Spring had finally come and the park was filled to the brim with people. From couples on a picnic to children running and playing, dog walkers, bicyclists and even the elderly feeding the birds they were all enjoying the pleasant Saturday afternoon.
They felt a slight tremor but continued about their activities until another one occured...then another...then another. Each one becoming more frequent and powerful, they were in awe as he appeared over the tree lines. Wearing a grey shirt and a pair of shorts they couldn't help but stare.
He stopped and bit his lip, his face felt flush as he surveyed the park. "Um...hello?" Matthew felt uneasy, he had not been back to this park in 20 years not since he was here with Katie, his future wife. He stepped gingerly, watching his feet to make sure he wasn't stepping on something or worse someone.
He approached a group of children at a playground, they stared slack jawed as he stopped and smiled down at the group. "Hello little ones, I hope I'm not bothering you but I was wondering if you wouldn't mind another playmate?" They looked at each other puzzled thinking he was referring to himself, they watched as his enclosed hand lowered down to them.
After a moment a pair of tiny hands was gripping the side of his forefinger followed by a very tiny face peering from the side. When Mina caught a glimpse of her tiny peers she ducked behind his fingers. "Mina? We talked about this. I want you to make some friends." She looked up at him, her emerald green eyes looked so sad.
Matthew knew she was very shy and after being picked on school for her height she would rather avoid people. He brought his finger down and straightened her bangs as she slowly nodded, "OK daddy." She cautiously slid off his palm and began to walk to the group of children who were watching in awe. She got halfway there before she turned back to her father.
"Go on honey." He said smiling which gave her a reassuring feeling, she walked up to the group and looked at the nervously. "H-H-Hi." They were unsure of what to do, getting more nervous she once again turned to her father who was now walking away to find a spot to sit. She lowered her head and sighed, "Hi."
Mina picked her head up and stared into a blue shirt, looking up she saw a young boy's smiling face looking down at her, he looked to be around the same age but was much taller. "H-Hi." He smiled and blushed, his pink cheeks framed by his blonde hair and blue eyes. "My name is Jacob. What's yours?" She twirled side to side, her cheeks flush as she sheepishly answered, "Mina."
"Was that your dad? That's cool. Do you think maybe sometime I can ride in his hand one day?" Mina giggled, "I'm pretty sure he will." She looked down, biting her lip and trying to hide her huge grin. Jacob smiled and extended his hand, "Come on, let's play a game. Mina took his hand and giggled, "Ok, what are we going to play?"
"Let's play tag." Mina's eyes lit up, "I love tag, I'm the best in the world." Jacob grinned, "Oh, I think I am. You want to know something neat?" She nodded and leaned in to listen, suddenly his finger tapped her shoulder and broke into a full blown run. "TAG! You're it!" She frowned and ran after him, "No fair!" They chased each other, both gleefully yelling.
Matthew turned and smiled, it made him feel better seeing his daughter make a new friend. He continued his way to the parents gathered nearby watching their children play. They all stared up at Matthew's giant form, waving at them. "Hey folks, sorry hope I'm not interupting." They all sat there silent, some staring others looking away and murmuring amongst themselves.
"I'll just...be over..." Matthew took the hint and saw a large oak tree nearby and walked over to it. He carefully sat so as not to cause the ground to shake and make sure nothing was underneath him as well. He sat cross legged and looked back over at the group of parents, some still staring and whispering.
He sighed and turned his attention back towards his daughter and her new friend as they chased each other around the playground. Matthew laid against the tree and stared up at the clouds for a moment before he felt a presence nearby. He looked down to his left and notice a young woman staring up at hin, "Do you mind if I sit beside you?"
Matthew was dumbfounded and stumbled a bit with his words, "Uh, s-s-sure, l mean no, I mean..." He never felt so dumb before, he wasn't used to be approached by people and it threw his mind for a loop. The young woman let out a giggle and understood what he meant sitting down beside him.
She looked up and smiled before turning her attention back to the playground. "She yours?" Matthew smiled and nodded, "Yes, her name is Mina. Which one is yours?" The woman chuckled, "That boy she is chasing, his name is Jacob." Matthew smiled, "Handsome boy." The woman smiled, "Thank you and I have to say your daughter is a real cutie."
Matthew nodded, "Thank you. He's a big fella, how old is he? 10? 12?" The woman turned back and got silent for a moment, "He's 6." Matthew's eyes widened, "6? He's going to be a big fella." The woman chuckled, "Oh I know, he is already a handful now." They both chuckled, "I know how you feel. I hate to say it but Mina has me wrapped around her finger."
They both chuckled, "My name is Matthew. Matthew Towers." He offered his finger down as she shook it, "My name is Angelina Williams." Matthew's brows furrowed as he racked his brain, "Williams? Williams? Angel? Little Angel Williams?" She chuckled, "Yep, that kid you used to babysit all grown up."
Matthew let out a laugh that everyone in the park heard, "I remember, you used to play tag and as I recall you were impossible to catch even for someone like me." Angel blushed, "Well, now you might be able to catch me easy." Matthew chuckled and turned back to watch Mina still chasing Jacob.
"Well if he is anything like you Mina might have her hands full." They both chuckled, "So how have you been? I never saw you around town all this time." Angel shook her head, "Me and Jacob moved back six months ago, we still are getting settled in." Matthew nodded, "If you don't mind me asking, where's Jacob's father?"
Angel became quiet, "He's not in the picture." He bit his lip, "I'm sorry." She smiled and shook her head, "Don't be, I'm glad. He didn't want anything to do with me or Jacob. The second I told him I was having his child he left." Matthew sat there for a minute, wanting to ask her a question but not sure how to ask her without offending her.
"Angel?....How old?..." She looked up at him. "I was 16 when I got pregnant. I never thought I could do it but he is so precious I don't know I could live without him." Matthew couldn't help but smile, "So where is your wife? I remember you and Katherine Fellows used to hang out."
Matthew nodded, "Yeah we still dated and a year after the war we got married." Angel smiled warmly, "Well I hope I'm not going to cause any trouble talking with you. Not sure if she is the jealous type." There was an awkward silence before Matthew spoke up, "You don't have to worry about that." Angel shifted a bit, "Did you two get divorced?"
Once again there was am awkward silence, "She...she...she was killed in a car accident when Mina was six months old." Matthew's chest heaved a bit as his voice cracked. "A truck driver had a heart attack and died at the wheel, he hit her broadside. They said she never knew or felt when it happened."
Angel reached out and stroked his thumb, she fought back tears when she saw him tremble a bit. "I'm so sorry. I'm so so sorry." She hugged the end of his thumb and buried her face against it. After a moment she shook when his fingertip stroked her back, she looked up at his tear filled eyes as he tried to smile.
"Thank you." He could barely speak as a tear rolled down his cheek, Angel climbed on his hand and brought her up to his chest. She leaned against his chest with his large hand holding her gently, both of them needing each other's comfort.
"Daddy?" They both quickly broke their embrace and turned to see Mina and Jacob staring at them. "Mommy, is everything ok?" The two little ones had a look of worry on their face. "Yes honey, mommy is just catching up with an old friend." Matthew smiled and lowered hid hand down to them, Mina quickly climbed on but Jacob was uncertain. "Go on sweetie, he's nice."
Jacob climbed on with Mina and soon he was holding all three. "Tell you what, how about I buy everyone ice cream?" The two children responded with a happy yell, turning towards a smiling Angel, "Is it a date?"