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Heaven's Helping Hand
Grant didn’t know exactly where he was going or if he could even go back to where he had just left. He had just had an argument with his wife, Melody about their marriage, money situations and just about everything else. It was a snowy day in December, and Grant wasn’t sure why he decided to walk instead of drive. His neighborhood looked dead. All the trees were bare and the once green grass was a light brown, not a single person was outdoors. Grant continued to walk until his neighborhood park came into view. He had only been there one time with Melody and their niece Heather. He had pushed her on the swing and played tag with her, it made him want children of his own. Melody on the other hand seemed to hate the idea of a child. About a year ago Melody had been pregnant but miscarried after five months. It was the hardest thing the both of them had to go through, one of the things that Grant is sure weakened their marriage. Ever since losing the small little boy, the void in Grant’s life seemed to grow. He knew that having another child would fill that void and he seemed to think Melody knew it too and that she was trying to keep it away from him on purpose.
He walked through the grass toward the entrance of the park. With every step he took the frosted grass crunched under his foot. He walked straight to the swings and took a seat on the swing he had swung Heather on. He didn’t swing he just sat there replaying the fight with Melody over and over again in his head. He was sure she was done with him, over the past week they had been fighting constantly and she was staying later at work and he was sure she was having an affair. But for some reason he couldn’t leave her, he loved her with all his heart and needed to be with her. She seemed to complete the part of him he had been missing for years. Melody was the glue in the relationship and Grant seemed to need her to keep him together. Ever since his mother died a year before their wedding she had been there helping him through all the pain. Being the glue, Melody used to seem to need Grant as much as he needed her. Grant always thought she loved holding him in place and making sure he was going in the right direction. Lately though it seemed that Melody was out of the glue that Grant needed and the thought of it frightened him.
The air around him was still but suddenly the wind picked up from behind him and whipped around his back sending a chill down his spine. He stood up quickly from the swing and turned around. The air was completely still again. The park was completely empty except for a small light coming from near the basketball courts. Grant thought that it could possibly be a fire; he walked over to the light quickly. He was right it was a fire in a trash can, with a homeless man sitting on the bench next to it. Grant wanted to just walk back to his swing and ignore the old man but something was telling him to go and see if he needed anything. He walked over to the man; the man did not look up at him but continued to warm his hands by the fire.
“Hi there,” said Grant smiling. He noticed the man had a dark black box sitting next to him.
The old man looked up at him and smiled back saying, “Hello.”
The old man was very small, and Grant could tell he was in his late fifties. He wore a heavy forest green jacket, which hadn’t been washed in months. On his hands he wore black gloves that had a few holes on each. The beanie on his head matched his gloves with a single hole near the left ear. His smile was toothless and he looked as though he hadn’t eaten a good meal his whole life.
“Sir, is there any way I could take you to a shelter or get you something to eat?” asked Grant.
“Oh, no but thank you, young sir.”
“Are you sure? It’s freezing out here.”
“I’ve been homeless for years, I’ve gotten pretty used to the weather at its extreme climates.”
Grant did not say anything. He just continued to stand there.
“What’s your name young man?” asked the man.
“Something seems to be troubling you, Grant.”
Grant took a seat next to the man, “Is it that obvious?”
“Just a little bit, what is the matter?”
“I’m pretty sure my marriage is over.”
“Marriage, such a wonderful and rough thing. I myself have never been married. Not a day goes by that I regret that.”
“Sometimes I regret getting married, It seems like we were happy the first year but now all we do is fight,” said Grant sighing.
“Well if you’re willing to take advice from an old homeless man I have a little bit.”
“Please, please I’ll do anything.”
“Pray,” said the old man plainly.
“Pray?” Grant repeated not sure he heard him right.
“Yes pray to the heavenly father. You do know how to pray, right?”
“Well of course I know how to pray, I just haven’t in a while.”
“Well then pray, every time something is going wrong just take a minute and talk to God. He is there and he listens, I promise.”
Grant thought about it for a moment. Pray he thought, he couldn’t remember the last time he had talked to God. He was raised Catholic and when he was younger attended mass regularly but now he just never found the time to go, work was usually his excuse. He thought about it for another second and thought of how stupid it sounded and that the old man was just crazy.
“Yeah maybe,” said Grant standing up, “Well thank you sir.”
