…..and his eyes landed on Melanie. He couldn’t believe his eyes. For a moment, they just stared at each other, transfixed and lost in time, totally tongue tied and not knowing what to do. The tension was real and their hearts were pounding hard, but no one moved even though both of them wanted to. Max was the first to smile and then Melanie seemed to pinch a pencil out of the sky and drew a welcoming smile on her face and the attraction was mutual. He opened his arms to embrace her and she walked right into his powerful arms and they held each other in a magical moment. None of them wanted that special moment to end, they just wanted to get lost and consumed in that adhesion…and then without warning…Max woke up and found himself hugging his pillow, it was a dream and he was all alone!!!
“No…no…no…no….!!!!!!!!”, He shouted
He couldn’t believe it. He had seen Melanie and he had held her in his arms only to realize that it was all but a dream. He sat in his bed wondering how she was doing, her kids must be big by now, did she ever remarry?
These thoughts lingered in his head for a while and he found himself drifting into a soft spot. A place where he had vowed that he wouldn’t want to go because he didn’t have any luck with love and so he decided to live his life as a single dad, but all that had been cut short by the one woman he had some history with, the mother of his boys.
Tafiah made an ‘interesting’ come back to his life at a very crucial time in her life and being the person that he is, it was hard to turn his back on her. Her life had taken a downward trajectory. She had been divorced twice and had 3 miscarriages as a result of emotional and physical abuse from her two ex husbands. Her last boyfriend was in prison for peddling drugs. Just as she was getting over him, she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. She was all alone, miserable and hopeless, and she turned to the one person whose middle names were ‘consistent and reliable’ because she didn’t want to spend her last days alone.
He gave her maximum support that even the doctors wondered if they were truly divorced. Anytime the kids wanted to see her, he would gladly take them to see their mum and spend time with her. It became a bit cumbersome to shuttle between her house, his crib and the hospital and so he asked her if she could move in with him so that he could give her better care. That way, the boys can have unlimited access to her and he could monitor her progress with ease and at times even work from home if necessary.
She was blown away and just burst out crying. For the first time in her life, she realized that she had really mistreated this wonderful man by ‘gambling their marriage’. All the guys that she had been with, had left her in the woods, they saw her as a sex toy and hadn’t taken time to add any value in her, in fact she felt devalued now more than ever. It broke her heart to see what pain she had caused her sons who couldn’t understand why mummy and daddy were not together.
He put her in the guest bedroom and furnished it to her taste. He was there for her in every sense of the word and when he had to travel, he hired a caregiver to nurse her and take care of her. He buried himself in online sites that offered advice on alternative medicine, he got her into new diets, prayed with her everyday and read scripture with her. They talked about everything, she apologized to him almost everyday for causing him all the heartache and for being selfish in all her choices. One evening after they had prayed as a family, they began talking about how they met and what sparked their romance. They laughed about their old jokes and silly tales and at one moment their eyes were glued to one another in a familiar magnetic gaze. He was seated on a chair next to her bed. His heart started racing and he leaned forward towards her and he could tell from the moist glisten in her eyes that she was expecting it. She arched forward to invite him, he held her hand and parted his lips, her eyes closed and she waited for the kiss and just as he was about to plant his lips on hers, his elbow accidentally knocked the bedside lamp and both of them were startled as they weren’t expecting it. At that very moment, their last born walked in on them and said,
“Daddy, I can’t sleep”
Just like that, a magical moment had been ruined like that.
The little one hugged his mum and then went to sleep in daddy’s room
Both of them never revisited what almost transpired that night. They remained cordial until her last moment. On that day, she was very frail and tired, she knew it was time. Max had led her in renewing her commitment to Christ and she was ready to go.
“Again. I’m very sorry for not being the ideal mom that you would have wanted. I have missed a lot of things in your lives and that’s my biggest regret. No child deserves to live a life with an absent mother who is unconcerned and detached from her kids. I have been very selfish and I wish I could rewrite my story. You have a very good father, a man that I loved and I lost due to my own foolishness. I pray that you will learn from my mistakes and emulate your father by being selfless to the women that you will marry. At my lowest, he picked me from the mud and walked with me. I need to go and I know that you are in safe hands. Max, I love you very much and until we meet again”.
