A wealthy man is worried when his son comes home late every day and discovers he has been spending time at the cemetery with a poor boy and his father.
Mark Tierney would never admit it, but he was struggling. He had lost his wife five years ago, and he had never quite come to terms with it. He never spoke about her, not even to their son, Brian.
Brian had been just seven when his mother died in an accident, and he had turned to his father for comfort -- a comfort Mark was incapable of giving. So he gave what he had, and what he had plenty of was money.
Within his limitations, Mark was a good father. He loved Brian and worried about him constantly. Deep down, he was afraid he'd lose his son too. Then Mark noticed that Brian came home late every afternoon...
Mark never really got over his wife's death. | Source: Pexels
Mark became aware of Brian's odd schedule because, since the beginning of the pandemic, he had taken to conducting most of his business online.
So Mark was home and he saw that Brian didn't just come home late, he came home with dirty clothes and dirt encrusted under his fingernails.
True friends are the ones who stand by you when times are rough.
When his father asked him about it, Brian evaded the question and spoke vaguely of his friend Tim and a fort they were building. Somehow, something sounded odd.
Mark was sure Brian was lying, so the next day he was outside his son's school, determined to discover the truth. He saw Brian come out accompanied by a scruffy-looking boy in hand-me-downs, and the two started walking.
Mark noticed that Brian was coming home with dirty hands. | Unsplash
Mark frowned. He didn't like Brian having friends from different social statuses. Mark's mother had always said 'birds of a feather flock together,' and he believed it.
Mark followed them and was stunned to see them go into the cemetery. A few minutes later, a man in his thirties walked up to the boys and started talking to them.
Mark leaped into action. "Get away from those boys, you freak!" he screamed at the man. He grabbed Brian by the arm and said to the other boy, "Run home as fast as you can!"
Brian protested but Mark wouldn't listen. He dragged his son home, scolding him all the way. "How many times have I told you not to talk to strangers? You are SO grounded!"
Mark decided to follow the two boys. | Source: Unsplash
Finally, Brian managed to get a word in edgewise. "You're so wrong dad!" he cried. "That was Tim's dad!"
"What?" asked Mark. "His DAD? What was he doing with two boys in a cemetery? That's very creepy..."
"Dad," Brian said quietly. "Tim's mom died last month. I know what that's like. He misses her, just like I miss mom, and going to the cemetery helps him feel closer to her. So I go with him because it's not good to cry alone, and we clean his mom's grave and bring her flowers. His dad comes too, and they talk about her, and it helps."
Mark was shocked to see the boys meet a man at the cemetery. | Source: Pexels
Then Brian said very softly, "I wish you'd talk about mom too, I wish I could bring her flowers..."
Mark was devastated. He'd been so sunk into his own pain that he'd failed to notice his son's. "Oh, Brian," he said. "I'm so sorry. I miss her so much that sometimes it feels like I can't breathe. I'm afraid that if I talk about her I will cry..."
"Maybe that wouldn't be such a bad thing," Brian said. "Because then I could cry too..."
Mark wrapped his arms around his son, and for the first time since his wife's death, he allowed himself to mourn.
"Get away from those boys, you freak!" | Source: Pixabay
Late that afternoon, Mark and Brian drove to Tim's house. They knocked on the door, and Tim's dad answered. Before he could say anything, Mark said, "I'm sorry, I was wrong. Brian has told me everything. I'm so sorry for your loss..."
Tim came out and Mark apologized to him too. "Cherish your friendship, boys," he said. "And it will be a comfort to you throughout your lives."
The next day, Mark and Brian went with Tim and his father to the cemetery. For the first time, Mark took Brian to his mother's grave. Thanks to the boys, the two dads became friends, and Mark helped Tim's dad get back on his feet.
Mark and Brain finally grieved. | Source: Unsplash
It no longer mattered to him who was rich or who was poor. Mark learned that what matters is the heart, and all hearts break over the death of a loved one.
Mark gave Tim's dad a job in his company and helped him pay off his debts. Thanks to Tim and his dad, Mark and Brian finally healed from their loss and gained two true friends.
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