It had been four weeks since Terran fell sick. Our life was back on track. Terran had since then neither missed his school nor the OT sessions. I was only happy, he was now as fit as a fiddle.
Quarterly, last Sunday of the third month was our clearing Sunday. We actually went through all our clothes, books and Terran’s toys, to see what to keep, discard or give it to the needy. Unusual, but we both, father and son enjoyed doing it. And today was no different, we were going to do just that.
But first the major task – wake up Terran. I walked in his room, stood at the foot of the bed and nudged his feet. They were tightly covered in his Spiderman duvet.
“Good morning Champ!”
He pulled his feet to himself and continued sleeping.
“Come on Champ, wake up. I have some fun things planned for you.”
“Dad. It’s a Sunday!” He complained without opening his eyes.
“I’m making something yummy for breakfast.”
“What?” He half opened his eyes to peer at me.
“Pancakes, peanut butter and banana shake.”
“Wow! But come back after ten minutes.” He tucked himself in the blanket again. I grinned and sighed.
“Okay. Today’s our quarterly and I guess I’ll have to work all alone.” That would surely stir him up. I headed to the kitchen. I thought of first putting the breakfast together before waking him up again.
Half an hour later, the table was set. Just as I was about to go to Terran’s room, he came out rubbing his sleepy eyes. “Why do you get up so early? It’s a Sunday.”
I went and crouched in front of him, ruffled his hair and rubbed my nose against his.
“So that I can spend more time with my sweetie pie Terran.”
He took a deep breath enjoying the whiff drifting from the kitchen. “Pancakes!?!”
He threw his arms around me and said, “ I love you dad!”
I hugged him back and kissed his forehead.
“Love you too Champ.” These were the moments I lived for.
We sat for breakfast. I had spread the peanut butter on his pancake and he was savouring it. He started eating with his hands. That’s because he was still not comfortable using a fork and knife together. I wanted him to learn.
“Terran, baby, use the fork and knife.”
“Dad please. I don’t like the fork.”
“You don’t like or you can’t?”
“Same thing dad.”
“You are my Champ and I want you to learn everything. Okay? Come on let’s try.”
I went around behind him, put the fork and knife in his hands, and guided my hands on his. I showed him how to do it and helped him with three bites. “See, it’s that simple.”
I came back to my chair. He was clumsy, but at least he was trying. When he finished the first pancake, he looked at me pleadingly with his infamous puppy eyes.
“Can I please eat the second one with my hands. With the fork I forgot the taste of the pancake.”
I laughed my lungs out.
“Okay, go ahead.” I was still grinning.
“We will start with my toys.”
He said in between bites. From an early age, I wanted Terran to have all the values which my parents had inculcated in me. I wanted him to experience the joy of giving.
“Perfect. Then your books and clothes.”
“And then your stuff.”
“Yes, and while I’m shuffling through my things, I want you to read me a good story. Is that fine?”
His reading had definitely improved and he was more confident than before. Though he wasn’t reading what an actual 11 year old should. He was far behind. But with his condition, he had made remarkable progress. All thanks to his school and Hannah.
We spent the next one hour, segregating all his things. Terran was a generous boy and not overly possessive about most things. I let him choose what he wanted to keep and what he wanted to give away. A few times I intervened to reason out otherwise.
When his stuff was done, we both wanted a break. He ran to the kitchen, climbed his chair stool and brought out the cookie jar while I poured some juice for both of us. We strolled in the living room and sat down to watch one of his favourite shows.
“Dad, now I know the whole sto’y of Aladdin.”
“Really? Without help?”
“Yes without help.”
“Bravo! Give me a high five.” We clapped. It was certainly Hannah’s doing.
We were not seeing Hannah just at the institute or at the park, but very often, she came home as well. We sometimes relished an evening snack and at other times she stayed over for dinner. She had automatically become an extended family and all three of us felt it. I had stopped having a tug of war with my heart and it was now easier to enjoy our time together.
Every now and then, mom and Justin wanted to have an update on my progress with Hannah. I dodged them with, “I’m still thinking, I need time.”
I seriously wanted them to stop pestering me. I gave vague answers to Justin, but mom smartly got her share of the gossip from Terran.
While I was clearing my closet, Terran read two stories from the Pepper series for me. As usual ‘R’ words were a problem and I literally had to peep in the book to see what he meant. He needed help with a few difficult words here and there and I kept questioning him in between to see if he really understood the story. I was proud that his development was truly praiseworthy.
We finally packed everything and kept the boxes in the living room. We had bought an assortment of chocolates, cookies and box games to give away along with this.
When I sat on the couch, Terran propped up next to me.
I took him in my lap and he asked excitedly,
“Can we invite Ms. Hannah to come with us?”
“To the orphanage?”
“Yes. She can come with us ‘ight?”
I liked the idea and flashed him a dazzling smile. “Why not. Good idea. But we first need to ask her.”
“Let’s do it now.” He hopped out of my lap and ran and brought my mobile from where it was getting charged.
He looked at me expectantly while I waited for Hannah to pick up the phone. She came on line with the fourth ring.
I liked my name in her voice. “Hello Hannah, how are you?”
“I’m fine, bored actually.”
“I live alone and am very organized most of the time, so there’s practically nothing to do.”
She wasn’t boasting, but just said simply.
“You don’t have any hobbies?”
Something which I still didn’t know, even after a couple of months of knowing her.
“I love reading and I write sometimes.”
“Really? That’s nice. What do you write?”
“I just put down my thoughts on paper and occasionally they sound poetic.”
She giggled and it was pleasing to my ears.
“I’m sure it must be worth reading.”
“I doubt.” she said wearily.
“Hannah. You are far more talented than you give yourself credit for.”
“I used to give credit to myself only for one thing.”
“And what is that?”
“I loved to play the piano.”
“And why not now?”
“Because now I don’t have. I sometimes play in the church.”
“Don’t you have any friends?”
“That would be Terran and you.”
“So sweet.” I was feeling all warm inside.
Terran was getting impatient and was irritated by now.
“Dad! Ask the main thing?”
I laughed. “Okay….. Hannah, we are going to the orphanage today, to help them in a tiny way we can. Would you like to come with us?”
“How thoughtful! I would love to join you. Should I bring something?” She asked.
I quickly told her what we did quarterly, she was impressed.
“You truly are a great father Grayson.”
“I’m trying.” I said soberly and affixed.
“Alright, be ready, we’ll pick you up at 4 o’clock.”
With that we hung up.
“She’s coming.” I announced to Terran.
“Yes!” He threw a fist in the air and continued watching his show.
After Terran’s illness, Hannah had taken a permanent residence in my heart and mind. I thought a lot about her and I thought a lot of what to do next. Every time we were together, I only got positive vibes from her. Mom was right, the feeling was mutual. It reflected in her smiles and in the way she looked at me. Of course Terran was important, in fact most important. But I wanted Hannah to know that I didn’t want her in our lives just for him or because of him.
I wanted her because I…..
Because I loved her and wanted to share my life with her. I just didn’t know how to tell her.