Paul looked at the highlighted verse. For all he knew, Nobody was listening upstairs when Paul argued with his mom. That didn’t seem right though. Arguing with his mom didn’t seem so right at the moment either.
Paul turned and walked out his door. He was halfway down the stairs when he heard his mother crying. He took a deep breath and continued down the stairs.
“I said go to your room!” She must have heard him.
“I did, and I will,” he could tell she was about to shout again, so he just spoke as quickly as he could, “but I wanted to apologize.”
He finished walking down the stairs, wondering if she would just send him upstairs. Instead, she said, “I’m doing my best.”
“I know. Look, I was a jerk, OK? I should have done my homework first.” Come to think of it, if Paul had done as she’d asked, would he have managed to avoid Dorney? How about the would-be bullies at the arcade? “I’ll try harder to listen from now on.”
She looked at him skeptically. “Not sure how many kids tell their moms that only to ignore them a second later.”
Paul shrugged. “Fair point, but you’ll be there to ground me if I do, and I know I’m still grounded.”
She cocked her head. “What shifted your mood so quickly?”
My possibly-imaginary guardian angel wrote me a stern letter. “I just had a few seconds to think. I know I still have a temper, and I know I still try to ignore you, and it’s wrong.” He thought for a few moments. His next words seemed to surprise him. “Can you forgive me.”
She chuckled and wrapped her arms around him. “That I can do.”
“What if I mess up again?” he asked, hugging her back.
“Then I’ll forgive you again.”
“What if I mess up another time?” He looked up at her and realized he was afraid. He was terrified that she’d get tired of him. He realized he never wanted to go back to the days she just let him do whatever he wanted. It made him feel so alone.
She smiled at him. “No matter how many times you mess up, I’ll still love you, and I’ll still forgive you. Every time you come to me.”
He gripped her harder, snuggling his cheek into her arm.
“But you’re still grounded.”
He looked up to see her smiling. “I know. I’m going to do my homework now.”
He darted upstairs, but she stopped him by calling out, “When you finish …”
He froze and looked back.
“Maybe you can play one of your games,” she said. “I’ll watch and cheer you on.”
“You’ll watch?” he asked.
“If you like.”
He smiled. “That’d be cool.” He turned and rushed back to his room. When he got there, another letter was waiting on his desk.
Paul again looked around. He searched through his closet and under his bed. He even looked out his window and around the hall into the bathroom. There wasn’t even a new wet spot on his carpet. Maybe he teleported back to the exact same spot. But how did he know when to do it? Why didn’t he just talk to me?
He looked at the note.
“You’re mother has one of the most beautiful concepts of forgiveness. John 6:37.”
Paul tisked. He went to the Bible and rummaged around until he found the book and chapter. Then he used the new letter Nobody had left to scan the page until he found the right verse.
“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me, I will never cast out.”
Paul cleared his throat and blinked his eyes. He’d be dammed if he got all teary eyed just because he read a verse that made him think of his mom.
“You’re right,” Paul said. Maybe Nobody was listening. “It’s wonderful to know she’ll always be there.”
Paul closed the Bible and set the letter face down. That’s when he saw more words.
“… and so will Christ. You just have to go to Him.”
Paul froze. His heart seemed to pound in his ear. Nobody didn’t just travel through space. He seemed to know what Paul thought and felt. And, somehow, he knew what Paul would do and say even before he did it.
… to be continued …