Ruth disappeared inside the house.
“So tell me about yourself, Billy,” Willard said.
“Well,” Billy said. “Some of the stuff is all new to me in a way. I don’t know how to explain it, but my life has been all about forgetting where I came from and taking on a new life. Shortly after leaving here decades ago Marcel gave me the name Wilson Gentry and about 7 years later I took on the name Charles Abbot. That’s the name I lived with for over 37 years. For a brief period I was Steve Joseph. Before I was Joseph I was just a guy living on a park bench.”
“You need a scorecard,” Willard said. “That’s five.”
“What’s wrong, Billy,” Willard said. “You look so gloomy all the sudden.”
“There’s one more,” Billy said. “Apparently someone who sold me to Marcel got me someplace. I was probably born to an unwed mother and passed around until I found my way to Marcel.”
“How old were you when Marcel got you?” Willard said.
“I’m not sure,” Billy said, “but I’m thinking before the age of five. I just have no memory of anything before Marcel.”
“Did you ever think that you may have a memory, but repressed that also?” Willard said.
“It’s crossed my mind.” Billy said.
They talked for awhile about what each remembered about Alicia.
Ruth came out on the porch. “The table’s set, but I have something for you.” She handed Billy a color snapshot.
Billy looked at it. “It’s me and Alicia sitting on the bumper of your brand new Ford.”
“That was taken the day before her death,” Willard said.
“We looked happy,” Billy said.
“You should be,” Ruth said. “There is nothing to compare to the love of two fourteen year olds; first real love, it‘s a love that lasts forever.”
Billy relaxed. He shoulders slumped. It was like the end of a journey. He seemed content.
“It is yours,” Ruth said, “take it with you.”
“I can’t…” Billy said and changed his mine, “yes, I can. I really want it.” He smiled and gently placed it in the inside lapel pocket of his jacket.
“Let’s have a bite to eat,” Ruth said holding the door open.
“We can talk some more over a meal,” Willard said. “What are we having, dear?”
“Vegetable soup and toasted cheese,” Ruth said.
“My favorite,” Billy said. “Alicia made it for me one day.”
“Well,” Ruth said, “I had to help. She was not the best cook, but she was making improvement.”
“A flower that never quite bloomed,” Willard said.
They sat at the table and Willard offered a prayer. “Lord, thank you for the meal and bringing Billy back our way. Keep him safe and may he find what he looks for. Amen.”
“It’s homemade soup,” Ruth said. “The vegetables are out of my garden.”
“And the meat is the neighbor’s dog,” Willard smiled.
“Willard!” Ruth chided. “That might make Billy sick.”
“I’m okay,” Billy said. “I know he’s kidding.”
“About what?” Willard said.
“Willard,” Ruth said.
They had a pleasant meal with good conversation.
While Ruth collected to dinnerware Willard said, “So what’s next for you.”