It had been one of those days, you know? Billy decided to take on a project that Blake was apparently unable to complete on his own. Reeeal big surprise there, huh? But anyway… So, we pack ourselves up and head over to Ali’s place so she and I could hang out and I could snorgle the baby a bit. Hey, a girl’s gotta get her lovin’ somehow.
Anyway, Ali’s in her chair, feeding the baby while Rory is running around playing airplane. God, I love that kid. He’s too happy all the time. So, he sees me, and grins one of his daddy’s huge grins and he flies by. Billy never made it farther than the garage where Blake was tearing something apart.
“Should I even ask what’s going on out there?”
Ali rolled her eyes. “No, probably not.”
Just as I figured. We sit and we talk, passing the baby back and forth once she’s done nursing. Eventually, she starts fussing and I hand her back, knowing far too well what it means. While she’s elbow deep in smelly baby, Ali realizes we haven’t seen Rory in awhile. Figuring he was asleep in the middle of the floor somewhere – the kid sleeps where he falls – I get up and go look.
Not in the kitchen, not in his bedroom either. And nope, no Rory in the nursery or in Mama’s room. Thinking he must’ve slipped outside, I go to the garage and look out. At first, all I see is Billy standing over a kneeling Blake, discussing the best way to destroy whatever it is they’re trying to build. Since I still don’t see the munchkin anywhere, I move to step into the garage to look for him.
And I almost step in a pile of sawdust. Now, I should have expected that much having heard the noises coming from the garage. But, what I wasn’t prepared for were the little footprints that made their meandering way through the shavings covering the garage floor.
I’d never noticed just how small that boy’s feet were, but I couldn’t help but notice now. Following the tiny foot prints, I eventually found my target sitting just behind his daddy and Billy, Blake’s John Deere hat falling down over his eyes, bare feet sticking out of his dirty overalls. Ah, so that explains why I couldn’t find him at least. As I get closer, I see he has a plastic hammer in one hand and his infamous stuffed bass in the other. He’s got the poor bass head-first on the cement and is pounding his tail with the hammer.
“Whatcha doin’ there, Bucky?” I just had to know what his answer was going to be. Blake and Billy both look up and grin at the silly little boy.
“I hammin’,” he tells me.
“Really? What are you hammering?”
“My FISH!” he squeals, eliciting a hearty laugh out of his father.
“That’s my boy,” Blake grins proudly. He would, you know.
“Why are you hammering your poor fishy, Rory?”
“Cuz. I work like Daddy.”
Blake’s grin faded, replaced by a thoughtful sort of smile. He put down the hammer he’d been showing Billy and gathered his son up, looking like a puppeteer with a mini-me puppet. Pushing the oversized hat back off Rory’s face he tweaked his son’s nose and laughed. “Oh yeah? Just don’t let your mama know that, okay? She’s worried enough about what I’M doing out here. We don’t need her knowing you’re following right behind.”
It never fails to amaze me how he uses humor to defuse all sorts of situations. I’ve seen him make Ali laugh at a moment where she was this close to shooting him. Or make Billy laugh in the midst of his darkest hour. I had had my reservations about what kind of father he was going to be, but I think I finally understand. He’s not the irresponsible goof that he comes off as. At least, not always.
Blake passes Rory over to me, asking me to take him in and dust him off, they’re getting ready to start sawing again and the rugrat is safer inside. So I take him in, thinking about what I just saw. And you know what sticks the most in my mind?
Not even Blake.
Yep, that’s what I just said. Billy. The whole time this is going on, he’s watching Blake holding his son, talking to him like he’s just one of the guys. He couldn’t take his eyes off the scene unfolding before him and that hit me where it hurts. Hard.
I guess the good news is I think I’m ready to give Billy an answer. His baby will be here by summer. How can I deny him the sort of pleasures his best friend has? I can’t or, at least, I can’t deny him for the reasons I have up until now. Keeping him from truly being daddy because of my own fears is no longer an option.
And I suddenly realize that I don’t want it to be, either. I’m ready to take that plunge.
God help me, but I am. And all because of some tiny footprints in the sawdust. Who’d have ever thunk it?
~ A Very Thoughtful Scarlett