About thirteen years earlier…
Gregory Andrews looked out the window wondering where his dad was taking him. Wherever itwas, it couldn’t be good. Not after he shoved Brad down for taking Meg’s doll. He only meant to get thetoy back but he jumped on Brad when he taunted him for being a
. Despite the undeniablefact that Brad started it, Greg understood he was in big trouble. He knew better than to hit anybody.They had just left his kindergarten after his father had a long discussion about his behavior behindclosed doors with Father Francis. Andy, his father, hadn’t said a word since. The silence was torture.Greg couldn’t believe his eyes when they pulled into the Family Fun Zone parking lot. “We’re playing putt-putt golf?” He sat up tall wondering what the catch was.“No.” Andy answered mysteriously.They walked to the far side of the building where the batting cages were. It was better than golf.He had begged his father to take him since he could talk and now when he had been so bad, he was finallygoing to bat like the big boys.Andy bought some tokens, a shiny new bat and gloves for Greg. They walked down to the slow pitch machine. He sat down on the bench and patted for Greg to sit next to him.Greg sat sure it was a trick and a punishment was coming.“Father Francis told me what happened.” His father’s kind eyes scanned over Greg and then hisstrong arms wrapped him in an ironclad hug. “You’re mother isn’t coming back. It’s my fault not yours.”He was near tears. “Never think it was because of you.”Greg wept. It wasn’t a shock. After three years, how could it be? It still hurt to hear. “I don’tcare.” He sniffled.“I’ll do whatever I can to make sure you never lack anything.” Andy didn’t ease up his hold. “Ilove you, Greg. Never forget that.”“Me too Dad.” Greg wiped his hand across his snotty nose clearing away the mucus puddle thathad formed. Andy mussed up his hair. To Greg that was a greater sign of love than any words could ever be. Then his father cleaned off his hands and face with a wet nap.“Hi Greg.” Brad said.