With that, she took a deep breath and breathed her last and she was gone, peacefully in the midst of her family. They buried her and began to adjust to a life without her….All of them felt like God had given them an opportunity to bid her farewell. It was a tough season.
He looked at his watch and it was 6am. He needed to get out of bed because he had an early morning meeting with a prospective client. As he drove to work, he couldn’t shake that dream out of his system and he was shocked that after all these years, one dream could make him feel that way.
The client turned out to be an Italian fashion mogul who wanted him to take photos for his upcoming wedding. He was a talented designer in his mid fifties who had never gotten married and he had found the lady of his dreams. He had proposed to her 2 months earlier and he was planning her wedding.
“Ahh, excuse me…say that again?” asked Max
“You heard me right, I’m planning the wedding” said Danilo
“Alone, minus your bride”
“Is she aware?”
“She has an idea, but I’m sparing her the details. The only thing that she will get to fit is her dress. Everything else is my idea”
“Well, in my experience, this could very well backfire in your face, because here in America, weddings are a big deal. It’s the girl’s day and she needs to be involved in the nitty gritty choices especially the colour codes and all the….”, Max went on giving his unsolicited advice and Danilo, sat there and listened patiently.
“Mr. Maxwell….is it okay if I call you Max?”
“Good, I hear you and I totally understand you, but then again you need to understand that every love story is different and mine in particular is unique. The lady I’m marrying had given up on love because of all that she has been through a lot at her age, she never thought that she would find someone who would love her. In my case, the only girl that I ever loved was my high school sweetheart. Both of us were 16 when we fell in love and we had planned to get married, but I was coming from a poor family and my girlfriend was coming from the other side of town. So her rich parents moved to another city far away and that’s the last time I ever saw her. I had that she got married to some rich tycoon and my heart was in tatters. So I became a tailor and with time I became a designer. I buried myself in my work and I became really good at it. I never pursued any woman, because I was afraid of being heart broken.
So, when I met my fiance, something beautiful opened up my heart and I felt 18 again, even though I’m 56. We connected and fit so well that we did not want to spend another minute away from each other. If it was her wish, we could just go and do a civil wedding, but I don’t want that. God has been good to me and I have a few coins. It has taken me 40 years to meet the lady of my dreams and I want to give her a lavish wedding that is full of surprises. The only thing that she is choosing is her dress, the rest is up to me and that is where you come in”
“Okay, I see”
“Good, I have seen the reviews on your website and you come highly recommended and if you do a great job at this wedding, I do not see why you shouldn’t become my official photographer”, he ended with a smile.
Both of them sat down and drafted a contract as they went through the details of the day. This was going to be something special and Danilo had big bucks to pay because he didn[t just want photos, he wanted an experience, he wanted to capture memories.
In the contract, Max saw the name of the bride but it hadn’t registered in his mind that he knew this lady. He was so engrossed in all the other details of the planning that he just glossed over that name.
On the actual day of the wedding, he had compiled three teams of photographers and video coverage. He had 2 drones and a central unit command vehicle where he coordinated all the shooting with two guys who were directing everything and editing the footage in real time!
The first team was with the bride and the second one with the groom and the last one in church. Danilo wanted the wedding to feel like a nice love story. Everything went on well and until he paid close attention to the bride and he couldn’t believe it. He asked his son, Max Jr, now 18 years who was covering the bride to zoom in so that he could get a closer look at the bride and he really thought that he was dreaming. He rummaged through his pockets to take a closer look at the wedding program to check on the name of the bride and oh yes, it was all there as clear as day. This lady was getting married today.
“Junior?”, said Max
“Is that who I think it is?”
“Yes, dad she is the one”
“Has she seen you?”
“Yes, she has but I don’t think she recognizes me”
“Okay, just do your job and let me know if she talks to you”
The bride kept looking at Junior as he snapped away, but she kept her composure because there were so many people. She was really nervous because her maid of honor hadn’t arrived and she kept talking to her on the phone. Apparently she was held up in traffic because of a grizzly accident on her route and she was trapped in the middle of a busy highway. That meant that nothing could move until she arrived.
On this other side, Danilo and his best man had taken their photos at the hotel where they were staying and were now in church waiting for the bride to come. Max kept updating him on what was going on just so that he could relax.
