- Fate and Fortune -

by

Ruwen Rouhs

 

Holiday life and everyday life is different. So it was for Broder and Adam. Broder enjoyed his status as father, a status he had dreamed off for a long time, and Adam enjoyed having a grown up around who called him with his name and not just "Boy", or talked of him as "this Boy" or "This Stupid Brat". Broder had even given him a new first name when he collected him unconscious after the accident. He had called him Adam, not "Boy".

Broder enjoyed being "father". Now both did everything together, at least nearly everything, because both respected their privacy. They had to come to know each other, and both did it eagerly. Broder liked fishing for example, this stupid hobby of lonely men. Therefore he bought Adam a full fishing gear. Adam thanked him, and then neglected the present. But he was extremely fond of the pocket knife that came with this present, a Swiss pocket knife with about twelve different tools, and was so proud of the hiking boots that even wore them to town for dinner.

On holidays Broder liked to sleep late. During the first two days of their living together he couldn't grip why Adam rose so early in the morning. But at the third day he realized that Adam rose so early to be the one to prepare breakfast and then knock at the bedroom door, announcing with pride "Breakfast is ready! Hurry up, Broder, or do you like cold coffee?"

Broder was the first to realize that their holidays would be over soon and the problems of everyday life would slam at the door of their just emerging family. He wanted to adopt Adam and Adam wanted to get adopted by Broder! But there was one problem. Adam did not exist for the administration, Adam was just non-existent, he was something like a phantom. Adam had no document at all, neither a passport, nor a student card, not to think of such a valuable document as a birth certificate. Adam was a living phantom, without realizing it. Would fortune solve these problems?

Events remember by Adam, have the heading `ADAM':.

Those remembered by Broder, are headed `BRODER':.

 

 

Coming to terms...with everyday live

 

BRODER:

"You know Broder, I am not a block-head: But I am not going back to TJ's house to get those stupid documents. I always was like air for TJ and his new girlfriend despises me. Why do we need all these documents? I am grown up now! I am your son now!"

Broder was worried. He and Adam had their first serious quarrel. Not one of those hanky-panky about silly stuff like "Go and get your sweat-shirt Adam, the night breeze coming up from the lake is cold and I don't want a baby with a running nose!" or "Broder, you don't have to prove that you are a father now by drinking beer! You told me yourself, you despite this bitter tasting stuff!"

No, his was serious quarrel! Broder had tried for three days now to persuade Adam to agree with to a trip back to his former hometown, "I had a long talk with my lawyer at the phone, Adam. He made it absolutely clear that every administration will insist on documents if I want to become your legal guardian and even more if want to adopt you. I need these documents when I file an application for your adaptation."

"Why can't I stay with you just like now? Why do you need an official permission to be my father?"

"We have discussed this before, Adam, the youth welfare office will be skeptical about a middle-aged bachelor applying for chance to adopt a teen! Tomorrow morning we leave to get the documents from TJ. "

Like the evenings before Adam left the small holiday cabin angrily and disappointed. Broder noticed the tears of frustration in the teen's eyes. As before Adam left without a word, playing the mute again. Broder saw him walk down to the lake and start to skim pebbles over the surface of the water. Later Adam vanished in the beginning dawn probably for walk in the woods.

*.*.*

 

ADAM:

"Why can't it stay like the days before, Broder?" Adam's mind repeated this question over and over. He couldn't remember a time he was so happy. The two weeks after his crash with the post of the bridge had gone by like in a dream. During his time on run the Adam had developed from a naļve, dewy-eyed and friendly teen into a wary youngster who trusted nobody, especially not friendly strangers. He had developed the attitudes of the classic runaway. After the accident he had tested Broder for three days, by refusing to talk and playing the mute. He had looked upon him with suspicion, especially as he had referred to him as his son at the doctor. But Border's patience, his unfailing care combined with the proper respect for an adolescent won Adam over.

After the song in the wood, they began to enjoy the company of each other more and more. Adam had finally found someone he could trust and look upon like a father. Broder in turn had found a person he could be responsible for. As an engineer, Broder had been responsible for dozens of technical projects, and he had liked his responsibility. But it was a very different experience to be responsible for a living subject, for a boy.

For nearly two weeks now they had lived together as father and son. But now Broder had urged Adam to drive back with him to TJ's house, his former home, to get documents like his birth certificate.

