to do.” As he caressed her chin and looked into her eyes, he whispered, “Thank you for helping me. I love you, Grace.” Stewart kissed the tip of her nose as he backed away, “I know exactly where I need to start, but next time can you go a little easier on me?” Grace raised her eyebrow as she said softly, “I love you, too.” As they prepared for bed that evening, Grace told Stewart to wake her before he left for work in the morning. They both knew she would more than likely be asleep by the time he made it to bed. He had some things to think about, to evaluate, and meditate on. He wanted to and needed to pray. Stewart and Guy It had been a while since Guy had had a morning like this. It seemed so hard for him to pull himself out of bed and get a jump on the day. He felt like his home life was standing still; as if he was walking in place. Even though business was awesome, the partners were on point across the board, and everyone in the office was on track with the same focus and goal, his heart felt heavy, and he didn’t know why. He had gotten so good at masquerading his true feelings that he’d almost convinced himself that he was okay. But today it felt like he had finally come to the end of his rope. He was weak and had run out of fuel. He could no longer travel through day-to-day life on fumes and residue. He could no longer push against that concrete wall. He had no strength. He was tired of being cheated by just going through the motions of life. Guy was emotionally and physically done and feeling very thin mentally. He was losing his desire for work, even for life. The goals he had set for himself did not seem as important anymore. He was beginning to wonder what he was living for. The business was operating so well that the partners wouldn’t even miss him. He was to the point of surveying what he was filling his life with and asking himself just how important these things were. Without realizing it, he was standing in front of the door that led to the basement. It had been such a long time since Guy had even opened that door. It was one of her favorite places in the house. Why was he even still living in this house? he thought as he slowly walked down the narrow stairwell. It’s just a house. It had been over four years since it felt PROOF Father, Then The Eyes Can See PROOF PROOF 28 like a home. So long ago that he couldn’t really remember what it felt like to live in a home, not just a house. So where could he move to? Would he want to keep in touch with his friends from this chapter of his life? Probably not, just too many reminders of what he had lost. What was the name of that real estate company we contacted when we thought of moving once before? Guy thought as he looked for something to jog his memory. Searching through a small stack of papers, he saw the brochure: “T.R.T…The Right Time for the Right Real Estate.” He found the number and called but no one answered. As he looked at his watch to verify the time, he heard a recording asking him to leave a call back number and T.R.T. Real Estate Company would get back to him. Suddenly a voice from upstairs distracted him and he hung up before leaving a message. “Hello, Guy? It’s Stewart, where are you buddy?” Stewart called as he walked down the hallway looking for his friend. He noticed the opened basement door which surprised him because Guy had long ago made it clear that this door was to stay closed. No one was permitted to even think about entering the basement since the ordeal four years ago. Guy put on his best “strong man, everything is fine face” and began to walk up the steps when Stewart peeped in the doorway calling out to him. “Guy, are you down there?” “Hey, Wart, what are you doing here?” Guy called out, stopping Stewart mid-statement as he reached the top of the steps. Expecting Stewart’s usual complaint about not liking that nickname, Guy was surprised when instead Stewart asked him if everything was okay. “Sure!” was all Guy could muster, feeling like he’d been caught doing something bad by even thinking of selling the place. “Great, I thought we could just car pool this morning. I’ll just wait for you in the kitchen,” Stewart said as he made his way to the kitchen and got the coffee started. “On the way to the office I need to tell you about this project I been developing. I want to run it by you and then present it to the other partners if you feel it will fly,” Stewart called to Guy as he headed for the shower. “Breakfast will be ready by the time you get out of the shower!” Now that Stewart had invaded his home, Guy had no choice but to make himself start the day. He took a suit from the closet and jumped in the shower. How dare Stewart interrupt his morning and just show up like this and just when he’d decided it was time to move on with life by running away from all his memories and disappearing. He grumbled to himself. Oh, well, I sure can’t do it today with Stewart there fixing me breakfast in my own PROOF PROOF Guy-Near Hit PROOF 29 kitchen! He decided he would just drown what he could in the shower, and whatever was left of those thoughts he would just have to deal with later. Stewart was well aware Guy wasn’t too happy to see him this morning, but that was okay. He knew he had his work cut out for him. Since he had insisted on driving, he felt he had some control over the situation. Somehow he knew this was the day for difficult and not so easy conversations so he jumped in with both