His mama called to tell me he was getting out next week..
He’s a different man now, Rachel, she said.
That’s the problem, I said, he was always a different man, on a day-to-day basis.
He’ll want to meet Lizzy, she said.
Lizzy called Chris daddy the other day. It made him so happy that I didn’t have the heart to tell him how it made me feel. He definitely deserves the title. He’s such a good father to her, taking her fishing and bowling, planning her birthday party. He reads her bedtime stories every night and makes her French toast every morning.
I told him about Chandler getting out of rehab. Chris is a saint, says that he would like to meet Chandler, that he will tell him about our engagement. Not like Chandler doesn’t know. It is a small town and so I am sure someone has told him by now. His mama said he didn’t know but his mama has been known to lie for Chandler, just as I used to do when his work or, later, his probation officer called. That’s the way it is with Chandler, you cover for him even when you knew he was using, especially if you remember who he was before the accident.
If I could travel back in time, I would go back to the night before they left and slash the tires on his friend’s van, fill the gas tank with water. Then again, had I done that, I would not be shopping for a wedding dress now.
I’ll set up the visit in Lizzy’s favorite park. It is nice there beside the marsh. She can play and Chris and Chandler can talk out in the open.
If Chandler is actually clean, then they will get along. It is a little embarrassing for me because they look so much alike they could be brothers. After she met Chris for the first time, my mama said, girl, you definitely have a type. Chris, of course, is a little on the heavy side but she’s right. Same strawberry blond hair, same blue eyes, albeit a different shade. And maybe, subconsciously, I was initially attracted to Chris because he reminded me of Chandler, before the accident.
Chandler is more passionate though, more adventurous. The fact is that most likely I would not have been able to stop him from going on that road trip. And considering how everything turned out, I am glad in some ways that he went, that he hiked the Grand Canyon and swam in the Pacific Ocean, that he climbed to the top of a redwood tree. I see that same sense of adventure in Lizzy already, the way she has no problem jumping off the swing in mid-air or how she runs straight into the waves at the beach. I’ll always have to keep my eye on her, I know, but I am glad she inherited that from him, along with his deep blue eyes.
Inspired by this obituary: https://www.fbnewsleader.com/obituaries/chandler-cook