I arrive home late at night to find Dante and Martin hanging out in the living room.
“Cathy!” says Martin. “We missed you! Glad you made it back safe and sound.”
After Martin leaves, Dante and I sit together on the love seat.
“Was it wonderful?” he asks.
“It was. I missed you.”
“So, you’re a world traveler. What’s next? Asia?”
“I don’t know. I like it here.” I tell him that I’ve been reflecting on how quickly time passes. Soon I’ll be old, too.
“Time’s stopped for you,” I say. “You’re not getting older. Will you still like me when I’m stooped and gray?”
He laughs. “You heard the love machine, all those years ago. Our love lasts, sweet.”
I tell him that it feels strange to think of how quickly life goes, not knowing exactly what I want or how to get it.
“I’ve got a feeling you want family, something normal,” he says. “Is that it?”
“I don’t know,” I confess.
“I can’t give you a child. Or at least not a normal one. I wish I could. I really think you should adopt.”
“But then I’d be a mom.”
“You’d be a great mom,” he says. “And I’d love the child like it was mine. Maybe, through time, it kinda could be. In spirit, at least.”
So I pick up the phone the next day and call the social worker. He tells me they’ll do the background check and then put my name on the list.
“Don’t get too excited,” he says. “These things usually take time.”
But this time, it doesn’t take time! Two days later, I get a call saying they’ve got a child who needs immediate placement, and a few hours later, this man who looks like a kid himself drops by. At first, I think I’m adopting him. He looks like he’d make a great son. But then I see he’s carrying a basket, which he sets down with a smile.
And then he’s gone, and I’m lifting a little bunny in a balaclava out of the basket.
It’s my daughter, Marigold.
And the moment she looks in my eyes, I melt.
I’m halfway panicked and halfway thrilled and two-thirds delighted and one third petrified. What have I done? And what is this miracle? And will life ever be the same?
And the answer, of course, is no. This little bunny has changed my world.
It’s the coldest night of the year so far. All the plants in my garden will be snipped by frost. Summer is long forgotten.
But in my heart, a sun rises and shines so bright. I think I will never be cold again.