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A Family Affair

by: Guildford Windley

A Family Affair

As I reflect back to the day
It was not that long ago; but it seems like a million years
One quick moment
Then it was the end
Her father had died; he was the last of her family
Now all alone
In a world that’s cold and uncaring
Left on her own, at the young age of 10
She wandered the streets
Homeless was she
It was by sheer circumstance
That we met
At the time two years had pass since her dear dad’s death
She was a poor beggar girl
Of twelve
I a gentleman of some means
I took a quick liking to this cherub
For the next few months
I would see her smile
At the door of my establishment
My child, please come in I would say
We together would take lunch
She had a knack for brightening my day
I would share my food we would take solace
In both our fates
For you see while I had great wealth
My wife was without child
Our home
Still and cold
My wife distant from me
To bore a child
Was her desire, yet it could not be
Through the days
This young child brought comfort to me
In her eyes one could see wisdom beyond her years
She would stay for awhile
Helped with the store
Her time well spent sharing the moments with me
Then at some point each night
She said that she must go
I would give her some money to hold her for the night
This went on for some time, about a year or so
Then curiosity grabbed me
I had to know, where this child would go
One day after we said goodbye and she had left the store
I closed up early to follow her
Staying back and out of sight
For I fear if she saw me
She would be mad
Well, she walked along the boulevard
All her earthly possessions, were in her backpack
Here and there she would stop
To greet someone
She was easy to follow
Her bright smile
Like a beacon
Guided me, as she took her stroll
Then we came upon a flower shop
She disappeared for a while
When she left the flower shop
She had a bunch of sunflowers
Odd I thought
With little money
Here she spent it on something that’s not necessary
I must say I was taken back
On such frivolous waste
I made a note to tell her so
But I was losing track of her
So I hurried to keep her insight
I lost her momentarily
As she snuck around the corner
Where, could she have gone, I thought
Now, nowhere in sight
Suddenly, I caught a glimpse of her
She had just entered
The old graveyard
It was now getting dark
As the Sun had already set
As I followed I had my concern
This was no place for a child, and it’s getting cold
Then she stopped
Near a willowing tree
Underneath the branches
Covered in darkness
An old scarred stone marker
Near the twisted old base of the tree
The stone marker stood guard; like a sentinel as it watched 0ver the grave
Here she was
This young child
Cleaning and manicuring this run down old site
A grave of no importance
It stood neglected
She was the only one who paid it attention
As I watch her from the bushes
With loving hand she placed the flowers in a water stand
I heard her say in her soft voice
Love you mommy and daddy
She then kissed the old stone
Then and there, I understood
After a while
She picked up her backpack
From it
She took a flimsy blanket
She wrapped it around her
Then laid on the cold wet ground
I with tears in my eyes
Said enough
I then walked out of the bushes
She jerked up with fear in her eyes
Then, without a sound; she smile when she saw who I was
I kneeled beside her; with concern in my face
I said to her, my dear child, had I known I would have taken you home
This is no place for you; you’ll catch your death in this cold
Come home with me my child, my wife will make you welcome
She knows of you, and wants so very much to meet you
She looked at me, a smile on her trusting face
As I lifted her in my arms, her arms around my neck
We headed home
As I reach the door of my home
There was my wife at the door
Something happen that night
For my wife lit up with smile
The two of them were inseparable
Laughter filled the place
Well, it was soon after that
That my wife and I ask
Her if would she be part of our family
She said yes!
It took some work, with the people down town
But The Judge cleared the way
That’s how we became a family
It’s been two years now
That Mary, that’s her name
Became our daughter
My world has change
I have found great comfort in this new love
Our house is now bright and cheery
My wife now has smiles, and we have found the love which we had lost
My life is of joy
Because of Mary
We now have a new routine
After her school, she comes by the shop
Those moments are precious to us
She helps around the store
Then when we close up
We walk hand and hand down
The Boulevard
To the old flowers shop
We buy two bundles of sunflowers
One for her parents who lie peacefully, in their well manicure Burial Site
The other bundle sits on the dinner table fresh each night
For her new family to share
It just goes to show you, you never can tell
There’s more than one way
For family to be
Yes some come with the birth of a new born child
Then again
A child could walk through your shop door
With a big Smile!

Guildford H Windley
September 13, 2018

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