Emma had finished her coffee, and had progressed to her third cup. She was still disturbed at Paul’s knowledge about Ben, and now Katie, but was determined to check out his story by asking Gloria. She heard her phone buzz, and began going through some messages that she’d ignored during her time with Paul. Her head was down, and she was lost for a while when she heard that familiar voice coming from the big man standing next to her table. She froze when she looked up to see Mickey.
He sighed, “You remind me of Ben when I first met him, always so guarded around me. You know, he didn’t like me or worse, trust me. I think his religion, or lack of it, maybe made it hard to accept me.” He took the chair across from her. “Do you mind if I sit?”
“I saw you die, and then I saw your wife die. Then when I described you to Gloria, she told me that your name is Mickey, and you were close to my father.” She rubbed her forehead. “But of course, that can’t be, can it? Because, Mickey, you seem to be the same age as you were many ago. I guess we need to start with your name. Who are you?”
The old man smiled, and his face was filled with kindness. There was a familiar sense of compassion that he was sending to her. “Mickey, my name is Mickey. And I held you in my arms when you were a small baby. When I left your father, I said that I would look after you, that if you ever felt any type of fear, to think of me, and I would help you. You see, Emma? I love you. You were such a tiny little thing then.” He reached out to take her hand, but she jerked it back before he could touch her.
“First of all, my dad’s name is Jimmy. I understand that you say you knew my birth father, but that was a long time ago. It’s Jimmy who I see as my dad. He is the man who raised me, and has loved me more than some think possible. And the same goes for my mom. It seems like Ben and Katie have monopolized the conversations lately, but they didn’t raise me. So, I would kindly ask you to refer to Jimmy and Mori as my mom and dad. Now, if you are who you say you are, then according to Gloria, you’re over one hundred years old. How do you explain that?” Emma felt somewhat bold in the middle of the people-clad coffee shop.
“Emma, I’m an angel. That scared Ben at first, but he finally realized that he could trust me. I even lived with him and Katie for a while. That was before you were born.”
Emma stared at him from across the table, fear taking over her. Suddenly, the people around her didn’t feel like the safety net they’d provided before.
Mickey continued in spite of the look on her face, “Listen, you want honesty, so that’s what I’m giving you.” He smiled, and continued. “It took some time to make Ben trust me, but he came around. And he actually ended up caring for me. Emma, he was a very special man.”
She felt it necessary to play along with him in fear that to do anything else might prompt him to be even crazier. “Mickey, if what you say is true, then why are you here now? Ben is gone, and if you’re really an angel, you should know that. Why not be with him?”
The large man or angel, as he put it, became perturbed, and even a bit agitated. “You’re playing me, Emma. And I’m surprised and disappointed in you. I’ve been honest with you, so I expect the same in return. I know you don’t believe anything I’ve said, so just say it. I’ve waited so many years for you to age. Don’t make me see that it was a mistake.” He stood, and regained himself enough to politely tip his hat to her. “This was a mistake to level with you so soon. I went through the same ordeal with Ben, but I guess I expected more from you. I’ve been with you your entire life, and I helped you when you were in a bind. I’m not asking for thanks, but I am asking for acknowledgement, that’s all.” He stopped to take in some air, “I realize that I shouldn’t rush this, but I was so hoping that we could quickly get past this uncomfortable period. I’m staying at the hotel, so we’ll have more times together. But you need to look into your heart, and remember. You can do that if you try, Emma. I’m very happy that Jimmy and Mori were so good to you, but deep inside, you have memories that need to come forward. This is not the first time we’ve met, but I want you to remember. When Ben and Katie were killed, I came to you and helped you get through your grief. Think back to that time, Emma, and you’ll know that I am who I say I am.” He turned and began walking toward the street. She watched him in silence as he seemed to disappear in the distance.
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