The Sequels to Syrrah's Game SGSequels

chapter 4

Monday, August 7th, 8:45 AM

Park River, MN


Hardest part now was going to be leaving this little guy, Evan realized. He let go of the door handle, knelt, and wrapped Matti up in a close hug. “Now don’t you be worried.” He released Matti and leaned back, taking hold of Matti’s small shoulders and giving a good stare into those adorable brown eyes. “I’ll probably be back tomorrow, if not later today. Shouldn’t take too long.”

Those words didn’t seem to help much. Tears were forming in Matti’s eyes. He sniffled a few times. “But you packed clothes. And you said you’re staying at a motel. Can’t I come too?”

“No, Matti. Not a good idea.” Evan grabbed a tissue out of his short’s back pocket. He uncrumpled the thing and gently wiped Matti’s eyes. “No need to cry. Seriously, I’ll be back soon.” He placed the tissue in Matti’s small hands, so he could wipe his own eyes if need be.

“See, even Matti thinks this is a bad idea,” Dad said. “And I agree.”

Evan stood up. “Dad. It will be all right. I can drive just fine, like you know. I’ve been driving since I was fifteen, for crying out loud.”

Dad let out a disgruntled sigh. “Evan. You just turned eighteen yesterday. Do you really need to prove to me you’re an adult this badly, by leaving the next day?”

Evan walked over and leaned against the wall. He placed his hands in the front pockets of his shorts and stared into Dad’s eyes. “We’re going to Sauk Centre.”

As expected, Dad’s face took on that shocked, perplexed expression. “What? Sauk Centre?”

“I sort of figured this was happening,” Mom-Kyleigh said, walking until she stood next to Dad. “And I think it’s all right, Lang.” She wrapped her hands around Dad’s arm. “He needs to find out for himself, once and for all.”

“Exactly.” Her words gave a rush of relief within Evan’s body. “The truth. We all need to know the truth.”

Dad shook his head and gently removed his arm from Mom-Kyleigh’s grasp.  He walked over to the sofa and sat down. “I don’t like this, not one bit.”

“Come on, Dad. It’s not like avoiding any talk about her, or…or any mention of her with us or anyone else, has helped, and you know it.”  

Matti ran over and cuddled next to Mom-Kyleigh. The little guy was obviously feeling the heat rise in the room.

“Now, that’s not fair,” Dad said. “People just haven’t been able to accept it yet. You know that, we’ve talked about it before. It will take time.”

“It’s almost six years, Dad, for crying out loud!”

“Evan, please,” Dad said. “For the people who may still want to follow us, and for ourselves, the last thing any of us need to do is to discuss about that girl!”

“No! I don’t agree. Maybe some of us DO need to talk about this!”

Freddy opened the screen door and stepped back inside. “Evan. Your dad is just concerned.”

“It’s all right, Fred. We are only discussing.” He stared back at Dad. “I’m not going to shove this aside. I do need to find out about her. And I want to find out about her because then I can finally stop thinking about her.”

“Don’t you have NDSU football practice today?”

“Yeah. So? I can miss one day, not gonna destroy the entire thing.”

“Seems to me you’re putting your scholarship, your preparation for college on the back burner for this girl.”

“Like I just said, I need to find out about her so I can finally stop thinking about her, and concentrate on college…and not just college, but our band, Master Ren, and Bob’s Auto, you know…and so I can be my best for Heidi.” He leaned away from the wall and walked closer to Dad. He could see, from his eye’s corner, Freddy wringing his hands covertly, but he had this under control. “I really love her. I want us to work out. But it won’t if I can’t finally get closure.”

“Oh Evan, you’ve only been dating her for three months now. Please, think about this.”

Mom-Kyleigh walked over and sat down next to Dad, with Matti soon snuggling up against her on the sofa. “Lang,” she said. “I think I understand.” She looked at Evan. “You want to know where she was born. Where she lived. Where she went to school. What she was like as a person. And, most importantly, what happened to her.”

“Yes. Exactly. I need to know, so I can never think about her again. Because…she’s gone anyway.”

Matti placed his hands on Mom-Kyleigh’s face and moved her head so she was looking right at him. “Mommy. He said he’ll be back soon. He said so.”

“That’s right, Matti. That’s what I said.”

More like his typical, high energy four-year-old self when the Lyme wasn’t kicking, Matti jumped off the sofa and ran over to Evan, slamming into his legs. “You better mean that!”

“Hey, little dude,” Freddy said. “Slow down.”

Evan laughed. “Yeah, whoa there, little tough guy!”

Matti then ran over and slammed into Freddy’s legs. Freddy laughed too and tussled up Matti’s dark hair a moment.

Dad stood up. He walked over to Evan. He inhaled a deep breath, let it out, and stared into Evan’s eyes, but this time man to man; he was obviously realizing this was a fight he couldn’t win. “All right, son. I suppose I’ll have to let you figure this out for yourself.”

“Yes, Dad. Please. Let me be a man here and solve this once and for all for myself. Please.”

“Fair enough. I love you, and worry about you. And want the best for you.”

“And I love you too, Dad. You know that. But I have to do this.”

“Okay, very well. I guess you should get going then.”

Evan picked up his black baseball cap off the foyer table. He put it on backwards; no point in keeping the soothing warmth of the sunlight away. “Yes, true. We should.”

After some exchanges of the usual hugs, good-byes, and heart-felt words, and promises to stay in touch with texts and calls, Evan checked once more to make sure he had all the needed items in his backpack for their short trip. Appeared that he did.   

He also made sure to grab his Taylor acoustic, snug in its case, before heading out.

He and Freddy finally walked out the door and got in the Ram.