07 November 2008

The Meeting

You thought it would never happen. You thought I had forgotten about Rebecca and Vince and Garrett and Becky. But you were wrong! I have finally taken the time to write a bit more... so I hope you enjoy a little more of Vince's nostalgic recollections... Part twelve follows:

It was a blistering hot August afternoon in 1995 when Vince first darkened the doorway at Garrett Glass. Dressed in full Army Dress Uniform he was an impressive figure. Garrett was in a hurry, needed to get to an appointment he explained and asked how he could help Vince.

"I want to talk to you about my niece." he said.
"I don't think that I know your niece, Sir" Garrett explained
"I think you do. Her name is Becky."

Garrett stopped dead in his tracks and looked Vince straight in the eye. "So you are Vince then." he said and held out his hand. Vince recalled his firm honest handshake - truly a man's handshake tells us of his character. There was just something about Garrett. He intended to really throw his weight around and show tis guy who was boss. Instead he almost instantly liked him.

"Vince, I'm sorry - I am really running late here. I would love to talk to you about Becky, but I have to get going. You are welcome to ride along if you like. We can talk on the way."

This was the first day of what would prove to be the best friendship of Vince's life. The two rode together in that beat up old truck that Garrett was so fond of. Vince laughed to himself thinking of all the times he tried to talk Garrett into buying something new, but all Garrett ever wanted to spend extra money on was that 1957 Cadillac Convertible that he was restoring. Well, that and Becky of course. His devotion to that little girl was beyond imagination. She wasn't spoiled - but he made sure that she was properly cared for - and well, maybe a little bit spoiled. But they had a chemistry between them, a connection that was unbelievable. When Becky came into a room, Garrett's eyes lit up - she ran to him with complete joy and abandon - like they had been separated for months even though it had only been hours.

Vince helped Garrett replace Mrs. McClosky's windshield. They said little while they were working and Mrs. McClosky looked confused about why this army gentleman in his fancy uniform was helping to repair her Toyota Corolla. When they finished they said goodbye and headed back to the shop. On the way, Garrett told him about Caterina.

"Since she's been back, I've tried to help her stay sober. She lies all the time about her drinking, Vince. She shows up at odd hours. I let her see Becky, but not alone. Too afraid she may black out, or just forget what she is doing. We go to the park together..." Garrett tried to explain.

"You knew she was a drunk when you met her, Garrett. How did you get so close, so intimate with her if drinking bothers you so much? Did you really think you would change her?" Vince was agitated.

Garrett didn't answer. He just drove. Vince remembered thinking that he may have crossed a line - upset him somehow - touched a nerve. Eventually they pulled up in front of the shop.

"You want to meet her?" Garrett asked
"Becky? Sure - I mean of course!" Vince answered, relieved that Garrett finally was talking again.

They went across the street to a second story house-apartment. A large woman with bright silver hair and kind blue eyes answered the door. "Hi Mrs. Ivanov. I'm here for my lunch date" Garrett said. Mrs. Ivanov held the door open for him to enter the apartment. "Daddy!" Becky ran around the corner in a yellow sundress, her hair in pig tails and threw her arms around Garrett with such blatant happiness, you couldn't help but smile to see this reunion.

When she saw Vince, she froze. Her face changed. Tears began to well up in her little toddler eyes. She must have been afraid of him - the uniform, his height - he was never sure what it had been exactly. Garrett explained that this was her Uncle Vince, that she didn't need to be afraid and when Vince offered his hand to her to shake, she tentatively put her little hand out as well - and Vince fell in love instantly.

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