Adam had told Broder again and again, "That's nuisance! Everybody can convince oneself of my existence, just by looking at me! ... You didn't want a birth certificate, when you found me under the bridge unconsciously. You just took me to the doctor, without one single question. You even told him, I am your son. And he accepted this statement without question also."

Adam had tried the mute trick on Broder again. Broder didn't become impatiently or upset. He just became sad and tried to explain the situation over and over.

Adam had to think the situation over again. He left the cabin and walked down to the lake. Staring over the smooth surface of the water in the twilight, he imagined monsters rising from the depth or a water sprite. He closed his eyes waiting. Neither dreadful monsters like in fantasy novel showed up, trying to devour him, nor a friendly water sprite, foretelling him the future and offering him a bucket of gold. Frustrated he picked up pebbles and to skim the surface and punish the lake.

Adam retreated into the wood. He chooses a game path he had never taken before. It was dark already and he wasn't able to avoid the twigs of the bushes. Leaves were brushing his skin; small twigs were hitting his face; and the thorns of blackberries scratching his bare legs. His ears registered voices he had never heard before, the rustling of small animals in the litter, the chirping of mice, hooting of owls, the sudden the meowing of a hawk. The noises were everywhere in the dark and made his flesh creep. A small twig bouncing back hit him in his right eye and tears began to flow. Terribly frightened and blinded by the tears he stumbled upon crossing and ran into horde shoats making their way down to the lake. The sow leading the pack of shoats turned around and made a charge towards him. Adam absconded and dashed along the path up to the hill top. Luckily the fierce mother stayed with her shoats and took off to the lake.

Out of breath he reached the top of the hill overlooking the lake. The light shining from Broder's cabin painted a golden circle onto the dark bank of the lake. Adam closed his eyes. But he still could see the golden light shining through the night. Suddenly Adam was certain about his future life, where Broder was, was his home also. His big friend was right, they had to stay together and they had to go to TJ's house to recover the documents.

Sitting down on a moss-grown log, Adam began to sing away the tension of the last days. At first just low but then he let swell his voice to announce Broder his decision.

*.*.*

 

BRODER:

This evening it was different from the preceding evenings, however. Out of the dark of early night, the crackling voice of a boy in its puberty rose and a song drifted down from the hill, Adams's voice:

Doctor, doctor, give me the news

I've got a bad case of lovin' you

No pill's gonna cure my ill

I got a bad case of lovin'...

I've got ...

The voice sounded sad, but confident. Broder's hope rose.

Broder was right. Adam missed dinner and came back late after dark. He sneaked to Brooder's bed, without switching on the lights, "I come with you tomorrow to get the documents! But promise, Broder Ryder, to take me with you even if we do not find them."

"Adam Chas Ryder, I promise!"

Broder stretched tired but happily in his own bed, in his own room, in his own house.

Yesterday he and Adam came back from the tour to collect Adam's documents at TJ's house. This had been easier as expected. Only at the journey there, Adam had told Broder about the green folder with his name on the cover left behind by his mother at her unexpected departure. "This folder contains a lot of documents, my birth certificate and my shot and many, many pictures of me as a baby and toddler. I myself put inside my school reports, even the last one, just before I left TJ's house. It hit it in TJ's book-shelf between the volumes of an encyclopedia. I bet the folder is still there. JT never uses the encyclopedia."

Arriving at TJ's single family house after six hours driving, Adam got nearly a fit. On the sidewalk was a pile of furniture waiting for the scavengery. From the passenger seat Adam recognized the broken furniture he had used for more than six years. "Drive on, Broder! That's not my home anymore! Don't stop!"

"Calm down, Adam! A new home is waiting for you in Dartsborough. Calm down, we have to get the green folder. It's important!"

While Broder was ringing the doorbell, Adam browsed through the shambles. From a drawer in his broken writing desk, he recovered a red box car with only one wheel left, the car he got as a toddler, his talisman. Adam began to cry. With tears in his eyes he started to curse.

At the house door TJ's girlfriend snorted at Broder, "I don't buy any item at the door! Don't you see the sign NO PEDDLERS! Isn't it big enough?"

"I don't want to sell anything, lady!" then he added with explicit authority, "I am here with Chas! Remember Chas, the boy you drove away from his home! I want the folder with his documents, the green one! Now I am responsible from him!"

A small girl, eying the strange pick up from out of the neighboring garden began to shout happily, "Mother, Anthony, look Chas is back! Come quick Tony, your big friend Chas is back!" and then she came running across the street to Adam, dragging her younger brother along.