feet without testing the waters. “Guy, do you think about your family?” Stewart said watching to gauge Guy’s reaction. Though Guy seemed to be fighting tears, Stewart pressed on knowing it was now or never, “Do you really believe that Samantha is gone forever?” Now noticing the tears streaming down Guy’s face, Stewart knew he had hit the right spot. All Guy could manage to offer Stewart was eye contact and a shake of his head. His chest was so heavy he almost felt breathless; no words were possible. How did Stewart know that just this morning he had been asking himself those same questions? Noticing a familiar yet different scene, Guy continued to sit in silence. This was not the normal route to the office. Stewart started making small talk about the project he had been working on to give Guy a chance to catch his breath and to distract him from the real mission for this morning. “Okay, picture this,” Stewart said with a flare for the dramatic, “A themed restaurant with themed seating, three gourmet chefs—one who specializes in soups and salads, a second who makes the most amazing desserts and pastries, and a third that specializes in main dishes. It is made 100% fresh, meals to order, all natural and as organic as possible. It would be a family restaurant, meaning no alcohol and no smoking. It would also offer Saturday and Sunday buffet brunches, superb non-alcoholic drinks, exotic teas, coffees, and juices. That’s my part. So what music would you line up to set the atmosphere for such an exotic place?” Stewart asked. All the while Stewart was rambling on about this new project, he was heading for a place Guy had taken him to one evening five years ago after a long day at the office. It was a small amazing neighborhood right outside of the city! It was the perfect combination of country living with reasonable access to the city. Guy had excitedly explained to Stewart how he had started working on this home project when he found out his wife was pregnant. It was completely furnished with furniture they had handpicked together though Samantha didn’t know it yet. After studying the neighborhood, Guy had hired a local publisher to put together a pamphlet of the homes PROOF Father, Then The Eyes Can See PROOF PROOF 30 within a two-block radius of the community. The detailed booklet included panoramic views of each home listed, room by room. It listed every feature about each room down to the smallest detail. So when Samantha looked through what she thought was just another home booklet, she was actually picking out the home they would raise their family in. Every weekend for almost three months they would pick a room from the home she had chosen and hunt for furniture. They use to call it, “Dream Saturday.” Now as Stewart drove into that neighborhood, for Guy it was like driving backwards in time. It was a whole different world of old yet fresh memories. Why had Stewart brought him here on the same morning when he had contemplated selling the old house and wondered where to go when he did? “You know Guy, I wish Grace didn’t love the city so much. I would love to raise the family here,” Stewart said as they cruised slowly through the neighborhood. Some yards were filled with flowers, some had trees cascading over the driveway. There were some homes that were almost hidden by manicured and well sculpted trees while other yards were decorated with toys or bikes and occupied by energetic children laughing and playing. “Turn in this driveway on the right,” Guy suddenly commanded as if he had just awakened from a daydream and realized where they were. They turn into the driveway of a model home, with two cars parked in the driveway. There was a small bell hanging above the doorway, which alerted the person in the back, as they entered the foyer. “I’ll be right out,” a voice called out from the backroom. When the woman surfaced she greeted the gentlemen with a welcoming hello. But as she shook hands with Guy she lingered a little moment as if he was familiar to her. Suddenly realizing that he was the owner of the home in which they were standing she said, “Mr. Shepherd, have you come to take the keys to your lovely home? You wouldn’t believe the daily compliments we receive on the job you and your wife have done with decorating. I’m going to hate to leave this place.” Before she could completely finish speaking a small voice seemed to come from behind the woman, “You are Kaye’s daddy aren’t you?” “No, Kaye’s dad is Kevin, but I will be a daddy really soon,” Stewart answered as he knelt down to talk with the little girl. “Forgive me, I recognize you but I do not remember your name.” “My name is Liz. I play on the same team with Kaye,” she answered. “And you are Uncle Guy right?” PROOF PROOF Guy-Near Hit PROOF 31 Guy smiled and nodded as he bent down to shake her hand, “Hello Liz, good to see you again.” The real estate agent apologized for her daughter being in a place of business as she ushered her back into the kitchen, “Finish your snack dear so mommy can talk to these gentlemen.” Guy and Stewart assured her that it was okay and that she had no reason to worry. The agent and Stewart followed along as Guy initiated his own self-guided tour throughout the house. “Have either of you met my husband, Liz’s dad?” the agent asked as she offered small talk to fill the space of silence. “He is normally the one that attends her games. My schedule is so unpredictable I think I’ve only