“Grant wait,” said the old man reaching for his box.
He reached into the box and pulled out a beautiful bouquet of Daisy’s, which were Melody’s favorite flowers. Grant stared in amazement at the beautiful display of flowers.
“How, how did you get those?” asked Grant taking them from the old man’s hands.
“Just something I’ve had for a while. Now go take that home to your wife, and tonight say a prayer. Things will get better trust me.”
“Thanks again,” said Grant still in shock that the flowers were real and still alive in this cold weather.
Grant walked straight home and when he walked into the house he could hear Melody from the living room with the television on. Grant held the flowers in front of him and walked into the living room.
“Melody?” he said quietly.
“Yeah,” she replied not taking her eyes off the television.
“I have something for you,” said Grant holding out the flowers.
Melody looked at them and smiled, “Oh Grant their lovely.” She stood up walked over to him and took them from his hands, and walked into the kitchen.
He followed her and stood in the doorway. “I was thinking that you and I could go Christmas shopping tomorrow.”
“No Grant you know that I have to work, Mr. Stevens is really getting on us.”
Grant hated the mention of that man’s name. He thought that was who Melody was having her affair with.
“Yeah I’m sure it’s all just work.”
“I’m not having this fight again Grant, I’m too tired.” She placed the flowers in the vase full of water and walked up the stairs.
Grant sat in the kitchen for over an hour before he decided to go up to bed. Melody was curled up in a ball on her side of the bed. Grant tip toed over to her and looked down at her angelic face. She was very beautiful, with dark brown hair and a tan complexion. He moved a loose hair from her face and rubbed his finger down her soft cheek. He felt a single tear roll down his face and turn the light brown blanket dark brown.
“I love you Melody with all my heart,” he whispered. He pulled off his work clothes and put on the pajamas that Melody gave him for their first Christmas together. They were now almost four years old. He lay next to her on his side and when he pulled the covers up close to him he felt her pull even farther away. Grant lay on his back and stared up at the ceiling. The old man’s words ran through his head, “Pray, God is always listening.”
Grant took in a deep breath and began to talk to God. He prayed for his marriage, for money stability and for a child. He spent about thirty minutes praying for everything he could think of.
The next morning he woke up alone. Melody must have already left for work. Grant pulled back the covers and began getting ready for work. Grant went to work as usual on Thursday, the office was extremely quiet and Grant hadn’t had a case in weeks. He was a lawyer at the Offices of Lone, Smith and Michaels, he was one of their big representatives but couldn’t seem to make partner no matter how hard he tried.
“Any messages Maria?” he asked his assistant.
“No sir, Mr. Campbell, would you like some coffee?”
“No but Thanks Maria.”
He walked into his office and sat behind his desk, he flipped down the picture of him and Melody last Christmas, it was the picture they sent out on their Christmas card. A knock sounded at his door.
“Its open,” he called.
In walked Mr. Lone, Mr. Smith and Mrs. Michaels, the owners of the firm. Grant stood up suddenly.
“Mr. Campbell just the person we wanted to see,” said Mr. Lone walking over to his desk and sitting down in front of it. The other two did the exact same.
“Yes sir, what can I do for you?”
“Well we were all talking about it and you know Mr. Murphy they older gentlemen with the office on the third floor?” asked Mr. Smith.
“Well he’s retiring in two months and his partner position has just come available.”
Grant couldn’t feel his legs were they really going to offer him the position.
“We’d like you to have it,” said Mrs. Michaels smiling.
“Really are you serious?”
“Yes we’ve decided to give you the raise now and his office as soon as he retires. How is that?” asked Mr. Lone smiling as well.
“That’s the best news I’ve heard in months sir thank you thank you so much.”
“No problem Campbell, I’ve always liked you.”
The three stood up and all shook Grant’s hand before leaving the room.
“That raise will be in place tomorrow, have a good day Campbell,” said Mr. Lone shutting the door.
Grant let out a little yell of excitement and picked up the phone and dialed Melody’s office number.
“Melody Campbell please,” he said when the receptionist answered.
“One moment while I connect you.”
“Hello,” came Melody’s soft voice.
“Hey Mel,” said Grant happy to hear her speak to him.
“Oh Grant I don’t really have time to talk I’m kind of busy.”
