Chapter 31 – David
“Just stop it,” David said, standing up. “You don’t have to keep at it until she cries.”
Dylan stared at him in surprise.
“David, it’s all right. I’m okay,” Elizabeth said.
“He doesn’t have to treat you that way.”
“David, he’s just concerned.”
“He’s not concerned about anyone unless it’s his job.”
“That’s not true, David. Please. I’m too tired to argue with you right now.”
Argue with him? He wasn’t arguing with her. Why was she defending him? But she looked so tired. He didn’t want her to get sick again. David turned to Keith, the only other person in the room he trusted. “She needs rest.”
Keith looked at Dylan.
Dylan looked at Elizabeth and then David. “You’re right, David. She needs rest right now. Elizabeth, why don’t you go up to our room and take a nap.”
“Tell her you’ll be fine, David, so she’ll rest.”
David hesitated. He only took orders from people he trusted or who Elizabeth had told him to. But what Dylan said made sense. “I will be okay, Mom. Please rest. I don’t want you to have to go to the hospital again.”
Elizabeth stood. “I don’t think I’m ready for the hospital yet. Don’t be afraid to come get me.”
David agreed, and watched as Kathy led her out of the room. Paul would have carried her. He noticed both Dylan and Keith were watching him. He quickly left the music room and went out the front door. He walked until he came to a bench that Dylan had placed under a tree. He sat down, brought his feet up, and held his legs.
Elizabeth loved Paul. Paul acted like he loved her, but he said he didn’t want her. They both said they loved him. Is it possible, Jesus, that you could give me a family like Keith has. Except Paul is much better than Dylan. He didn’t even need to think about Elizabeth being better than Kathy. Elizabeth was better than anyone. He was a little annoyed at Paul for not wanting Elizabeth. For someone as smart as he was, it was a really stupid thing not to love Elizabeth. But as long as he didn’t accept Elizabeth fully, David couldn’t accept him fully.
Dylan came toward him across the lawn. David could barely see him in the dim light from the moon. He was tempted to walk away from him, but decided to stay. Dylan sat on the opposite end of the bench.
“You’re right, David,” Dylan began quietly. “Sometimes when we are close to people we think we know what’s best for them, and we think we have a right to know all that’s going on with them. I love Elizabeth, David. I care that she’s happy, and I care if she’s hurt. Sometimes a friend has to tell another friend if they think something isn’t right, but sometimes we should just shut up. I think I don’t know when to shut up. But Elizabeth understands that I only speak up because I care.”
David didn’t respond or look at him.
“I do the same thing to you, David. I care about you, and I think I know what’s best for you, so I keep saying it. I want to make a deal with you.”
David turned his head to look at him.
“I’ll promise not to mention Chicago or anything about it to you or anyone else, if you promise to forgive me for not being able to live up to the image you had of me before you came here.”
He’d never mention it again? Was he serious? “What do I have to do?”
Dylan shifted and put one foot up on the bench, resting his arms on his knee so that he could face David. “I know you thought I was a certain kind of person when you came to find me. You must have believed that I would be different than I am, and when you got to know me, you were disappointed. I’m sorry I couldn’t live up to that image. I don’t even know what it was. I admit when I first met you, I thought you were a certain way. I was afraid that you would hurt Elizabeth and Jared like you had been hurt.”
“I would never do that. God hates that,” David said, shocked.
“I know. I was wrong, David. I can see you love her very much. Do you think it would be possible if we could both forget those images we had of each other and just accept each other as we are? Do you think if we did that we might eventually be friends?”
“You told me about Jesus. You were the first person to look at me with kind eyes, and the first person to give me anything. I thought you would l… care about me and answer all my questions about God. I thought we would play our music together and worship and tell people about Jesus. I thought you would always protect me.”
“You wanted to worship and tell people about Jesus when you first came here over a year ago?”
“I wanted to do what you did. I thought you knew everything about Jesus. I didn’t know very much.”
“I never knew, David.” They sat in silence as the night darkened, and the house was only visible because of the light from the windows. “Maybe someday we can still play music and tell people about Jesus together.”
“I am never leaving Elizabeth unless you tell those people where I am, and I have to leave to protect her.”