Chas embraced the girl and then lifted up the laughing boy, swirled him around and loved loud, "I love you both! I am so glad to see you again. You have grown Tony, while I am away, you really have."

"I love you too Chas, everyone loves you, and the whole street loves you!" the boy called out happily.

Realizing Chas presence, TJ's girlfriend screamed at the top of her voice. "Bastard, you unthankful bastard, leave my property or I call the police! Get lost!"

"Calm down lady! We just want Chas property, his documents! ... Look, the neighbors are watching us already. Aren't you ashamed? Let's go inside and hand me over Chas“ green folder."

Minutes later Broder left the house with the green folder and Adam kissed his former neighbors good by, "Visit me in my new home in Dartsborough!" turning to their mother, "I write you a letter, soon, and greetings to my friend Max!"

Broder turned in his bed, straightened up and listened to the light snoring coming through the open door from across the small corridor. The door of the small room was open wide, the door to Adam new room. He listened to the soft breathing the sleeping teen! Was he right to adopt Adam? They hardly knew each other. Was he crazy? People would say so! Should they! He shook his head wondering about himself.

A lot had changed during the last weeks. Listening to his heart, Broder was sure he had come to the right decision to make Adam his son.

*.*.*

 

ADAM:

Adam woke up. The room was dark except of the grey square of the window in the wall to the garden. Due to the long ride south to Broder's hometown Dartsborough he could feel nearly every bone in his body. The old pick--up wasn't very comfortable. Adam drifted back into a light sleep.

Adam was leaning back in the passenger seat of Broder's pick-up, uneasy and scared by the meeting with TJ's girlfriend. "Oh gosh, you were right, she is the plain terror!" Broder remarked, leaving the side road and steering the car back into the heavy traffic of the main street.

On the parking lot of Adams former school, Broder handed Adam over the green folder, "Check the documents! Make sure everything needed is present! I think she didn't know of its existence." The light dimmed when Adam opened the folder on his knees. Inside was a stack of paper. The topmost sheet showed the copy of a cut out from a newspaper. The sheet was already slightly yellowed. The big headline reading across the black and white photo read "Corps Found in Derelict Sandpit!"

The photo put on view a barren landscape without any vegetation, a sandy plain with shallow pits and low mounds. No corps was visible. Adam turned the page. The back side of the sheet showed the same print as the front. He took the second sheet from the batch. On both sides it displayed exactly the same photo as the first one. Then he took the third and fourth and fifth sheet of paper from the stack. Always the same print. He flipped through the next dozen pages. After a while he stopped counting the sheets. He just took one sheet of paper after the other and examined. At first all sheets looked the same, but slowly the appearance of the print changed. The more pages he turned the more the outlines on the photo disappeared and the color changed to misty grey

At first he had collected the sheets with his left hand, but soon he got more and more frantic. Two thoughts were running through his brain. Whose corps was it? Was it the corps of his mother? Where are the expected documents? Was he a phantom now?

Adam let loose the collected sheets and they fell to the floor like dead leaves from the trees in fall. Finally Adam came to the last one of the sheets. Its front side was grey like the color of an ancient tombstone. Adam turned the sheet. The back side was of lighter color, of a dirty white. In big dark letters an address was running across the sheet, reading "Miss V. Myer, Elmridge, East Hunter Circle 8." It was the former address of Adam's mother. Was his mother dead? Adam started shacking.

Adam woke up freezing and his body covered with cold sweat. He grabbed for the little red car, his mojo, the charm his mother gave to him when he was a small kid. The evening before, he had tucked it away under the pillow. The car wasn't there. He checked for the car at the floor in front of the bed. There it was! He took and put it back under the pillow, curled up in the warm sheets in a fetal position. His eyes searched the dim room. Adam was sure now. This was a dream! He had had a bad dream, a night mare. Full of confidence he called out loud, "This is Broder's house, my father's house! This is my room, my new home, for ever."

The reality had been different. Two days before Adam and Broder had left the street in front of TJ's house in a hurry. At the parking lot of his old school Adam opened the green folder. On top was not his last school report. There was a white envelope addressed to his mother. The letter was still unopened. All other documents and the photos seemed to be present. Turning the envelope to and fro, Adam asked bewildered, "Should I open the letter, Broder, it's addressed to mother? ... She has left me so long ago!"

