A Knock at The Door
Tee time was set for 10 am. The sky was an electric blue for a special Saturday morning. Everything seemed right in the world, or at least it did for Luke. His schedule for that day was as followed, golf in the morning, lunch with his parents, a clean straight razor shave with the groomsman in the afternoon, ending with vows at the altar with his bride at 5. Waking up alone that morning, Luke Gibson had a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye.
He hopped out of bed and made his way towards the kitchen, Rudy, his 3 year old husky followed. The two bedroom bungalow was small but quaint. Without kids, Luke and Sarah enjoyed their small starter home they had purchased nearly a year ago.
“Big day old boy.” Luke said to Rudy. Rudy turned his head trying to understand, then made it known he needed to go out and take care of some things. Luke let the dog out to the back yard, lingering outside to take in the morning air while he looked up at the clear sky. It was a great day for getting married, Luke thought, grinning. Rudy watched his owner as he smiled at nothing in particular.
After finishing his business, Rudy loyally followed his human back inside, Luke poured a bowl of cereal and a glass of orange juice. He smiled as he thought about his final breakfast as a bachelor.
He was interrupted by a knock on the door, he glanced at the time on the microwave, 8:34 am. A little early for visitors he thought. He opened the door; it was Mr. Arrington, Sarah’s father.
"Mr. Arrington, good morning.” Luke said, somewhat confused.
"Hello Luke, can I come in?”
They walked inside; Rudy had never been much of a watch dog despite his large size. He came in wagging and smiling as he greeted the guest. Mr. Arrington was a short man, but carried himself with a large presence about him. He was a senior executive at Porter consultants, adept at handling people and situations, yet he didn't seem all that comfortable at that moment.
Luke had only met the man once; he had come into town for a weekend when Luke and Sarah had just started dating. Mr. and Mrs. Arrington had been divorced for over 15 years. Mr. Arrington lived in Seattle and had not been all that involved in his daughter’s life, making the visit all the more peculiar.
"Please, have a seat, can I get you some coffee or anything?” Luke asked, racking his brain, wondering what his fiancé’s father could possibly be doing at their house on the morning of the wedding. They had sent him an invitation, but weren't expecting him to show.
"No, thank you, I’m fine.” He said, sitting down in the large chair near the fireplace. Something was on his mind. The truth be told, Luke was a bit irritated by this visit.
“Is everything okay Mr. Arrington?” Luke asked sitting down on the couch. They sat facing each other.
“Luke, I want to be honest with you, I know certain people, people that can find out things, private things.” He shifted in his chair, crossing his leg and giving his best power stare.
"Okay, I uh....”
“What this means, Luke, is that I've done a bit of research. I’m sure you understand, as you plan on marrying my youngest daughter.”
"Mr. Arrington, I don’t really see where this is going.” What in the hell is going on? Luke wondered.
“I know about your father, Luke. I know that he’s spent the last twelve years in prison, for armed robbery. I know about his record, your mother's drug use, and your time in a juvenile detention center. I'm not here to judge you Luke, I commend you for surviving your past, your awful childhood, and your troubled family.” He uncrossed his legs and straightened his back
“I've read your book, it was deeply moving, although disturbing. I just have some reservations about you marrying Sarah. I just can’t in good conscience allow this to happen without saying my part, I've never had a chance, because, frankly I was never even asked. But this is my daughter.”
As Luke sat in his chair listening to a virtual stranger assess his past in a few short sentences, he knew he was supposed to get angry, to lash out at the stranger judging him in his living room. The man had the nerve to come into his home, sit down, and in a calculated manner, as if talking to a client about the risk/reward ratio of a business deal, inform him that due to his family history, the figures had been gauged, he could not allow this deal to happen.
As the consultant finished his evaluation, he summed up his decision with “….I know this is not the greatest time, but I hope both of you will understand my reasons….”
He had listened to the man judge him by his father’s mistakes, his mother’s shortcomings, and his childhood hardships. Yep, he thought, this guy’s really got me pegged. Luke tried to think of the correct way to handle this delicate situation. When Mr. Arrington finished, Luke took a moment before speaking.
“Mr. Arrington, you said that you read my book. I’m sure that you can recall chapter 5, about how I met your daughter. How we discussed growing up without fathers. How we talked for hours into the night about the healing powers of forgiveness, finding the power inside yourself to forgive and how it helped us move on.”
Mr. Arrington went to speak, but Luke was on his home turf, he had the floor.
“Or Chapter 8, when Sarah’s mom, your ex-wife, was diagnosed with breast cancer, Sarah was there for it all. The chemotherapy, the hospital visits, the sickness. I can't tell you the emotional toll it took on your daughter because her mother had sacrificed so much for her. She couldn't imagine her life without her. We went through these things together Mr. Arrington. As for your involvement, I've seen her face when she calls you, only to leave a message. I've seen her face when people ask her about your whereabouts. I don’t come from the ideal family, there’s no arguing that. But I love your daughter more than you will ever know, I am certain of that.”
Mr. Arrington looked down. He suddenly felt foolish for coming. He had thought he would swoop in and save his daughter from a reckless marriage. He would scare this guy off and that would be the end of it. But as he looked up and into the sincere eyes of a man that would do anything in his power to make his daughter happy, he was for once in his life, at a loss for words. He was impressed with the way he handled himself, with a calm, confident manner. Mr. Arrington felt like the reckless kid in the house.
His daughter had been dating Luke for just less than 2 years. He had been unhappy when they had moved in together last year, calling to lecture Sarah. But she was, after all, 26 years old and could make her own decisions. Luke, at 30 was a columnist for a few online publications, he had secured a book deal, and the first had come out earlier that year and done well. Mr. Arrington had purchased the book, but only skimmed through a few chapters.
The talk could have been a disaster, with threats and shouting. Instead, it ended up lasting for well over an hour, the two had their differences, but were also beginning to understand one another. There wouldn't be an easy fix, but they found that they could talk about their differences as adults and possibly build a relationship. It was obvious Luke wasn't going anywhere.
Standing up, Mr. Arrington adjusted his coat.
“Well Luke, this has been eye opening, that’s for sure. You two are adults and I shouldn’t have come here this morning. I can't stop this from happening..”
“No Mr. Arrington, you can’t. But you can choose to be a part of it, and make your daughter happy.”
“I’m not sure; Sarah doesn't even know that I’m here. Thank you for having this discussion Luke, I’m sorry if I've offended you in any way. And please, call me Ray.”
“Not a problem Ray, I’m glad we did this, but I do have a tee time to make this morning.”
They both laughed, Ray told a few golf stories, and Luke patiently listened. As he made his way out to the car, Ray turned back towards Luke.
“Yes sir, but I hope you can get there a little early Ray, you have a little rehearsing to go over. Rudy will be crushed that he isn't walking Sarah down the aisle.”
Ray looked back and smiled. “I’ll be there, I hope Rudy can accept my apologies.”
Luke shut the door, then looked down at Rudy "Well that went well.."