“I meant when you are older you could come with me when I go on tour. You are good enough musically that you could do it now, but Elizabeth wants you to wait until you’re older. She’s right about that.”
“You want me to give concerts with you?”
“Yes, after you turn eighteen.”
David tried to see if he was serious, but his features weren’t clear in the dark. “Elizabeth could come, too?”
“She could if she wanted, I suppose, but she’d probably be bored. There wouldn’t be that much for her to do, and I don’t know if she could leave her business that long.”
“She… We’ve written a song together, and she sings with me.”
“Really? Will you play it for me?”
They walked back to the house together.
Wednesday, June 19th and following
The next morning Dylan listened to the song intently. Then he asked them to sing it again, and he taped it. “Would you mind if I recorded this, David? I like it a lot.”
“You want to put it on an album? Are you sure it’s good enough?”
“Yes. I’ll make a few changes in production, and we’ll add more instruments, of course, but I like it. Maybe you could come down in October when I record, and you could see how it’s done.”
“You’ll have to give us the exact dates, and then we’ll see if we can come,” Elizabeth said.
After lunch David and Elizabeth started for home.
This year David was prepared for Elizabeth’s birthday. He walked downtown while she worked one day and bought her another emerald necklace. This one wasn’t a pendant; the stone was set in a gold collar. He wished he could have gone shopping with Paul. David wrote and told Paul what he had bought and asked if he thought she’d like it. Paul said he imagined she would.
On Elizabeth’s birthday a small package came from Paul. It contained an opal pendant and earring set. David admired them. They look almost green, but there are so many other colors, too. At Christmas he was going to have to look around. Maybe there were many other green stones besides emeralds and opals.
When Jared came David hid the kinnor in the back of his closet. He did find later that some of his sheet music had been ripped, but he didn’t say anything to Elizabeth. Since he was now rich and getting forty dollars a week, he decided to replace it himself. He did mention it to Paul, though.
The following month went by quickly for David. It took him a long time to organize all the pictures he had taken on their trip to visit Paul and write captions for them. He also spent a lot of time with his music.
Thursday, July 18th
It was almost time for his driving class, when David heard Elizabeth calling and making an appointment with his instructor. They went to a school the following afternoon. A tall, bald man with only a black ring of hair and a beard greeted them and took them into a teacher’s conference room.
“Hi, I’m Elizabeth Weaver, and this is my son, your student, David Timothy.”
A woman worked on the other side of the room. Elizabeth ignored her, but David kept an eye out in case that woman overheard or tried to come near.
“I don’t know if I can help you after you’ve come all the way down here, Mrs. Weaver. I looked through my student lists, and I have no Weaver on them. It may be that David has another instructor.”
“That’s what I need to talk to you about. David is my foster child. This is very important to him, and we wondered if you could use the name David Timothy Weaver in class instead of his legal name. I have an AKA declaration, but of course the state doesn’t recognize it.” Elizabeth unfolded the paper and handed it to him.
Les Thames read the paper and then looked at David. “You prefer to be called David Weaver?”
“Yes, sir,” David said, adopting the respectful, prompt response that Paul had written about and said might help him get along with his instructor or anyone who appeared to be in a position of authority.
“I do understand what kind of hassles you might get from this name on my sheet. Let me write this down here.” David watched him write David Weaver next to the small type which said ‘Dawg Ed Revine.’ “But if any of the other kids know your real name, David, my precautions won’t do any good.”
“David never went to public school in this area, and Cornerstone Christian in Flint has been very good about working with us on this.”
“Good. Is there anything else that I can do to help you?”
“Um, David’s formal education has been rather unique. If you have any suggestions for me, or if there is any kind of problem once class starts don’t hesitate to call me. I live only a couple blocks away, and I can be here in five minutes. I do not mind David walking home on his own if he feels the need to get away.”
“Maybe you could fill me in on what kind of problems you may be anticipating.”
Elizabeth looked at David and then took his hand in hers before replying. His bare arm was showing on the table now, and he saw Mr. Thames look at it. Elizabeth had asked him before they came what she might say, so he was not surprised by her words.