Broder hugged the shaky boy and held him for some time. Then he opened the envelope with his pocket knife. There were two sheets in side. The first was addressed to Miss V. Myers and read: Enclosed is the application for the legal guardianship as arranged with you. Your friend has just to add his name to the document and sign it in my presence. Our office will carry out all steps necessary to arrange the custodianship as asked for your son Charles Myers. The other document was a declaration of consent without a name, a date or a signature. It was the document to be filled out and signed by the prospect custodian.

Stunned both studied the declaration. Then a smile transfigured Adams face, "Mother foresaw our actual needs, she anticipated our problems." Hugging the thunderstruck Broder, Adam beamed, "Dad, fill in your name and let's go find the attorney!" Two hours later, they had the necessary documents in the possession and left town.

Adam curled up in his new bed and drifted back into sleep.

*.*.*

 

BRODER:

Broder slipped out of his warm sheets, tiptoed to Adam's room and checked for his boy, his son. He could hardly spot him under the covers. There was just a shock of brown hair on the pillow and some skinny bones curled up under the duvet. Broder smiled from within, he was proud of himself, he finally had overcome his apprehension to commit himself to another person.

He was fully aware of the new situation. Having suddenly a son would provoke inquisitive questions from his neighbors, from his few acquaintances and in his office. They all knew his as a loner.

At the beginning of his career in the company his colleagues had tried to hook him up with girls or with one of the secretaries or one of the female engineers in the office, but soon they had sustained from their efforts. Once a newcomer in the company had asked him out, because he suspected Broder was in the closet. But Broder put down the approaches of the young man and disappointed him as well as the other co-workers.

Now Broder was curios and nervous and proud at the same time. Today he had to present Adam to his neighbors and tomorrow to announce the new family situation in the company. He decided for a breakfast in the garden, to have the possibility to make known Adam to his neighbors.

His property, a simple one story house, was situated in the second of four small side roads of a ribbon development. The houses to the left and right were occupied by older couples without children, while the family in the house to the back of his garden had two sons. Vic, a shy and lanky blond, was in Adams age, the other one, Zach, was much younger and just the opposite of his brother. Still in his pajama pants Border set the table, dished up coffee, toast, butter, jam and OJ. He did this as quietly as possible, because he wanted it to be a surprise breakfast on Adam's first morning in his new home. After a while Broder got impatient. He couldn't keep quiet anymore and he didn't want to. He decided to get a shower and turn on the water in the bathroom as strong as possible to arouse his son.

*.*.*

 

ADAM:

It was already late in the morning and the light blue curtains couldn't keep out sun anymore. The water was cascading in the shower next door. The noise indicated to Adam Broder was up already.

Adam turned around in his new bed several times. He liked it. The mattress was a little too hard, but the pillow cozy and the duvet just right. It was the first night in his new home and he had slept like a log. He even couldn't remember his nightmare.

This bed was actually Broder's former bed. It was in the room Broder had lived in as a boy, a teen and a student at the university. Adam had inherited not only Broder's former room and his former bed and former desk, but also posters on the walls and lots of books in the shelves. On the two of the posters he could recognize the artist, Bob Dylan and Mick Jagger, both still young and with creaseless faces. But he couldn't remember the name of others, despite they looked faintly familiar.

"Coffee is ready, sleepy head! It's after ten and I promised you to show the town! Hurry up sonny! We are having breakfast in garden! I just have to prepare the eggs and ham." Broder called from the kitchen.

As Adam didn't show up immediately he teased him, "Is my little boy able to walk to the toilet all by him or do I have to change his pampers? Hurry up big boy, you can dress later!"

Taking his second helping of ham and eggs, Adam was hit by a football in the back. Startled he turn around looking for the culprit. Border laughed aloud, "That's your new neighbor. Adam, that's Zach!" rising up he called, "Come over Zach and meet my son Adam!" Calling Adam my son in front of neighbors made Broder blush, and he nearly was about to revoke this statement. But then he decide to affirmed his statement and put his arm around Adam's shoulders, "Come on Zach, that's my son Adam, he doesn't bite!"

Zach scrambled over the fence, run up to the two and high fived with Adam. "I am Zach! ... Do you like soccer? Vic is sick and I need an opposing player for practice!"

"Sit down first, Zach and help yourself. I know you like my orange jam!"

Zach wedged himself besides Broder on the seat and began to munch down one jelly sandwich after the other, interrogating Adam.

