Do you find it easy to make new friends? Tell us how you’ve mastered the art of befriending a new person.
One must be careful how to use the term “friend.” There is a degree of trust before I call a person a friend. When I say “friend” it is not meant just a person I know more than casually.
I have many, many friends; many of them dear and loved. The mastery, as suggested, is to be a friend first. I like people. They are wonderful. I like handshakes, smiles, hugs, and embraces. I like long chats over coffee and if not across the table than over the phone. I like tears, laughter, funny stories, and serious concerns.
I have friends far away that I only talk to by phone and I have friends who have died. Every time I think of both groups they are always smiling.
What follows is the 9th installment of the short story The Match. What is unfolding at this time is a deep love that transcends familiarity. It is hard to define and only told by narratives and stories. If you are a first time reader or have only joined in as of late you may want to link back to previous episodes. Nevertheless please enjoy this one.
The Match (Part 9)
Lucinda stood like horse straining to pull a load. Her instincts were to embrace Rusty.
Rusty took a step and held his arms open. Lucinda buried herself in his embrace.
“Oh, Rusty, my Rusty,” Lucinda wailed.
“Mom, my mom,” Rusty said.”
After some sobbing by all three they sat on the couch; Lucinda between Rusty and Sam.
“How did you find us,” Lucinda said. “Was it the donor search. Did you have something to do with this, Sam?”
“I’ll let Rusty tell you,” Sam said. “I had nothing to do with it.”
“It was dad,” Rusty said. “He told me.”
“But he’s dead,” Lucinda said.
“Yes,” Rusty said. “But I came across a pencil box that I had as a kid. I used to keep things that were important to me in it. Before Dad was taken to jail he handed me a key on a chain to a safety deposit box and a pen that had the name and address of a bank on it. I kept it for years as a keepsake. I found it only three weeks ago. Dad purchased a safety deposit box just days before he was arrested. The day I left Pittsburg the box was opened. Inside was a note from him. There was a savings account book. And the most intriguing thing was the deed to 40 acres of land near Plevna.”
“How did, Sam know I was here?” Lucinda said.
“That I don’t know,” Rusty said and continued. “I got to Plevna this morning. I met a man who farms the land. He told me it was administered by a lawyer in Miles City, Proxmire. I drove to his office just to let him know I was in town and that I might take over the land sell it. When we were done talking I asked him about a good place to eat. He told me there was a place down the block.”
“I can’t believe this,” Lucinda said.
“Rusty looked at the contribution jar on the counter,” Sam said. “He looked like he’d been stuck by lightening. He saw your name the name of the restaurant and I told him it was named after your first son and that I had a father I’d never seen and he looked at me and guessed my name was Sam.”
“So you see,” Rusty said. “It all started with Dad leaving me the key to his safety deposit box.”
“I wished it wouldn’t have taken so long. I should have gone back for you,” Lucinda said. “You have every right to hate me.”
“I have no right,” Rusty said. “Absolutely no right to hate you. I’m happy I found you.”
“You came at the worst time,” Lucinda said.
“Not if I’m a donor,” Rusty said.
“No,” Lucinda said. “I can’t let you.”
Rusty smiled. “Now, mother, there you go again, being stubborn.”
“I think you know all there is to know about your mom already,” Sam said. “She is the most stubborn woman I know.”
“There is no way I’m not going to donate,” Rusty said. “You can take your stubbornness and kiss it goodbye.”
“You’ll have to take off work and you should talk it over with your family,” Lucinda said.
“I quit my job,” Rusty said “And I don’t have a family. I was married for a year years ago. We had no children.”
“I’m sorry,” Lucinda said. “I’m not. My ex went on the marry a nice guy and have three children. She’s happy. She wouldn’t have been happy with me.”
“You can stay with me,” Lucinda said.
“That’s a good offer,” Rusty said. “And I’m inclined to take you up on that, but there is other business to take care of.”
“We have a fund that will compensate the donor…” Lucinda said.
“Yes,” Rusty said. “And I understand you plan on mortgaging your home and Sam will mortgage his home and the business too?”
“Yes,” Lucinda said. “That’s the only way this is going to happen.”
“There’s something Rusty has got to tell you,” Sam said.
“What?” Lucinda said.
“Dad purchased stock a long time ago,” Rusty said. “He gave the bank permission to purchase additional stocks with the dividends and to take advantage of any sort of splits in the stocks.”
“This is all Greek to me,” Lucinda said.
“There is plenty of money to pay for your procedure or any care you might need,” Rusty said. “You won’t have to mortgage anything.”
Lucinda stared ahead. “I did nothing for this. I don’t deserve this.”
Rusty held her as she sobbed. “Yes you do, Mom.”
“I’m going to tell you what happened 35 years ago,” Lucinda said.
“I don’t want to know,” Rusty said.
“If you want to be a donor you’re gonna listen,” Lucinda said.
“You’re gonna listen,” Sam said. “So just buckle in.”