“David has a fear of crowds, and he doesn’t like to be touched. I don’t imagine that things should get overwhelming, but if a situation does occur, it’s better if he can just get away.”
“It looks like David has come from an abusive environment.”
“I’ll try to do all I can to make the classroom pleasant. Have you had any experience driving, David?”
“My… Paul took me once, and Elizabeth took me to the parking lot a couple times.”
“Then you have a little more experience than some of the students will.”
Mr. Thames walked them to the door, and afterward David felt less nervous about the class. He wrote to Paul about Mr. Thames.
The first day of class Elizabeth took David to the classroom early and told him to sit in one of the small desks. “I’ve got to get out of here, Honey, before the other students come. They might not be too kind if they see your mom hanging over your shoulder.” Mr. Thames came as she left, and he heard them speak briefly in the hall. Other students came in before Mr. Thames did. He nodded to David as he arranged his books on the desk. The class filled up, but no one really said anything to David, and he was glad.
The closest David had come to the classroom was the theology conference seminars he’d attended with Elizabeth. There the students were a lot more respectful of the speaker. He was annoyed with the kids who kept making noise and distracting him. But at least they weren’t paying attention to him, and he wasn’t going to do anything to draw their attention if he could help it.
After the first day David walked to the school by himself and found that school wasn’t near as bad as it was when you were a dog. They were divided into groups for driving, and one of the two girl students assigned to ride with him, Cindy, was always telling the other girl, Paige, how to drive when they were practicing in the parking lot without Mr. Thames. It bothered him, and he knew it made Paige more nervous that she already was. He could tell that no one had taken her practicing like Paul and Elizabeth had done for him. Cindy kept making comments to him as if she expected him to agree with her.
One day he finally said to Cindy, “Please be quiet,” in a firm voice. Then he turned to look out the window. Cindy withdrew and sulked the rest of the day.
David told Elizabeth and then wrote Paul about the incident. Paul said that Cindy was probably trying to impress him by cutting down Paige. He was glad David hadn’t let her get away with it.
David wrote to Paul every other day. He didn’t write much, usually just answering Paul’s questions, but he wrote more than before the visit. David had been impressed with the way people respected Paul, so whenever a situation came up where he wasn’t sure how he should have reacted he asked Paul what he should have done.
Thursday, August 15th
About the middle of August David came home from school, and Elizabeth seemed upset. “What’s wrong, Mom?”
“Nothing’s wrong, really, David,” Elizabeth said, but she sounded as if she might cry. “It’s just that Paul called and said he had to go on a special mission. We won’t be able to hear from him until he comes home. I… Sometimes it’s dangerous. We should pray that he’ll be safe.”
David hugged her. Please, Jesus, my Lord, keep Paul safe. We love him. I can’t tell him that, but You know it’s true. He wasn’t sure what it meant for Paul to be on a mission. He wished he had been here when he called.
“He said since you weren’t here he was going to write you a quick letter. I don’t know if he’s had time to do it yet or not, but you should get one by tonight.”
That night David logged on to see if his letter was there.
“My dear David, I don’t have much time. I told you before that sometimes I have to go overseas for a while. I have to leave tonight, and I don’t know when I’ll be back. I may be gone two weeks or two months. One time I was gone six months. I won’t be able to write or call. Please keep writing to me. I’ll answer all your letters when I come home. I’ll miss you and will keep praying for you every night like I do here. Pray for me, too, David. When I come back I’ll take leave and come visit you for a week or two.
“I should be back in time for hunting season, but if not, please go and keep my dad company. I doubt Greg will be able to go with him. Even if he does, you go, too. But I should be back. I have to stop. Remember I love you no matter how long I’m gone. – With love, Your father, Paul.”
Since Paul had asked him to, David kept writing, using the every other day schedule that Elizabeth did. Some days he had a very hard time thinking of something to say so he would just say that he missed him and sign off. As time wore on he realized he did miss Paul’s letters tremendously. He hadn’t realized how he had started to depend on Paul’s advice to handle his interactions as school.
He was relieved when the class was over, and he received his permit. He hid it in a back section of his wallet where it couldn’t easily be seen when he paid for things.