"Where do you come from?!" munch, munch, "Where is your mother?" munch, munch, "Do you like Broder? ... I like him! He is my best friend beside my father!" and taking a big sip of OJ, "Are you going to my school also? What grade are you attending?" munch, munch "You sure are in the same grade Vic is in. You will become classmates as soon as he has recovered!"

Adam couldn't get in between, neither Broder. They just could nod or shake their heads. Zach talked and talked. He wasn't shy at all. And while he was bubbling out one question after the other, he finished up four sandwiches.

Broder grinned sheepishly, "I can enjoy his company every Sunday morning. He just likes his second breakfast at my place. You have to get used to Zach!"

Zach's mother showed up at the fence, "Hey Broder, don't you agree Zach is an impossible kid? Chase him away, if he bothers you!" looking curiously at Adam, "Is this nice boy your guest? I saw you arriving yesterday." Then a reluctantly, because she didn't want to offend Broder, "Did you gather him up during your holidays? You usually bring back less nice souvenirs!" Zach's mother seemed not to be shy either. Addressing Adam "Are you still on holidays? School has started everywhere!"

Now Broder had to declare himself, "We met each other by chance. Call it fate, call it fortune. Adam is my under my ward now. I am Adam's legal guardian and hope to be his father soon!" This answer had nearly exhausted him and he leant back.

Zach's mother opened her eyes in surprise and was even more amazed when Adam walked over and shook her hand, "I am Adam and soon I will be Adam Chas Ryder. I am glad, I will have nice neighbors and I like Zach already."

*.*.*

 

BRODER:

Broder woke up with a bad headache. Half of the preceding night he had twisted between the sheets. He still questioned his ability to be a responsible father to Adam. During the holidays he had all the time to be fine father, a father out of a picture book, with time for his son all day long. But today he had to take up his work at the company and this was an eight to five day. Sometimes he even worked till ten in the night. Reluctantly he had to leave Adam all to himself at least half the day in a new environment and anew town.

His first task of today would be to go to the staff manager and ask him for an additional half day off, because he had to arrange Adam's school attendance. How in heaven should he explain to him his sudden fatherhood? He chickened out and suspended his talk with the personal office till around noon.

Getting the additional day of was easier than expected. Around noon he attended a joint meeting of the staff to discuss a new and very promising new project. The discussion dragged on and around two o clock the new secretary stormed into the room, "Who is Mr. Ryder? His son is calling, it seem to be urgent!"

There was only one Ryder in the round and everyone at the meeting did know he was single. Everyone stared at Broder in surprise and he blushed like a virgin getting her first kiss!

One of the female engineers was the first to react, "Hi Broder, still waters run deep! So, you have a son, a big son already, able to call you up? You led us by the nose long enough! Get on the phone, don't let him wait!"

This relaxed the situation, but inexperience as Broder was, he didn't switch off the loudspeaker. So every witnessed the following dialogue.

"Hey dad, I called you already five times, but your secretary didn't want interrupted the meeting! I finally fooled her, by telling, I would faint of hunger, if you didn't show up immediately!"

"Oh, she was right! Business first!" Broder hesitated, "Well no, now you have to be first! Excuse Adam! I am still not use to care for a son!"

"Did you call the school department, Dad?"

"I forgot about it, I was busy all morning boy, belief me, we have to postpone your enrollment till tomorrow!"

"I did, Dad! I called up Oakville-High and arranged an appointment at three!"

The surprise in the faces of the attendees changed into a smirk and the CEO began to laugh, "Hey Broder, you son is matching you! Why didn't you let us in your secret earlier? Everyone thought you .....!" He wanted to say queer, but then he stopped. "Just five minutes more and you can leave the meeting!"

Adam's voice rang through the phone again, "Hurry up Dad. It's you or the fire department! The hamburgers are done and the smashed potatoes are getting cold! Or do you like charcoal!"

*.*.*

AUTHOR NOTE

A little thank you is all I can convey at the moment to those readers mailing encouraging messages. Be sure, I will tell you more little stories of Broder and Adam and the way their growing friendship helps others to master life.

I would like to express my special thanks to B. for doing a wonderful job by correcting all the wrong expressions and the punctuation used by a non native English writer.

Comments, reviews, questions and complaints are welcomed. Please send them to ruwenrouhs@hotmail.de. And I would like to add, thanks for reading.

Copyright Notice - Copyright © 2008

The author copyrights this story and retains all rights. This work may not be duplicated in any form -- physical, electronic, audio, or otherwise -- without the author's expressed permission. All applikable Copyright laws apply.

Ruwen Rouhs