“Melody you’ll never guess what happened?”
“I Just made partner,” said Grant a smile breaking across his face.
“Oh my gosh Grant that’s amazing.”
“I got a raise and a new office, Melody this is what we’ve wanted forever.”
“I know Grant it’s amazing.”
“What time will you be home tonight?”
“Okay see you then.”
“Bye,” said Melody hanging up.
Grant hung up as well and began to work making sure he was out at five. He walked in the front door, changed and began to cook Melody’s favorite dinner; Lasagna. He lit candles and turned on a slow music. Melody walked in at exactly seven.
“Hey I made your favorite dinner,” said Grant as she walked into the kitchen. He handed her a glass of Champagne. Melody took one look at the dinner and the wine she placed it quickly on the table and ran out of the room up the stairs. Grant in a little bit of shock sat down his glass and ran after her. She was sitting on the edge of the bed crying.
“Melody what is the matter with you?” Asked Grant angrily.
“I just I just want to be left alone Grant okay.”
“No Melody I’m sick of you treating me like this I want to know what is going on.”
“Nothing is going on I’m just emotional, at the moment.”
“Are you having an affair?” asked Grant plain and simple.
Melody turned stood and faced him, “An Affair, what makes you think that?”
“Your always at work and your boss seems to be there with you all the time.”
“That’s just because we work together.”
“Yeah I bet,” said Grant storming out of the room.
“Grant come back,” he heard Melody call but Grant continued to walk. He grabbed his jacket off the rack and walked out the door just like the night before. He didn’t stop walking until he was back at the park, where he spotted the little old man again.
“Back again Mr. Campbell,” said the old man without even looking away from the fire. Grant noticed the black box that he pulled the flowers from last night sitting next to him.
“How did you know?”asked Grant who walked up as quietly as he could.
“There is something you need to learn about me.”
“And what is that?”
“I know everything.”
“Everything?’” asked Grant very confused.
“Everything,” repeated the old man glancing at him.
“Well then why am I here?”
“You and your wife had an argument,” said the old man plain and simple.
Grant sat down on the bench, “She’s sleeping with him and I know it.”
“Why do you always expect the worst of her, where is the trust?”
“It’s just that she always seems to be with him.”
“Maybe it’s just a cover up.”
“What do you mean?”
The old man looked at Grant and smiled, “Maybe it’s not as bad as it seems.”
“I still don’t understand.”
“Go home and talk to her, hear her out.”
“I don’t want to talk to her.”
“How are you going to solve anything if you don’t talk to her?”
“I’m afraid she is going to tell me that she wants to leave me.”
“Go home Grant.”
Grant sat still for a second before answering, “Maybe I should go see what she has to say.”
“Good boy. Now take this,” said the old man reaching for his box. He opened the lid and reached inside. He pulled out a tiny pink handkerchief.
“What’s this for?” asked Grant taking it from the old man’s covered hands. It was soft and silky. Grant liked the feel of it against his hands.
“You’ll find out soon enough, now go home and be with your wife.”
“Are you sure?” asked Grant before walking away.
The old man nodded his head, “It will all be okay.”
“Okay,” said Grant pocketing the handkerchief.
Grant left the old man and on his way home prayed once again that everything between him and Melody would work out. When Grant walked into the house he could hear Melody crying from the bedroom.
“Melody,” said Grant walking through the door.
Melody jumped from the bed and ran to him. She fell into his arms, “Where did you go?”
“Just for a walk,” said Grant hugging her never wanting to let go.
“Please don’t ever leave me again,” she whispered.
Grant pulled away from the hug and looked her in the eyes.
“Melody what is going on with you? If you’re not having an affair and you don’t want to leave me then what do you want.”
She looked him back in the eyes and kissed him, “I’m pregnant.”
Grant was speechless he just continued to look at her face full of shock. Finally he said, “Really.”
Melody smiled and said, “Yes.” She began to cry again, this time happy tears.
Grant walked over to the bed and sat on it, “How long?’
Melody knelt down in front of him, “About three months.”
“Three months, and you didn’t tell me?” asked Grant a little more shocked.
“I was afraid, you’ve been so mad at me lately. You’ve been so busy trying to make partner and paying the bills I wasn’t exactly sure what to do.”
Grant kissed her, and then said, “Oh I’m so sorry Melody. I’m always there for you if you need me and you know it.”
