Authors: Brooke Williams
“I understand,” I replied as I noticed tears form in Maria’s eyes as she looked at Ian. She silently moved over to where he sat and knelt beside him, reaching her hand out to touch his knee.
I couldn’t hear what she said, but I saw a slight smile play at the corner of his lips and then, he looked over her shoulder and saw me.
“Music man!” he cried as he abandoned the train and ran to me. I picked him up and felt his little hands wrap themselves around my neck. I remembered all of the times he had done the same to Chloe and now I knew myself what it felt like to have his breath on my neck. “You came,” he whispered softly into my neck.
“Of course I came,” I said. “There’s no way I could stay away.”
I felt Maria appear beside me and wrap her arm around my waist. She put her other hand on Ian’s back and rubbed it soothingly.
“You’re my son,” I said into his ear. “There’s nowhere else I’d rather be.”
I felt Ian raise his head a bit and look at me with his sad, bright blue eyes.
“Would you like to come home with us?” Maria asked softly beside me.
Ian looked at Maria and then moved his gaze back to me, inspecting my face to make sure what was happening was real. “I miss mama,” he said.
“I know,” I replied. “I miss her too. And we always will.”
“But I can stay with you?” he asked and I nodded as emphatically as I could stand.
“You’ll never have to leave.”
“And you’ll never leave either?” he asked, probably thinking of the way his father had been in and out of his life for as long as he could remember.
“Never,” I said. “Not even a runaway train could drag me away.”
Ian smiled and laid his head back on my shoulder. “Let’s go home daddy,” he said as he wrapped one hand around Maria’s finger, which was lying on my shoulder near Ian’s head.
As I left the foster home with Ian in my arms, I saw a vision of Chloe, meeting with Evan at the pearly gates.
“Is there anything that concerns you about the life you left behind?” he would ask.
Chloe would see this picture right now and she would shake her head. “Nothing at all,” she would say. And then she would enter the light without a second glance back.
I told you in the beginning that I do not tell this story very often. By now, you can probably see why. It involves death and heartache, not to mention a man appearing out of thin air in my kitchen on many different occasions. It is easy to imagine the kind of looks that I would get if I were to tell my story in the open on a regular basis.
But I felt I needed to get it out now. It was important that people knew how a life could be changed…ask and ye shall receive, right? I asked and I certainly received. I did not get anything in the way in which I thought I had it coming to me. What I got was actually better than I had ever dreamed and every bit of heartache and confusion along the way was worth it.
Life with Ian was hard. He was the greatest little boy I had ever met, but he still missed his mom. He went through a lot of struggles, but he came out the other side. We became a family closer than I had ever hoped. When Ian went back to school, he climbed on the bus for his very first day and turned to wave goodbye as the bus drove away. In that moment, he was not a school-aged child, he was a young boy clinging to his mother. I saw Chloe in everything he did and I thanked God for her on a daily basis. Without her, Ian would not have been who he was. Without her, I would not have been the father I was. She gave me more than I was ever able to give her.
I even thought about Abigail sometimes and prayed for her whenever I did. Her third book came out, but it didn’t do very well because it proclaimed her an everlasting single woman, however, she got swept off her feet and was married within weeks of its debut. I was happy that she had finally met a man who could meet her high standards. Or, at least one that she was willing to accept for who he was.
My mother started traveling out to our city every other month. I knew that she and I would grow closer if I ever had a family and that was just what happened. I enjoyed hearing her stories about my own childhood and seeing her with Ian made her look and act younger than her years. I could tell by the sadness in the corner of her eyes that she missed my father, but I could also see that she always felt he was nearby. She would not have been able to exist had that not been true. And take it from me, it was more true than she ever knew.
Maria and I had a fairy tale marriage. You know, the one where the beautiful princess was so in love that she smiled every time she turned a corner. Okay, so maybe I was no prince and we had our issues, but we were committed to each other and our love sustained us through it all. God had chosen us for one another and that was enough to help us through anything.
I still think about Evan often…as well as my father. Whenever I have a bad day, I search our new kitchen for his face and wonder if he is seeing what has become of me now. As much as I needed Evan when he first appeared to me, I know that he does not come now because I have something much greater than he ever was. I have God. The events that surrounded my time with Evan led me down the path to finding God again and for that, I will be forever grateful.
I hope you have found something in my story to which you can relate. It’s probable that you have gone through some rough times yourself and you very likely have never met a man like Evan. But there are Evan’s all around us all of the time. They may not be as obvious as mine, but they’re there. If you really look, you might be surprised where you find yours. And where he might lead you when you do.