Bob Pritchett checked periodically on the threesome in the conference room. Whatever possessed him to turn them loose on each other must have worked because the atmosphere in the room was decidedly less icy than it had been. He had deposited a full container of tissues on the table in front of them during his last walk through, glancing back as he pulled the door shut once more. Three female hands reached for a tissue simultaneously.
For a few minutes Amanda, her mother and her grandmother dabbed at their tears in silence. Some of the holes had to be plugged. Amanda had read the journal entry and a couple more, so some of her assumptions had been true, but one assumption was that her Daddy, Paul Carmichael was her natural father. She wasn’t sure how to ask the question that burned inside. As it turned out she didn’t have to, Granny Nan answered the unasked question.
“You must be wondering about your Dad, Amanda?” She went on without waiting for a reply, “The man who helped your Mom up followed us home from the Women’s Reproductive Center in Wichita. He didn’t come to the door that day so it was only later that he told us that was how he contacted us. By the time he did, we had all decided that Ginny would carry you to term and then give you up for adoption. Of course, the Buchanan’s couldn’t deal with that, so Ginny gave Robert his ring back. After much discussion your Mom went back to the University of Tulsa to finish the semester.
Amanda looked at her mother and saw a familiar gentleness wash over her expression while Granny Nan talked. She had seen it so often when her mother looked at her or at her Dad. She had not realized how loved it had made her feel nor how much she had missed it. Granny caught it too and patted her daughter’s hand continuing to tie up a vital loose end.
One weekend afternoon about a month after the trip to Wichita, Paul Carmichael showed up at our front door asking to speak to our daughter. He didn’t even know her name. Your Granddad answered the door, but Ginny was right behind him. She gasped when she saw who it was and your Granddad almost threw him off the property.” Granny Nan paused, but her twinkling eyes told Amanda more than her words, “Fortunately, he didn’t.”
“Who, What, I don’t understand,” Amanda babbled.
“Your Dad was the man who scraped me off the wet pavement in Wichita, Amanda. He said he loved me at first sight.” Ginny laughed slightly. Bob Pritchett stuck his head in the door at the sound removing it quickly but not before smiling and muttering, “Darn, Mom Pritchett didn’t raise any dummies!”
“I was more than skeptical, but over the next several months, he proved his point. We married two weeks before you were born and he adopted you.”
Over the next hour three generations moved closer together than they had ever been as questions were raised and answers given in a free flowing conversation that spanned Amanda’s life to the present. Some areas were tougher to cover including Amanda’s running away and yet even that offered some light even funny discussion. They all agreed that someone had always been watching over Amanda. The sun was going down when they gathered their belongings to leave. Bob Pritchett joined them and they all thanked him. He grinned almost sheepishly.
“Where are you going from here? Are you heading back to Oklahoma today?”
“In a couple of days,” Ginny responded, “Amanda wants to stop and spend some time with Max Carnes at the hospital in Asheville and see his wife Lily in Greenville. We have tickets out of Greenville-Spartanburg on Friday.”
Amanda nodded, scooping up the fifty-dollar bill from the table and stuffing it into a pocket.
“I need to return something to him and see if he’s okay,” She acknowledged. “And I want to see Lily, too.”
“Well, I hear he’s doing pretty well. I am sure he will be glad to see you.”