It took about an hour for her to make her way through traffic and to get to her bride and when she arrived, Junior was there to take her photos. Both of them stood and stared at each other in a transfixed stance as there was instant recognition between both of them. At that very moment, Max just happened to be on the phone with Danilo and so he wasn’t paying attention to the monitor screens.
Max Jr went to the maid of honor and both of them hugged. None of them believed that this was happening. There were some awkward moments as they stuttered their greetings and the maid of honor rushed into the house to go meet her bride.
“Dad, did you see that?”Junior tried reaching his dad through his ear piece, but Max Sr was on the phone with Danilo. Five minutes later, Max Sr finished his call and came back online.
“Dad, did you know who the maid of honor is?”, Jr asked his dad
“No…”, Max said as he tried to look for his crumpled up program but he couldn’t find it.
“Okay, just hold on and stay on the screen”, Jr told his dad.
He then proceeded to direct the guy with a video camera to zoom in on the maid of honor who was now doing the last minute touches on the bride and Max was shell shocked and completely speechless.
“Is that Melanie?” Max Sr asked
“Yes it is,” replied Jr
Danilo was getting married to Casey and Melanie was her maid of honor and Max’ company had been hired by the groom.
“Dad, are you there?”
“Are you okay?”
“Yyyy….yes…Yyyyyyes, I’m okay”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, I’m fine”
Max was lying, he wasn’t okay, he was a complete mess, he was shaking and sweating. He remembered the dream he had earlier that month when Melanie had tapped him on his shoulder and he felt butterflies in his stomach. Now all this was happening and he was going to meet her today. He wondered if she was married, or if she would want to talk to him …remember they never had any closure.
On her part Melanie was hyperventilating and Casey noticed it. She excused herself and took her best friend to the bathroom,
“Sweetheart, what is it?”
“The guy taking photos is Max Jr….the son of Maxwell, my ex…well sort of ex boyfriend”
“Noooooooooooooo…..I knew there was something about his looks but I couldn’t remember him. Oh my, he has grown and he looks just like his dad”
“What do I do, I’m really in panic mode. What if his dad is at the wedding? I don’t know if I’m ready to see him, do I look good?”
“Sweetheart, breathe, you look perfect and you are awesome. You will pull through this day whether he is there or not, we are already late, but I know you will make it. I will be with you”
“Dad, we are leaving in 5 minutes”
“Okay son, what should i do”
“You are dad, you always know what to do.”
“I mean, with Melanie, she is coming here and I’m confused”
“Do you still have feelings for her?”
“Well, I thought I didn’t but from the look of things, I think I still care about her”
“I don’t know much about love, Kimberly my girlfriend just broke up with me because I suck at communication. So, I think this is your chance, you need to talk to her and let her know how you feel and you have to do it today because from what I have heard, she doesn’t live here. She lives in Australia.”
“But I’m not even dressed for the occasion, I’m in a T-shirt and jeans”
“Well, you now have 14 minutes to get a tux, we leave in the next 60 seconds and don’t worry about coverage, I got this dad”
“Copy that son!!”
Max couldn’t go back home, so he went and rented a tuxedo for the wedding, went to the barber shop and then came back to church. The bridal team had arrived and Max Jr went to their van which acted as their command centre so that his dad could ‘take care of business’.
Max stood at a strategic place in the congregation, a place where he could see Melanie. She on the other hand kept on wondering whether he was there or not. She stole glances at the congregation but couldn’t see him.
It was not until they went for the reception that Max gathered the courage to walk up to Melanie.
She was talking to Casey when she signaled her to turn around and she when she did, she saw his tall frame towering over him and both of them smiled and embraced.
His son was there to capture those moments. There was some dry air as they revisited the unfortunate events that led to their parting ways as time elapsed, the tension eased and soon they were chatting and laughing just like old times. Even Danilo was surprised to learn that Casey, Melanie and Max had a history. Casey was so overjoyed, this was more than what she had expected and indeed it was the best day of her life.
Melanie was supposed to leave the next day, but she extended her stay for another week so that she could spend more time with Max. Everything from their past to their current status was put on the table and now they were left with one question:what’s the way forward?