Elizabeth took David into Cornerstone school for the beginning of the school year test with Jay. He had only seen Jay on Sunday mornings during the summer. A few times Jay had come and talked to Elizabeth. David was surprised that he would always ask how Paul was doing. He hadn’t thought that Jay liked Paul very well. When David finished with the test, Jay again asked Elizabeth how Paul was doing.
“I’m not sure. I haven’t heard from him in three weeks.”
“Oh?” Jay came around the desk to stand close to them. “What happened?”
“They sent him overseas for an indefinite period of time.”
“And he hasn’t written or called?”
“No. He said he probably wouldn’t be able to.”
“What country did he go to?”
“I don’t know.”
“He didn’t tell you?” Jay shook his head. “Elizabeth, I hate to see you treated this way.”
Jay must noticed, because he just said softly, “If you ever need someone to talk to, Beth, please call. Just a friend. No pressure, I promise.”
“I’ll remember, Jay. Thanks.”
As he drove out of the parking lot David asked her, “Are you going to call him?”
“No. He wouldn’t understand. I’d be better off calling Dylan and Kathy or talking to Keith. But actually, I think you’re the only one who really understands about Paul and how special he is, don’t you?”
“Yes.” David liked the idea that there were things that only he and Elizabeth understood.
A few times they snuggled on the couch together and reminded each other of the times they had spent with Paul. It wouldn’t be so bad for Elizabeth to marry Paul, he decided. He’d have a mother and father to love him all the time like this. Dylan was wrong. She didn’t love Paul just because she wanted an excuse to reject Jay. Paul was special. David wished he’d come home. He missed him.
Saturday, September 7th
It was the Saturday after Labor day. Elizabeth’s family picnic was held late this year, and Jared had gone with his Grandma Karen and Grandpa Craig. Elizabeth had refused to go without David, and Bill and Renae had insisted that David wasn’t to come.
After Jared’s grandparents picked him up, David and Elizabeth went into the office to work. Saul had sent some revisions to his manuscript, and Elizabeth had taken out the pictures. David watched as she found the people she was reading about.
David found Paul’s pictures and set them out. As he studied Paul’s senior picture, he wondered what he had been like when he was fifteen. He heard someone on the porch.
Elizabeth went to answer it.
Keith came into the office and looked over David’s shoulder. “What are you doing, David? Did you take these pictures?”
“No. They’re for a book Elizabeth is setting up.”
Keith picked up Paul’s senior picture. “I know a guy at school who looks almost like this. He could be his brother. His hair is blonder, but it has that same streaking, kind of like Paul’s, you know. In fact, this picture looks like Paul, too, but it looks more like the guy at school. His name is Dan Sutherland. Think he’s related?”
David looked at Elizabeth, and she was pale. He hoped she wasn’t sick. She had been completely healthy since they had been home, but he remembered that Paul’s mom had died when he was fifteen, and he watched her carefully.
“How old is… this Dan Sutherland?” Her voice was strained.
Keith even noticed that something was wrong. “What is it, Beth?”
“I… I need more information. This is a family history, I’m doing. This kid may be related. I think they might be interested to find a stray relative.”
“I don’t know Dan too well. He was just in one of my classes last year, and he’s in one this year. He’s somewhere between eighteen to twenty-two like most of us, I would guess. I could ask him Monday.”
“Why don’t… why don’t I write up a list of questions, and you can tell him you think he’s related to someone you know, and you’d like to find out for sure.”
“Why don’t I just ask him if he’s related to Paul Israel?”
“No. Don’t mention Paul or the Israel name. I’d like to talk to them first after we get the information to find out if he’s a relative. And do you have a camera?”
“I usually use the disposable kind.”
“I’ll give you twenty bucks, and I want you to take some pictures of him.”
“Beth, this is a little unusual.”
“It’s for Paul. I don’t care if you have to offer him money to get the information. I’ll pay you back. I’m working on this book for Paul’s father, and I’m sure he’ll want to know if this guy is related.”
Elizabeth voice was higher pitched than normal.
Keith studied her. “You still haven’t heard anything from Paul, have you?”
“I’ll ask him for you, Beth, and I’ll let you know what I find out.”
