He could not get the letter he received earlier today out of his mind. The letter came like a form of proof that all the phone calls he had been fielding in the last few months were no jokes. The government meant what they said. They wanted Tommy. He looked across the table at his son as he is being fed. His seventeen-year old son. The first phone call came a little over 3 months ago, a government facility wanted Tommy, they believe he is special and he might help with a breakthrough experiment they are working on. They claim he has intelligence that is quite rare in his particular disability and they will like to help him expand his intelligence and abilities. Even though he could not articulate it into words, they could see it in his eyes and in his creations. Due to a fall from his tree-house when he was 5 years old, his precious Tommy was changed. Seems like it’s only his quick mind that was left unchanged by the accident. He lost all physical functions, unable to feed himself, bathe or groom himself, he had been on 24-hour nursing care ever since. His mom left two years after the accident. Brad knew it wasn’t her fault, she didn’t sign up for that reality. He became both mom and dad, fighting to ensure his son enjoys a full life, and now he’s being asked to hand him over. Tap indeed! They will cut up and mutilate his son, he is sure his son won’t be coming back to him if they ever get their hands on him. Letting them have him is not an option.
‘Please Karla, finish up with his feeding, I need to go over some things with you’ he told his son’s nurse.
She has been in charge of him since he was seven years and she took care of him like her own child. Sometimes, he wonders how she does it, selflessly catering to a big baby like so. She finished feeding Tommy, left him with a happy, small grin and went off to tidy up. Tommy looked at his father intently, seeing the pensive expression on his face. He did not know why it’s there but he understood it meant all is not well. He muttered some words, making Brad look up at him. He beamed a smile at his father, hoping his father heard the words of assurance coming from his heart. His father looked at him, returned his beam with a sad smile filled with all the love in his heart.
Brad said ‘Tommy, I live for you and you alone, don’t ever forget that’.
Even though he didn’t get a tangible response from his son, he know he understood.
Shortly afterwards, there was a loud knock on their door. He resolutely went to the door and opened it wide, he knew who would be at the other side of it. Contrarily though, he saw uniformed men. ‘We are here for Master Thomas’, the man leading the group informed him. This is not good at all, Brad thought, reflexively swallowing the sudden lump that grew in his throat.
‘He is not here’, he responded. ‘I was expecting Mr Barnes, he said he will personally come for him’.
‘We are here instead and we have express instructions to come with Master Thomas without fail’.
Brad simply shrugged and calmly told them Tommy is not available, brilliantly masking the turmoil going on in his belly. There is no way he is releasing his son to them. They don’t want to help him, they want to use him and there is no way he is subjecting his son to that.
‘We are to bring him or you will have to deal with the consequences’, they told him. Aha, now he understands the reason why the uniformed men came instead of Mr Barnes. He simply stood there not making a move. He was shoved aside, the men marched into this house and searched for Tommy. After about 30 minutes of fruitless search, they turned on Brad, demanding to bring out his son or face the consequences.
With a calm smile, he told them, ‘Let’s just move on to the consequences’.
The uniformed men looked at each other and the one closest to Brad suddenly hit him across the face with a huge whack. Brad fell on one knee under the impact of the slap, trying to clear the stars off his line of vision. ‘Oh boy!’, he muttered. Before he could recover, he got another whack on the back with a tactical baton. He grunted as he went down on his other knee.
‘We have our instructions and we are leaving here with someone either way’, one of men quietly informed him.
Between short breaths, he responded, ’You want my son, you will have to go through me’.
‘Very well’, came the reply.
Three men proceeded to simultaneously beat him up, kicking him on his head and lover back for maximum effect. He knew he could not fight them so he didn’t even try, just stayed down taking all the beating. He thought of Karla and Tommy, almost halfway out of town by now, in his dark blue SUV with all his financial information, all they needed to start afresh in another city. The longer they wasted time beating him, the farther away from them Tommy gets. They beat him till they were tired and then proceeded to drag him by one ankle out the door to take him to their facilities. The authorities will decide his fate. They won’t be happy, that’s for sure, they desperately wanted the boy. He is handicapped and useless anyways, why won’t his father release him…
This night centuries ago, a young man was having his last meal with his friends. In a few hours, his life would be brutally cut short in the most inhumane way imaginable. We that are considered useless are thought of as precious by Him and for that He willingly allowed himself to be taken instead of us. He was aware of what pain was to come, yet He went willingly. We are currently not different from the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, yet no brimstone has been rained on us. It is because He went out for us all.
For that singular act, I (we) now enjoy liberty to hope, to love and to dream. Enough ‘Thank you’ can’t be said for that selfless act borne out of the purest love.