This week you get TWO excerpts. YEAH!!!
The Rooming House Gallery – Connecting the Dot
Around ten-thirty Christmas Eve, Josh and Andres slipped into the Thompson’s home. A small, sparsely decorated artificial Christmas tree stood on an end table, with a glass of milk and plate of cookies in front of it.
“I told the kids we don’t do Christmas up big around here, but Santa most definitely was a comin,” Mrs. T said. “I don’t think these little ones never had a real Christmas, so that’s why I asked you to help us surprise them. I can’t wait to see the looks on their little faces when they see this. Now, Andres, you go get the bikes you two bought them and the big things outs of the garage and Josh, you get along with him and bring in the tree.
Josh slept on the couch and was first to hear whispering from the kitchen. He poked Andres and they looked across the dining room to see three sets of huge brown eyes glistening in the dim light from the kitchen stove. Eva held Peanut. Josh turned on the tree lights and the eyes got even larger. Josh and Andres walked across the dining room and knelt by the kids who snuggled against them, still speechless. Peanut, who surprisingly looked wide awake, was in Eva’s arms until Andres took him.
“Let’s wait a few more minutes so Mr. T and Mrs. T can sleep, okay?” Josh asked. The kids waited, or tried to. Soon, Peanut started to wriggle and squeal, wanting to get down and crawl. “Eva, why don’t you walk quietly to their bedroom and wake up the Thompsons. Just be quiet, all right?”
Andres snickered and gave Josh a skeptical look as Eva and Spidey tore toward the bedroom, screaming, “Santa came. He’s real, he came and so did Josh and Andres.”
Josh and Andres spent the day with the Thompsons and kids. That night, getting ready for bed, Andres said, “I think that was one of the best days of my life. Short of meeting you, of course.”
“I feel the same way. I can’t wait to finish the foster parent training and begin the licensing process. I think the kids are beginning to realize we’re going to be close to them for a long time.”
“Someday, I want to be called Papa, that’s Spanish for Daddy.”
“I’ll settle for Dad.”
There was silence as they climbed into bed, kissed good night, turned off the light and drifted into their own thoughts and dreams of the prospect of parenthood. The only fly in the ointment Josh knew of was their housing situation might not meet the requirements for a DCFS foster home. Might not? It couldn’t, unless they turned it back into a full apartment, which made no sense. Let’s just make a decision to rent someplace, he thought. That raised other issues. How big a place? Where? Locally or further out? West, north or south? The suburbs? He hated that thought, both he and Andres were city boys. And was the art center secure enough to move out of? Who would watch it? It was a circle of issues, all solvable, but how and when?
I know, I know. I gave some things away. But not everything. There’s more coming this Wednesday.
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