Both were comfortable with their current status; they were unwilling to disrupt anything even though it was evident that they had strong feelings for each other. They had a bittersweet exchange when she told Maxwell that he had a son, a handsome son that he had never met. She explained why she kept away and didn’t want to contact him and even though it made some rational sense, he still felt betrayed that she had kept all this away from him. They agreed to take things slow and give it time to see if anything would come out of this.
Melanie went back to Australia and shared this new development with her sister who thought that she was insane even to think about a future with this guy who was responsible for her husband’s death. She really tried to talk her sister out of this seemingly messy situation, but Melanie told her that this wasn’t up for a discussion.
Melanie needed to have a long talk with Norman to explain to him about his daddy in America and how she had reconnected with him and that he wanted to be a part of his life. He was excited at the thought that his own father wanted to talk to him. When they first talked on facetime, it was a bit awkward, but then with time, the ice thawed and they were calling each other every week and Melanie felt relieved that at last, her son had a father. She also had a meeting with her sons and for the first time, she told them about the real dad of Norman. She knew that if she had a chance of having a relationship with Max, then she needed to walk in the light. Her kids were okay with the new information and they could become one big family with their childhood soccer buddies.
Melanie invited Maxwell to visit Australia and he gladly jumped at the idea because not only did he want to meet Norman, he felt ready to propose to Melanie. He flew in with his boys to see Melanie and Norman. He had already told them about everything that had occurred in order to give them a clear picture of what they were walking into. He gave them the full account of events. They had a brother, who was the result of an adulterous relationship with his best friend’s wife who just happened to be the mother of their soccer buddies. As if that’s not enough, there was a possibility of them uniting to become a family, a blended family. They took turns in giving their opinions and how they felt about the whole thing. He apologized for not being completely honest and he vowed to tell them everything from that point going forward.
When Maxwell saw Norman for the first time, he rushed towards him and his son flew into his arms and they hugged each other tightly as heartfelt tears ran down their cheeks. It was a beautiful father-son moment as everyone just stood back and watched them enjoy that special moment. The other boys were happy to catch up and had a lot to talk about now that they were grown up and a lot had happened.
Maxwell, and his boys stayed at a guest house, two blocks away from Melanie’s place. They were going to be there for a week and so he needed to act fast and smart. The following evening, Max had offered to take everyone out for Dinner and then Melanie offered to treat everyone for a movie.
She couldn’t see it coming…right in the middle of th restaurant, he went down on one knee, removed a silver engagement ring and said,
“Melanie, ours is not the ideal story that many other people go through.
Ours is woven in the murky waters of the highly unlikely.
Yet with all that, you have given me a handsome son to add to our unique situation.
We have had quite a ride
And it would give me a lot of pride
To make you, my bride.
Will you marry me?”
Melanie, couldn’t believe it, she was swimming in a warm can of emotions that zigzagged her mind and heart in a beautiful and yet confusing way. She took her time to answer because she wasn’t sure whether to say Yes or No….her eldest son had to prompt her..
She looked at him
“He is waiting for an answer and everyone is watching….”
“Yes, yes, yesssss!!! I will marry you!!”,
She accepted the ring amid tears and they embraced.
Everyone clapped and the young teens uploaded that moment on Tiktok and it started going viral.
Their courtship lasted about 6 months of travelling back and forth before they decided to tie the knot.
Danilo designed her wedding dress.
Casey was her maid of honor.
Her eldest son, Jeffrey walked her down the aisle.
Max Jr was his best man.
Norman was there to see to present them with the wedding rings.
He didn’t rent a tuxedo. He bought a custom made one that had Melanie’s name written in thin straight lines.
Their story is a picture of our tale as believers in the hands of the living God. It doesn’t matter if we mess up the script of our lives and end up with the dirty swines. The Lord is determined to have the final stroke in the story of our lives. He wants to rewrite it only if we allow him.
What would you do if you were in their shoes
-Would you marry the man that you slept with knowing that if you never cheated with him then probably, your kids would still have a father?
-Would you marry a lady knowing that your indiscretions made her a widow because you slept with your best friend’s wife?
-Would you forgive you mother and accept the guy who cheated with her to become your step dad?
-How would you feel living in the same house with your step brothers who probably look at your dad as the reason why they are fatherless?
-What do you think was going on in Norman’s mind?
Their story was marked with selfish deceit and betrayal that ultimately ended in redemption.
The Lost Butterfly could now rest!