Martin smiled and nodded warmly. “Hi, folks. Sorry to bust up the party, but . . . well, this is going to be a little tough, and I don’t think you’ll want an audience, Mr. Constance.”
Heather’s dad groaned. “I was hoping that I wouldn’t need any of this. But I figured that somebody might come along and burst my bubble.”
“Oh, it’s not going to be all that bad,” laughed Martin.
“You’ll be okay, honey,” said Heather’s mother, rising to her feet. “Heather and I can go to the cafeteria and have something to drink.”
“No! Don’t leave me!” Heather’s dad playfully exclaimed.
“Sorry, dear,” his wife said smiling, kissing him lightly. “No pain, no gain.”
“Your sympathy is touching,” he sighed in reply.
“Bye, Dad,” Heather said as she leaned over to kiss him on the cheek. She then walked towards the door. “Have fun!” she called over her shoulder as she and her mother left the room.
“See you guys in a little while!” she heard him call after her as she and her mother walked slowly down the hall towards the elevator.
“I think I’d like a cup of hot tea,” her mother said as they rode the elevator down to the cafeteria level.
“Not me,” replied Heather. “I want a cappuccino as sweet as I can get it.” They laughed together as the doors opened and they stepped out into the corridor towards the cafeteria. They passed people in the hallway, not dwelling on their worries or hurts but simply enjoying the gift of each other’s company as they walked along together.
Yet, with each glance her mother cast her way, Heather could discern a weight of care, the care of a mother for her daughter. The awareness that she was the object of such a powerful kind of love was both comforting and frightening. She knew that such love made her mother vulnerable to pain and grief as nothing else could. The wounds on her face could hardly tell the tale of the wounds that Heather had wrought on her mother’s heart. Her eyes became a little moist, so she kept her face turned away until she composed herself. She silently prayed a prayer of thanksgiving for the gift of such a godly mother.
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