Monday, April 28, 2014

The Morning Visit (Part 2)

----------------------> Click Here For Part One <--------------------     

        Smith Smith Smith whipped out an assortment of tools from his suitcase. 
        “Now the work begins!”
        “Excuse me?”
        Smith made his way to the bathroom, but hesitated after peeking inside. He turned to Miles. “This needs work.” 
        “Yeah, well, this house is lived in. If you want a clean house, go buy a new one and never live in it.”
        “Don’t brush it off.” Smith’s tone was serious. “The bathroom is horrible. It’s not that it’s dirty, the walls look like they’re corroding. We must renovate this now. Get up and help me.”
        “Smith! If you keep this up, I’m going to take you up on your offer and terminate your visit.”
        Smith beckoned to Miles. “Seriously...have you seen this? There’s mold everywhere and I’m pretty sure those are mouse turds.” He gave Miles a slight grin. “Perhaps you should potty train them.”
        “You really want to do this now?”
        Miles grabbed a drywall saw, then paused, as if thinking, then threw it down and grabbed a hammer instead. 
        A hammer?!
        The hammer broke through the drywall effortlessly. Smith had started demolishing the wall between the bathroom and Miles’ bedroom, thus commencing the morning project.
        Miles watched helplessly as large, white fragments of sheetrock fell to the bathroom floor. Smith didn’t even put a sheet down or put on safety goggles for the job. His reckless destruction--or “renovation,” as Smith would say--made Miles give up trying to contend. He could call the authorities, but Miles didn’t want his house further swamped by intrusive people. Physically attacking Smith was out of question because that would only destroy more furniture and walls. It would also be impolite. He figured all he could do was let Smith have his way.
        “You’ve got some mold too.” Mumbled Smith as he shined a flashlight into the hole in the wall.
        “Yes.” Smith looked over at him. “Look.”
        Miles lazily got up, walked to the bathroom and stooped over to see a nasty strain of black mold growing throughout the interior of the wall. 
        “What do we do?”
        “I’ll do it.” Smith said with a small smile. “Don’t worry.”
        “No, I want to help.” 
        “That’s fine, I got it.”
        “Whatever. I’m not paying you either. Breakfast was enough.”
        “No payment needed.” Smith gave another smile.
        Smith twisted the hammer to the claw side and proceeded to rip out the drywall chunks that clung to the nails. 
        “Yeah...I saw the stained trim but I didn’t think anything needed to be done about it yet.” Miles confessed.
        Smith laughed. “Seriously? There’s water stains on the paneling under the sink, indicative of mold.” He shook his head, still chuckling, and continued removing the drywall. “Besides,” he added, “if you knew what you were doing, you would know that I was doing this wrong.”
        Miles nervously rubbed his head and left the house to get the morning paper. He welcomed the outside air; it was less intrusive than the Annoyance inside. He lingered long at the mailbox, gazing around the landscape, and slowly paced back to the house, buying time. He delayed some more by standing on the front porch to read the entire front page of the paper. Then, he heard something inside that surprised him: silence.
        He opened the door, with new curiosity, to see Smith standing at his bedroom door, staring into Miles’ bedroom. Miles thought about the excessive amount of horse pictures that overwhelmed the walls in the bedroom, and considered them to be the reason for Smith’s present hiatus. 
        “Your nightstand.” Smith said seriously.
        Nightstand? Miles mentally mapped out his nightstand, wondering what could be causing such alarm. “What about it?” He thought about the framed picture of his late wife next to his alarm clock. Besides the alarm clock, a tissue box and an empty cup, the picture was the only thing of significance.
        Smith turned to Miles. His face had lost its original luster. “Is that your wife?”
        I’m not talking about this.
        “Did she die?”
        “In childbirth.” 
        “She liked horses I presume?”
        Miles nodded slowly.
        “Did the child survive?”
        Miles shuffled his feet and pointed to the bathroom. “How do I get rid of the mold?”
        “Was it a boy or girl?”
        “If you need supplies I’ll head to town.” Miles turned to grab the keys from the key-hook.
        Miles grabbed the keys and paused at the doorway with his back to Smith. “He’s with another family now, adopted.”
       He opened the door. “I’ll get the stuff for drywall. If you need tools, there’s some in the garage.” 
        “You couldn't look at your child without seeing her, could you?”
        Miles froze with the door half open.
        “That's why you gave him away.”
        Miles was silent and remained motionless.
        “He still loves you.”
        Miles closed the door and exhaled loudly.
        Not today. Not now.
        “OK. Time to go.” Miles turned and pointed out the door while staring at the floor, since looking at Smith would only welcome regretful behavior. 
        “Before I go,” Smith began in a soft tone, “I need to tell you that he wants a father.”
        “He’s got one. Please leave.”
        Smith hesitated.
        Smith dragged his feet over to the counter and silently began to put his tools away.
        Miles left through the door, getting from Smith. A blue Ford Escape pulled into his driveway as he did so, but he was in no mood for polite conversation, and left this new visitor for Smith to deal with. He quickly marched to the back of the house and collapsed on the patio furniture in sobs. 
        For whatever reason Smith Smith Smith decided to ruin his morning, he succeeded. He shoved his face into the weather-safe cushion and let out a loud wail. The regret of the decision five years ago to give away his newborn son was resurrected with the ill-mouthed, ill-mannered Smith, which prompted Miles to renewed guardedness. He retained his head in the cushion and was formulating ways to impede future visitors, like the current one in the Ford out front, when he felt a hand on his shoulder.
        Miles nearly punched the hand’s owner, assuming it was Smith’s, if it wouldn’t have been so small. With interest, he looked up to see whose it was. A blank-faced child stood next to him. 
        The child’s eyes were undoubtedly his late wife’s, and the nose and mouth resembled his own. 
        The boy stood still. It looked like he wanted to speak but couldn't. 
        Miles stared at his son. The sight made his eyes blur with shock, but now was not the time for a family reunion. He needed to clear things up with the adoption agency and get his son home before he grew attached.
        "Uhh, I need to use the phone. Come inside with me."
        They came in through the back door to see Smith gone. Miles walked towards the counter, trying to remember what the adoption agency was called when he noticed a note on the counter where Smith’s suitcase had been. It read:

Loved the breakfast! To answer the obvious question, Aiden’s adopted parents ended up being drug addicts who got through the application process. They lost custody shortly before he turned two. My wife and I took him under our wing and have been looking for you since. For whatever reason you decided to turtle-up and become reclusive, you succeeded at making it hard for us to find you. My wife dropped me off at your house today so I could establish (i.e., fix any problems with your house--like that mold) Aiden's arrival, but I underestimated your emotions and decided to bring in Aiden before we continue the renovation. By the way, the bathroom is still usable. 

Your man, 
Smith S. Smith

P.S. Call me when (not ‘if’) you need help with that mold :) No hard feelings about how we left! Enjoy the future because it’ll be great.

Miles would forever call Smith Smith Smith his friend, and eventually, he would be able to comfortably call Aiden his son.