From Thief Creek author Jeremy Soldevilla:
His milky eyes looked deep in mine. Tiny pools of dampness welled in the corners. It had been that way for days, but this time something was different. He needed to connect. “I’m sorry, Jere,” was all he said, and a lone tear rolled down his cheek, staining the crisp white hospital pillow. Less than half an hour later my father gasped two deep breaths and passed away.
It was an astonishing thing to hear. I squeezed his frail hand and told him he had nothing to be sorry for; but we both knew he did.
Knowing my father’s never-ending wish to not be a burden, it could have been he was sorry for inconveniencing me by dying and making me come from Boston to his hospital bedside in Las Vegas where I sat with him for a week. It was the second time in two months I had made the trip. The first time he rallied and we thought he was out of the woods. But that was nothing to be sorry for. When you are losing a loved one, you want to be there for them.
No, I took it to be a blanket apology to cover all the things we had never talked about, but had affected me deeply since my earliest memories.
Maybe it was for the lousy way he had treated my mother. The yelling and hitting when they’d both had too much to drink that would keep me sleepless and terrified throughout my youth. Maybe it was because she died of cancer at 52 , much too young for him to make amends for his abuse over the lifetime of their marriage. Maybe it was an apology for distancing himself away in his study working on who knows what instead of spending any time with my brother or me. Maybe it was for the gut-wrenching fear his often angry voice and hair-trigger temper would instill in us.
Maybe he was sorry for not being the man, the husband or the father he wanted to be.
Well, I’m sorry too. Sorry that I never thanked him for the good things I got from him that have also shaped my life — his love of books and music, his writing, his wit and sense of humor, his intellect and his vulnerability.
But, in the end, in that final moment of naked honesty between us, we both knew the ledger was clean. Despite a lifetime of failings and disappointments on both our sides, we were a father and a son and no bond is stronger than that and nothing else mattered.
Jeremy Soldevilla is the author of the newly released thriller Thief Creek:
Newlyweds Steve and Heather have been looking forward to their honeymoon in a rustic bed and breakfast for months. Nestled in the remote Rocky Mountains of Montana the Thief Creek Inn seems just the place to relax and enjoy the peaceful and wildly beautiful surroundings.
The violent Toomey brothers, on the run after their escape from prison, are looking for a secluded hideaway as well. Butch, the lumbering tattooed harelip murderer; Jesse James Toomey, the cruel leader of the gang; and JP are desperately trying to save the life of their younger brother, Tommy when an accident brings them to the Thief Creek Inn.
Innkeeper Mike Preston is a peaceful man who, with his wife, Annie, a nurse, bought the inn as a retreat from their stressful lives in Seattle.
Now, life suddenly changes for everyone at the Thief Creek Inn.
Learn more about Jeremy and his work at www.thiefcreek.com.