Jonathan and Skyla were having breakfast together one morning; it was two days after Tony’s brush with death. They hadn’t spoken of it. Skyla thought it was a good sign and wasn’t going to bother bringing it up.
“Good morning, sunshine,” Skyla said to Maya who had dragged herself out of bed.
She groaned and managed to greet them with her lips barely moving. Jonathan smirked. He recognized that look from his own days of drinking all night. Heh, at least she waited until she was of legal age.
“Can I get you something?” Skyla asked carefully.
Maya shook her head.
Jonathan was finished eating and gathered their plates to put in the dishwasher. “You need to eat something, honey. You’ll feel better faster.”
“I don’t know what happened, daddy. I don’t remember having that many.”
He chuckled. “Well, Maya, if you don’t remember, that’s probably a good sign that you had a lot more than you think.”
“Ugh. I don’t want to drink that much ever again!”
Her parents were doubtful but hoped she learned something.
“Excuse me, ladies.” He stepped outside.
Skyla finished the dishes, got dressed, and went after him.
“What’s going on?”
He looked askance. “I need to go see someone…”
It didn’t take her long to realize who the someone was. Anyone else he would have called by name or even invited her to come.
“No,” she said.
He knew why she would be upset, but there was no way he could explain his need for this.
“Why do you want to put yourself through this again?”
She hadn’t yelled at him in such a long time. The last time, she was in pain. He wasn’t trying to hurt her and wished she could see things the way he saw them.
“Sky, I know. Ok? But…I just have to. It’s different this time.”
She looked like she wanted to cry. “I just don’t want him to hurt you again! The way you were…I don’t want to see you like that again.”
“Oh, Sky. I’m fine. It’s in the past. He can’t hurt me again.”
“So leave it in the past! Why do you have to talk to him now?”
“I…I don’t know. I just have to. I guess…I just want to know why.”
She looked in his eyes and hoped to find some kind of assurance that he was strong enough to handle a confrontation with Tony, but she was doubtful.
“Hey.” He grabbed her shoulders. “It’s going to be ok. I’m a better person because of this. Heh, in a strange way I should thank him…but I’m not. I’m sure he’s a different person now too. He’s older…hopefully wiser. We’re just gonna talk. Just two guys…not enemies…ok?”
“Ok,” she said sheepishly. “I love you, Jonathan.”
“I love you too, Sky. It’s gonna be fine. I’ll be home soon.”
Jonathan left his home and put on a brave face for his journey to Newcrest; he hadn’t been there since the last time. No one was around, but he still felt nervous about showing his face in that neighborhood. Just around the corner was his first restaurant. He hoped Tony had sold it or torn it down otherwise the building would need to be condemned. The rotting food left there surely would have been a health hazard to the community.
Standing on the porch peering in the door at the family heirloom caused mixed emotions to creep up. He was transported back to the moment when he finally realized what Tony had done. He was tempted to feel the anger again, but he took a deep breath and knocked. You don’t define my family, he said inwardly to the statue. You’re just an external display…a tangible representation of how we’re registered by law.
Jonathan waited and knocked a few more times but got no answer. He didn’t know Tony’s wife, and the son should have been in school. He turned around and shrugged. Perhaps he could get the courage to come back another day if the reaper would tarry. When he turned around to go back home, something shiny in the front yard caught his attention.
Hot angry tears wet his face. He had been avoiding Tony all these years. And, when Tony tried to confront him a few months ago, Jonathan hid then too. The one time he was brave enough to face the man, the opportunity was stolen…just like his money. But, it wasn’t the money he cared about. He wanted to know how they could go from being best friends to enemies. Was their friendship even real? How did he allow it to happen? Now, he would never know.