“I know that now, I know that now,” she kissed him back and then hugged him with all the might.
As the months passed Grant and Melody spent most of their days together falling back in love with each other. Grant hadn’t given the old man another thought but continued to pray for the health of his unborn child and for his marriage. His job was better than ever and he and Melody were shopping for better homes in better neighborhoods for the baby.
It was a June 10th and it was the hottest day of the year. Melody was in the baby’s room unpacking boxes. They weren’t sure the sex of the baby so the walls were a light green, with white furniture. Grant walked in and placed his arms around her.
“I love you,” he whispered in her ear.
She turned around to face him, “I love you too.”
He kissed her and felt her stomach for signs of the baby.
“I wish it would just come already, I’m sick of being pregnant.”
She was a week overdue and was becoming very irritable.
“She will come soon enough.”
“Why do you keep calling it a she, it could be a little boy.”
“It’s not a boy I can tell.”
“I don’t know I just can,” said Grant kissing her again. He leaned down to her stomach and kissed it too. “How’s Daddy’s little girl?” he asked it.
He felt her stomach lurch. Melody let out a little whimper and was suddenly standing in a puddle of something. Grant jumped backwards looking scared.
“What, what just happened?” he asked.
“My water just broke. We need to get to the hospital.”
Grant suddenly even more scared jumped, “What do I do?’
“Go get the luggage and I’ll call the doctor. After you get the luggage meet me in the car.”
“Are you sure you can make it to the car.”
“Yes Grant just go get the luggage.”
They rushed to the hospital and Melody was put into a private delivery room. They spent most of the night in the room waiting for the baby to be born. Finally at six the following morning a beautiful baby girl was born.
“I told you she was a girl,” gloated Grant while he held Alicia in his arms.
“I know you were right, for a change,” said Melody smiling.
“Hey,” said Grant smiling back at her. He could tell she was exhausted. “Why don’t you get some sleep, you need your rest.”
“I don’t know what if she needs me?”
“You heard the Doctor when the baby sleeps so should you and she’s out,” said Grant looking down into her angelic face. Her skin had a few blotches but it was the most beautiful blotchy face he had ever seen. Melody fell asleep almost immediately, Grant who had been waiting for this moment for the longest time smiled. He wanted to run down to the gift shop and buy her something that was as beautiful as she was. He placed Alicia down in the plastic bassinet. He reached inside his jeans pocket for his wallet and when he pulled it out a single pink handkerchief fell onto the floor.
Grant bent down and picked it up. It was the handkerchief the old man had given him back so many months ago. He wondered for a second were the old man was. Was he still alive, was he still visiting the park, had he finally decided to go to the shelter? He ran the handkerchief through his fingers and noticed something he hadn’t before, there was something stitched into one of the corners. It read;
June 11th 2006
He continued to stare at the pink cloth for minutes amazed at what he was seeing. Maybe the old man really did know everything. But there was no way he could have known the date of his daughter’s birth. How would he have known her name? And grant knew that the wording hadn’t been there when he had received it.
“Grant,” came Melody’s soft voice. “What ya got there?”
Coming back to life Grant turned to her, “Something for Alicia,” he said walking over to Alicia.
“Bring the both of them here,” said Melody smiling.
Grant put the handkerchief over his arm and gently picked up his beautiful baby girl. He handed her to Melody who kissed Alicia on the head.
“She really is gorgeous isn’t she?”
“Yeah, she is.” Grant kissed her on the forehead.
“Let me see that,” said Melody talking about the handkerchief.
Grant pulled it off his arm and showed it to her.
“Oh Grant its lovely.”
Grant smiled down at her, “Yeah I thought it was.”
Melody soon fell back asleep holding Alicia on her chest. Grant lay next to the both of them watching the most amazing sight he had seen in months. He kissed Melody on the head and ran a finger across Alicia’s soft face. He thought back to the old nice old man once again from the park. He had not been back to see him since that freezing December night. Something told him that he wasn’t suppose to go back. He knew that he would only be there when Grant needed him. After that night Grant no longer needed his help.
He looked up toward the ceiling and whispered, “Thank you God, for letting everything work out.” He smiled once more at his two favorite girls then fell asleep right next to them knowing that his life was finally the way it should be.