Note: Follows Part One
By 3:30 the next day, Adam had signed into Luke’s school and was ready to pick up his son. After he found the classroom, he stood outside the door, looking through the window.
First, he zeroed in on the people in the room. The children were sitting on the carpet near what looked like a classroom library. The teacher held the undivided attention of every child, including his son, who was sitting directly in front of her. She looked to be about his age–thirtyish– and had auburn hair.
Adam scanned the crowd for his son’s face, which wore a smile from ear to ear. Luke’s eyes were glued on his teacher. He was very much engaged in what she was saying.
Then he surveyed the rest of the children and saw similar smiles on each face. There were so many little faces. Each with smiles as wide as his son’s.
Next, he watched as the class exploded in laughter. The teacher must have said something funny. He took a quick side glance to see she was laughing too. Adam didn’t remember laughing much in school, but he was happy for his son-and the other children.
From the carpeted area, Adam’s eyes shifted to the tables. They were round. That was unlike the classrooms he was used to. There were student artwork and banners throughout the walls of the classroom.
He decided Luke-and the other children-were in good hands.
Inside the classroom, Rose Clark noticed a man standing outside the door. He seemed content looking through the window, so she remained focused on her students. Rose concluded their class meeting and dismissed the children.
“Enjoy the rest of the afternoon. I’ll see you tomorrow, my lovelies.”
The children rose from the carpet and, in an organized fashion, walked to their cubbies and retrieved their jackets, book bags, and lunch bags. Then, one by one, they went to the door and walked out. Rose stood next to the door, saying goodbye to each child. She noticed the man had moved out of the way of the door. When Luke got to the door, he said goodbye to Rose like normal, but then he noticed someone standing in the hall.
“Daddy!” He bolted out the door and into his father’s waiting arms.
“Hey, Luke. I missed you so much.”
“I missed you too. I drew you a ton of pictures.”
“I can’t wait to see them. Guess what.”
“You’re coming home with me, and we’ll spend the next few weeks together, isn’t that great?”
Rose remained by the door, saying the last of her goodbyes, and watching the exchange between the father and son out of the corner of her eye. Even without hearing Luke address the stranger as his father, she would have known it. Adam looked just like his son. They had the same blue eyes, olive skin, and dark hair. Even their smiles were the same. It was nice to see so bright a smile on her pupil’s face. Usually, it took awhile to get him to smile like that. But all Luke’s father had to do was show up. Their bond was obvious.
Since all the children had left for the day, Rose decided to introduce herself. It was important to maintain an open line of communication with parents; sometimes she needed to remind herself of that with her tendency to focus on the children. She walked out into the hallway and approached the pair. Luke beamed at her, and Adam gave her a warm smile too, which she returned.
“You must be Luke’s father. He talks about you constantly. I’m Rose Clark.” She offered her hand for Adam to shake.
Adam shook her hand and said, “It’s nice to meet you Ms. Clark. I just started my leave, so I’ll have Luke for the next few weeks before I return to sea.”
“I have some time if you want to have an informal conference. As Luke’s father you have the right to know how he’s doing and the quality of his education.”
“That would be fine, but I’m positive he’s getting the best education possible judging by what I saw from the door. My commanding officers could learn leadership skills from you.”
Rose rewarded Adam with another smile. “Luke, would you like to sit in the class library while I talk to your dad?”
Luke smiled. “Great!”