The Best Day
“Mommy! MOMMY!” Andrew yelled to me as I was finishing getting ready in the bathroom.
“I’ll be done in just a minute Andy!” I answered back. Andrew was running all over the house this morning because he was very excited. It was his birthday and I was taking him to see his Daddy. He always loved to go and see his Daddy.
“Mommy? How old am I now?”
“You are 5 honey.” I answered him. “You are getting to be such a big boy. I know Daddy is proud of you.” I told our son as we finished packing our things and headed out the door and to the car. Andrew was so excited as he squirmed around and back and forth while I secured him in his car seat.
“Mommy? How old are you?”
“I am 33 buddy.”
“How old is Daddy?”
“Wow. Daddy is older than you!”
“Yes he is buddy.” I told him as I started the car and we made our way out onto the road. It would take us about an hour to get there, and I turned on the radio as my mind wandered and I thought about the best day I had ever had. I remembered that Dale and I had been having a very rough time. We were constantly fighting, and before he left for his road trip, we had decided to file for divorce when he got back. The love was gone. He had become so consumed with making money, he never turned down a load. Ever. When he started consistently taking loads across country on holidays, that is when I decided I had enough. I never thought things would ever be good again, but I look into that little face, and I see Dale, and I know that when he was conceived that it was a miracle. It was our best day. Dale was on a week long haul, and I had been packing things away at our house. I expected him back that Saturday night and we would decide when we would meet with the lawyer and get this divorce thing underway. I had ordered a pizza, and was watching television early that Friday night when I heard the back door in the kitchen open.
“Hello?” I yelled.
“Karen! It’s me. I need you to come here, I have something for you.”
“Dale, I am not interested in what you have for me.” I answered angrily. I was still so mad at him for telling me it was over, that I still had nothing to say to him. I think that him yelling for me was the first complete sentence he had spoken to me in weeks since we decided to divorce.
“Karen, don’t be that way. Come here. I have something for you.”
“Just a second.” I answered as I got up from the couch and made my way into the kitchen where he was. I turned the corner in the hallway and entered the kitchen, “What the heck do you want?” I said as I looked in amazement at the dozen roses he was holding in his hand.
“These are for you. I know I don’t have much time until we are separated, but as I was driving and staring at the picture I keep of you in the truck, I knew I needed to do this.” Dale told me as he looked deeply into my eyes.
“What are you doing Dale? I thought that we had decided that this was over. I have tried to discuss things with you, I have tried to make it better. You were the one that wanted this, not me.” I told him coldly. “You can keep the roses and get back into your beloved truck.”
“Karen, come here.” He said as he dropped the dozen beautiful roses to the floor and reached for me. He pulled me close and looked deeply into my eyes. Dale’s eyes were the deepest blue eyes I had ever seen, and one of the things that made me instantly attracted to him when I had first met him. “Karen, I am sorry for letting work consume me. I know I was wrong, and I came home as fast as I could so I could tell you. I couldn’t wait any longer.”
“Dale! Let me go. We had our chance and you blew it. Just go. I just want you to leave me alone.” I told him as I felt his grip loosen around my wrist.
“Ok Karen. If that’s what you want, I’ll leave. You’ll never see me again.” He told me as he turned away and started for the door. He looked so beaten and truly hurt by my reaction that I could not let him leave.
“Dale….wait.” I said to him, “What did you mean that you were wrong?”
“I was wrong for the way I have treated you. You have been hanging on for so many years now, hoping for a miracle. We have always put off everything for my career, a baby, moving south, everything. I just thought……no, I needed to tell you that I still love you.” He said quietly. I could hear the sorrow in his voice.
“Dale? Why now? What has kept you from telling me all of this before?” I asked.
“Karen, it’s now or never. I don’t know how much time we have left. When we got married, and I chose this career, I always thought that we had so much time. Time is the most precious thing to me right now. Time, and you.”
“I don’t know Dale.” I said as I began to cry. “You have hurt me so badly. Can’t we just talk about this tomorrow?”
“What if tomorrow never comes Karen?” He said as he grabbed me and pulled me close. “What if all we had left was tonight?”
“Dale, you are scaring me. Are you ok? Are you taking drugs?” I asked him between my tears.
