Jumping in his big rig, Abel could barely contain his excitement. His parents were alive! He wasn’t quite sure how someone could have given him false information regarding their deaths, but at this point, he really did not care. All that mattered was he was going to find them. With the check and leather diary in the seat next to him, he put the key in the ignition, hesitating, not quite knowing where he was headed, and realizing this big truck wasn’t going to be turning down any residential streets. He knew, from the address on the check, he had to get to Logan Avenue. Running back into the diner — they must truly think he’s crazy now — he stopped in his tracks, looking desperately for Donna; seeking her calm, loving face. Knowing she was off work, he was praying she could drive him to their home. At that moment, Donna walked out of the women’s restroom, with her car keys in hand. “Donna! Please can you help me?” She sensed Abel’s urgency and nodded her head.
Walking to her car, the old beat up Dodge, Abel quickly spewed out the story of his life. Donna stuck the keys in the ignition and sat there, listening to Abel excitedly talk. He told of his adoption, his two loves – Casey and Rebecca – his best friend’s death, his divorce, and then the devastating news of his son, Justin. Abel wept as he poured out years of pain and agony. He didn’t care, he needed to rid himself of the pain, that soul-crushing pain he had endured for over fifty years. Donna reached out and grabbed his hands in hers, stroking his fingers gently, and silently sent a prayer to God, as the tears fell from his worn face. This man needed healing from within; deep within his soul. Abel continued, barely taking a breath, but welcomed the warmth of her hands.
An hour later, he finished, totally wrecked from, for the very first time in his life, telling a stranger, well, basically a stranger, every last detail of his existence. Strangely enough, he felt like 10,000 pounds were lifted from his shoulders. He felt a peace, a presence, that he had never experienced. As they sat there in silence, holding hands like teenagers, he looked at her for the first time, clearly, seeing hope, love, and peace. Not quite knowing what to say, he sat there, holding on like never before. Abel was in perfect peace, believing, realizing what he had known all along.
Donna asked him if he was ready to head toward his parents home; he replied with a soft yes. She started the car and drove towards Logan Avenue. She knew exactly where they lived; she lived next door. Donna had never seen the couple before tonight, despite them being her neighbors for six months. They had moved in, quietly, not getting out much, in her estimation. She pulled into her own driveway, parked the car, and turned towards Abel. “Do you want me to go with you?” Abel sat there, deep in thought, wondering what he was going to say to the parents he believed were dead. “Yes. I do.” As they got out of the car, Abel paused, waiting for her to come to the passenger side. He reached for one hand and brought his other hand to her face. The wrinkles, the weathered face, beaten up by life, didn’t matter to him. He had found love. In the strangest of places, he had found love. He gave her a hug and a small kiss, thanked her for listening. He thanked her for being beside him. He thanked her for her grace and kindness.
They walked hand and hand, up the small porch, stopping at the front door. Abel was nervous, but ready to see his mom and dad. He wanted to make up for all the years they had missed out on being a family. He wanted to apologize for bailing on them all those years ago – skipping town, just a kid without a care, and never looking back. He owed them so much, but now he had the second chance to make things right. Through it all, he had found Donna. It had all started in a diner and a piece of chocolate cake a hundred years ago it seemed. He had never believed in anything, really. Barely giving his heart away due to all the loss in his life, but here it was, a happiness and joy, a belief – no – a knowing that there is a God, and He was always there. Abel smiled and knocked on the door.