made two games this year. Mr. Shepherd, is your child on the team as well?” Before Guy could respond, Stewart asked about the agent’s career, husband, and her family. Busy questions like how long she’d been in real estate, how she got started, and stuff like that which pretty much took them throughout the entire tour of the house. When they came to the child’s room, Stewart suggested that he and the agent go and check out the back yard. As they walked off, the agent began to tell Stewart about all of the wonders found in the home beginning with the backyard. Guy entered the child’s room stopping in the center of it as the tears rolled down his face. As he knelt down to take a seat on the floor, Liz entered. “I’m sorry for moving your toy, I was gonna bring it back before I left today,” she shared as she handed it to him. “Why are you crying?” she asked as she softly placed her small hand on his back. Just then Stewart and the real estate agent returned to the kitchen and the agent called out to her, “Liz, where are you sweetie?” “Coming, Mommy,” Liz responded as she headed back toward the kitchen. Guy stopped in the bathroom for a moment to clean his face on his way to the kitchen. “You’ll be hearing from me soon,” he said as he waved good-bye to the agent, tapped Stewart on the shoulder, and headed quickly for the door. “We got to go Stewart, now!” Stewart bid both Liz and the agent a good day and followed Guy out to the car. Guy decided to pick up on the project conversation from earlier and leave the emotions of visiting the “house” behind for now. PROOF Father, Then The Eyes Can See PROOF PROOF 32 “Okay Stewart, how much of a cut are we talking?” Guy asked, “You know that was going to be one of the first questions the partners are going to ask when we present this to them.” “What cut are you talking about?” Stewart replied innocently. As Guy gets into the vehicle and clicks on the seat belt he responded, “Come on, you know what I am talking about.” “Oh, that cut,” Stewart replies. “Well, I’m glad you asked….” As they made their way back to the city, Stewart filled Guy in on the project knowing he had fulfilled his mission for the day. Guy had a lot more to think about and Stewart knew he was supposed to be around to help guide him through. Grace knew that Stewart was picking up Guy on the way to the office this morning in response to what God was leading him to do. Guy had been on Grace’s mind, but she could not totally explain why or why now after almost five years. She kept hearing, It’s not over until God says it’s over, repeating softly in the quiet corner of her mind. Not being sure of what it all meant, she prayed even more for Guy and the rest of the Shepherd family. She knew something was happening, but she wasn’t sure what that something was. Grace decided to give Kathy a call and invite the family to the upcoming program at the church. Kathy gave her an unofficial yes saying she had to double check with Kevin. Then the two spent a couple of minutes catching up before ending the call. She hadn’t heard from Stewart and decided to try and reach him at Guy’s. No one answered so she just left an encouraging message. Feeling she had done all that the Lord had directed, Grace felt at peace and decided she had time for a quick nap. It was about 12:45 in the afternoon when Stewart and Guy reached the city. While Stewart called to check in with his assistant, Guy decided to do the same. Everything seemed fine so they said they’d be there in about an hour. Stewart asked Guy if he wanted to stop by the house for anything before they got to the office. Guy decided he wanted to pick up his own vehicle since he had two stops to make after work. As Stewart pulled into the driveway, he asked Guy, “Are we okay? Are you okay? Don’t repeat this to anyone but I really care about you. I know you have been through a lot and I’m sorry I haven’t been a better friend.” As Guy let himself out of the vehicle, he assured Stewart that they had never been better. As he closed the door, Guy leaned in the window, thanked him and then added, “To answer your earlier questions; Yes, I think about my family all the time. No, even after almost five years my heart of hearts just won’t PROOF PROOF Guy-Near Hit PROOF 33 let me believe that Samantha is lost forever. That’s why I’ve kept that house we were just in. I couldn’t sell it, but I just couldn’t move in without her. There are some things I need to do and some changes I want to make, but you don’t know how much today helped me. I love you, too, man!” Guy realized as he entered the kitchen for a snack that he really did feel a lot better. Then he noticed the telephone was flashing the message light. He pressed play and listened to his messages as he grabbed a quick snack for the road. Message #1 the machine voice said: “Hi Guy, this is Grace. Did you kidnap my husband? He hasn’t called me all day. Just joking, but I am calling to invite you to a program Saturday. Meet us here at the house Saturday for brunch and we will ride over together. Okay Sweetie, we love you, see you Saturday.” Message #2: Guy could hear a TV or music in the background as well as someone apparently walking around in a room. Just before Guy pushed the erase button, a distant voice said, “It’s only me An…” and then it cut off. “Man, kids and phones,” he whispered to himself as he headed to the garage for his car.

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