“Thanks.” Elizabeth turned back to the computer, opened a new document, and started typing out questions. “By the way, where’s Kim?” she asked as she worked.
“She said she had too much studying to spend time with her brother this weekend. Even though it’s only the beginning of her freshman year, she’s trying to convince me that pre-med is so much harder than computer science.”
“Is she still in the dorm, or have you guys found a place, yet?”
“I don’t think we’ll find a place we can afford alone until between terms, and then if we don’t keep it through the summer we’ll have the same problem next year. I didn’t realize how hard it would be to find an affordable place alone. I’ve always just moved in with guys who already had a place. I guess I’ve been spoiled.”
After Keith had left with the questions Elizabeth had written for him to ask Dan, David took Elizabeth’s hand. He looked into her eyes, and they went to sit on the couch. “What is it, Mom? What are you thinking?”
“Paul’s wife left him for a man named Dan Sutherland about nineteen or twenty years ago.”
David leaned back against the couch and pulled up his legs. He tried to figure out how all this fit together. He knew it must, or Elizabeth wouldn’t be so upset. “Dan Sutherland looks like Paul?”
“Dan Sutherland, the kid at U of M, does according to Keith. I don’t know what the other one looks like.”
“But why would he look like Paul?”
“If this kid’s mother is Clarissa Voss, she was Paul’s wife. If Paul’s wife was pregnant when she left him for Dan Sutherland, then the kid, Dan, would be his son. Now I know Paul hasn’t told us everything about his past, but it seems to me that he might have mentioned this if he knew about it. Maybe he does know and for some reason doesn’t acknowledge this kid as his, or this could just all be a big coincidence. Either way, I have to find out as much as I can and let him know. Then he can either tell me to stay out of it, or he can investigate it. But if he is hiding it for some reason, I don’t even want Keith to know what I suspect. I don’t want Paul to think he can’t trust me.”
Paul might have another son. It hit him like a fist in the chest. If he had a real son, then he wouldn’t want him anymore. David got up and went to his room. He fell across the bed and then turned and stared at the ceiling. Paul had a real son. He couldn’t breath as the imaginary fist struck him again. But God, he’s my father. Didn’t You give him to me? Didn’t You make our names work out. Didn’t You…. David curled his legs into his chest and lay on his side.
Elizabeth came in an hour later, and he was still staring at the wall. She sat down on the bed near him and rubbed his back. “I love you, David. Paul loves you.”
David sat up and grabbed her, pulling her close. He rested his chin on her shoulder and just held her. She hugged him in return. At least Elizabeth would always love him. Please don’t let her die, Jesus. Please. I need her.
Saturday, September 14th
When Keith came over the following Saturday, the pictures and his mother’s name confirmed Dan Sutherland as Paul’s son. Elizabeth, acting as if the information had no special significance, placed the paper and photos in a file. “Thanks. I’ll show this to Paul when he comes back, or Paul’s dad, and let you know what they think.”
“How soon do you think you’ll know anything? He was pretty curious to find out. He apparently doesn’t have many relatives or any brothers or sisters.”
“Tell him the truth. Your friend he looks like is overseas. You won’t be able to ask him until he returns, and you’re not quite sure when that will be.”
“Nothing sooner than some vague indefinite time, huh? You have nothing I can tell him?”
“No. Not until I see Paul or Saul.”
David hadn’t written to Paul since he found out about Dan. He tried that night, but didn’t know what to say. What was there to say? Good-bye? I’ve missed you, and now I know I’ll miss you forever? Thanks for a few good memories? David wished he’d never met Paul.
David couldn’t sleep that night. He kept thinking about the things he and Paul had done together and the things Paul had said. Somewhere before dawn he remembered what Paul had said the first night he had been there when he told David about his mother. He said that he should have thanked God for the time that he was able to have her instead of cursing Him for taking her away.
He thought about it for a while and then got down on his knees and thanked God for the time he had had Paul and for sending him when he needed him to help Elizabeth. He asked for help and forgiveness for his bitterness so that he wouldn’t do what Paul said he shouldn’t have done. And then he slept.
Go to Chapter 32
© 2013, 1995 by Deborah K. Lauro. You may make one copy for personal use. To share, please direct friends to this website.