Father and Child
Part One: The Phone Call
James Glynn was walking down High St toward Washington park which was a small park that covered one city block. He had a shoulder bag in his right hand. He pulled his blue jacket hood over his head as he felt the first few cold rain drops. The jacket was not waterproof; not since the last wash. And he forgot to use the waterproof spray on it. His aupair, Ellen, had tried to remind him to waterproof the jacket. It started to rain harder. James waited under a tree for the rain to end. After the rain stopped, he opened the shoulder bag and took out his smart phone.
James looked at his wrist watch. It was noon time. Lunch time for Rudy. He attempted to text Rudy. But Rudy did not receive a response.
His smart phone rang. He looked at the screen. It was Ellen.
"Mr Glynn, where are you?"
"I'm on my way. I'll be home in five minutes."
"Got a call from the principal today. Rudy has been disruptive in school. He is being held in the principal's office. Go and pick him up."
"On my way."
As James put his phone away, he heard a familiar voice, "Jim!"
A bearded heavy set man approached him.
"Jim, I haven't seen you in a while!"
"Hi Frank, how are you?" They shook hands.
"I'm fine! How are you?"
"I'm doing well."
Frank and James were best friends. They grew up together and attended the same schools.
"How is Judy?"
"She passed away six months ago."
Judy was Jame's wife.
"So sorry to hear that." Frank appeared stunned. "How? When?"
"Car accident on the freeway."
"We miss her a lot but we're doing okay. Thanks for your concern." James paused, "Look. I hate to cut you off like this, but I need to pick up my son at school."
"It's noon time. Is Rudy getting out of school early?"
"No. He got himself into trouble at school."
"That's kids for you. I'll be in town for the next few days. Maybe we could get together some time?"
"Sure! Rudy would love to see you again. I'll be in touch."
"That's great. Real nice seeing you. Tell Rudy I said 'hello' "
"I'll be sure to. Nice seeing you too."
The Wellington elementary school was on Boston Avenue. It was only a few blocks from home. Rudy was eleven years old. He was in 5th grade.
Part Two: The Principal
Rudy was sitting in the principal's office at Wellington Elementary School. His long black hair extended down to his eye brows.
The principal looked up from her desk as she ended the phone call. "Rudy."
Rudy did not respond.
Rudy glanced at the principal.
"Your dad is on his way."
Rudy heard her speaking but did not listen to what she said. He was looking out the window.
A few moments later James entered the principal's office. "Hi I'm Rudy's father."
"Hi, I'm the Principal. My name is Henry Cann."
"Nice meeting you."
"Nice meeting you too."
"Your son started yelling at a classmate and then threw the classmates books all over the floor." Henry paused, "I asked him why he did it. But he would not tell me."
James wanted to speak privately to the principal. He asked Rudy to wait outside the office.
Rudy got up and strapped on his backpack.
James gently lifted Rudy's face. "We'll talk about this later."
Rudy left the office. He sat in a chair in the hallway.
James came out a few minutes later. "Let's go."
They left the school and sat on the front steps. James reached into his pocket and took out a small photo. He handed it to Rudy. "You said you lost the one you had."
Rudy took the picture and looked at it. It was a picture of his mom.
"There's that diner we went to a few months ago. You like their food?"
The diner was not crowded. Rudy and James sat at a table in the far corner.
After ordering their meals, James sat forward in his seat. "I heard the principle's version at school. I'd like to hear your side of it."
"Tim got me angry."
"Is that all?"
"How did he make you angry?"
"Do I have to talk about it?"
"No, but ... If not now, sometime soon." James paused for a few moments. "You were never this angry before. Why are you feeling this way now?"
Rudy shrugged his shoulders.
They ate their meals and James paid the bill.
"Where are we going now?" asked Rudy after they left the restaurant.
"I was thinking -- Maybe we could go to the florist and then the cemetery?"
"Do you want to come?"
Rudy hesitated, "Okay, dad. Let's do that."
Part Three: The Consequence
They went to the florist and James let Rudy pick some of the flowers. After that they went to the cemetery and got the vase that was by the headstone. Then they brought the case to a spigot and filled the vase with water. They bought the vase back to the stone and placed the flowers in the vase.
Soon they were on their way home. When they arrived home, they entered Jame's small office and sat at his desk. Rudy took his books out of his backpack and said he needed help with his math. They spent half an hour on his homework.
Ellen entered the room and asked if they wanted something to eat. James told her that they ate while they were out. Ellen left the room.
James looked at Rudy.
"Is Ellen my nanny?"
"You don't need a nanny. You're too old for a nanny."
"Then why is she here?"
"To do housework and prepare meals."
"She does not help you unless you ask for help. Right?"
"You know what is expected of you. Right?"
"You take care of yourself. Right?"
"She takes you places you need to go."
'Well, there you have it. She is not your nanny." James paused. "Why did you ask about a nanny?"
"Because Tim told the kids I don't have a real mother. He said I was a baby who still needed a nanny. He said that Ellen was my nanny."
"Is that why you got angry and threw his books around?"
"Why didn't you tell the principal what that kid said to you?"
"Cause I didn't want to be a tattletale."
Rudy remained silent for a few minutes. Then he moved his chair close to James and hugged him. "I wish mom were still here."
"So do I, sport." James said, "But mom is still here in our hearts. She is watching over us every day. And you tell Tim that Ellen is not your nanny. She is your Dad's helper."
"Rudy, I understand how that upset you. But you must control your temper. What you did got you in serious trouble. And that is not good."
"You mean what I did to his books"
"Exactly. I want you to promise me you won't be disruptive again."
"You understand that if you do this again, I'll have to punish you."
Rudy shook his head up and down.
"Now that that's settled; I have a question for you."
"How would you like to see Uncle Frank?"
Rudy's face lit up. Frank really wasn't his uncle. He was more like Rudy's pal. Rudy was so fond of Frank that he adopted Frank as his Uncle. "Cool!"
"Great" replied James, "I'll invite him over for diner!"