A good father

He was a good father. Matthew Dempsey was a dentist, and a husband to Kat Taylor, his high school sweetheart. Their son was four months old, with copper, brown hair and teal eyes. Little Jacob was the love of their life, the happiest thing that happened to them after their marriage, the thing that brought them closer, and offered them genuine contentment, the kind that many of their married friends lacked.
Mat had Mondays off along with the weekends. He spent his Mondays with Jacob, taking him to the park in the stroller or to the nearby swimming pool where other parents brought their kids. Mat was a good father, Kat would always tell her girlfriends. He never took eyes off of Jacob, never forgot to read him bedtime stories, never put off giving him his night bath.
That Monday, the 11th of October, Mat left with Jacob for a swim around two pm. The air was hot, humid, agitating Jacob. At the pool, Mat took off shirt, revealing his new tan from their beach trip, and his abs; he worked out rigorously four days a week. Jacob had his father’s good looks, his eyes, his straight, thick hair, his dimples and his smooth jaw line. The two were a perfect replica of each other.
He held Jacob up in his arms. Jacob gave a little laugh, making his father laugh along. Mat loved Jacob’s laugh and the smile that was much like Kat’s. He walked across the pool, his son firmly in his arms or around his shoulders. They were both content. The water was lukewarm, the sun shining above them with a slow, warm wind that made Jacob giggle. The kids in the pool sometimes slowed down to watch the little boy as he screamed out of excitement. They loved him; the women were especially pleased with the beautiful sight of the handsome, young father and his sweet little boy. They sometimes wished the two would never leave.
But at a quarter to three, Mat and Jacob always left. Mat wanted to give Jacob his afternoon nap. He also wanted Kat to see him when she came home from work at four, right when little Jacob usually woke up.
And in this routine, the two made their life work. They were content with what they had, and with Jacob nothing was ever ordinary. Everyday was a new day for them; one day, Jacob said Mama, another day he pointed out a dog. It was not a perfect picture because there never is such a thing. But it was the best the three of them had together, the best dream they had ever dreamed of. The sum of everything they did might have been a ritual, ordinary and uneventful. But it was not the sum that mattered to the Dempsey’s; what mattered was when they made love because they simply wanted to; what mattered was the simple life they had built together in a little neighborhood in Connecticut; what mattered was Jacob, a miracle baby they thought they would never have after too many miscarriages; what mattered was their love and hunger for each other. There was no need for perfection when they had it all. There was, simply, a satisfaction too immense to define.

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