“I am sober, and I am asking you now.” He said as he stared right into my eyes, “can we put our petty bickering and fighting behind us tonight? Can we just act like it is our wedding night and forget all of the pain of the last few years? Can we just spend this night as if it was our last night together?”
“Dale, I don’t know.” I said as I wiped the tears from my face. “So much had happened……” I tried to say as Dale began to kiss me more deeply than he had ever kissed me before. Dale picked me up into his arms, and carried me up the stairs and to our bedroom. It was better than our wedding night. When the morning sunlight started to pierce the darkness of our bedroom, I felt as if all of the suffering and fighting of the past few years no longer mattered. I had my husband back and he still loved me. As I ran my fingers through his hair I whispered, “I have never stopped loving you.”
“I know.” He replied softly as I felt tears fall onto my chest. “I was foolish Karen. I was foolish and I had my world laid right out in front of me. I had you right in front of me. Money and material things should have never have been what was important. It should have only been us. I am sorry.”
“I know you are sorry Dale. Let’s just put it behind us and look forward to the future.” I told him.
“Karen, no matter what ever happens, and where life will ever take us, I want you to know that I have never loved you more than I do right at this moment. I will always be with you. Always.” He told me.
“What do you mean by that?” I asked him with concern in my voice.
“You just needed to know that.” He said as he popped out of bed. “Get dressed, I am going to make you breakfast.”
“Right now?” I asked puzzled. “Don’t we have time for that later?”
“Yes Karen. Right now.” He answered as I heard him run down the stairs. I could hear pots and pans being pulled out of the cabinets as I went into the bathroom to get myself in order. I could smell the bacon and coffee drawing me down to the kitchen to continue our best day together.
“Mommy! We are here!” Andrew excitedly yelled as I popped out of my trance of memory. It hadn’t even seemed like we had been on the road that long yet. “Mommy, did you bring the flower for Daddy?”
“I did sweetheart.” I told him as I handed him the rose. His little legs running across the grass holding the rose looked so funny.
“Hi Daddy!” Andrew said as he placed the rose on Dale’s gravestone. “Mommy and I love you. Mommy, can Daddy hear me?” Andrew asked me.
“I know he can buddy.” I told him.
“How do you know Mommy?” Andrew asked me.
“I know because I believe in miracles. You are a miracle.” I told him. Our son smiled at me and shook his head. “He looks just like you Dale. He has your big blue eyes.” I said softly as I stared at the gravestone.
As I stood there holding our son’s hand I remembered once again back to that morning. The morning of our best day. The morning I came down to breakfast and Dale was nowhere to be found. I remember thinking it had all been a dream, but I knew it wasn’t because of the eggs and bacon that sat waiting for me on a plate with coffee still steaming in the cup beside the plate and the note that Dale had left for me. I remember frantically running around the house yelling his name and trying to find him. I remember thinking that he was playing a trick on me. I continued to look around the house and shout Dale’s name until I heard a knock on the door. I answered the door and 2 policeman were standing there. They asked if I was married to Dale Scott and I told them I was. They told me that Dale had been killed when his truck had ran off the road early in the evening the night before. I hit the floor and began to wail in grief. A few hours later after my mother and friends had arrived to stay with me, my mother said that the police had left something for me. My mother told me that they had found it in Dale’s hand when they pulled the truck off of him. It was a picture of me. Dale had always kept a picture of me in his truck. He told me once that it reminded him of the reason he worked so hard all of the time. I reached into the pocket of my robe, and pulled out the note that Dale had left for me that morning. It had 2 sentences written on it. One of the sentences is etched onto Dale’s gravestone, it says, “I have never loved you more than I do at this moment.”
“Mommy?” Andrew asked me, “Why do you call me a miracle?”
I smiled as I answered him, “I call you that because of something your Daddy wrote to me once.”
“What did he write to you Mommy?” Andrew asked me.
“He wrote, Miracles happen Karen…..name him Andrew.” I told him. “We have to get going buddy.”
We got into the car and started driving away from the cemetery and I whispered as we pulled away from Dale’s grave, “I have never loved you more than I do at this moment. I named him Andrew.”