A pickup truck with jacked-up suspension towered in the Parm’s driveway so Matt parked on the street. He got out of the truck and watched as Grant held a baseball bat in one hand and swatted a grounder toward his son. Darshan turned his face away just before the ball reached his glove. It bounced off the edge of the mitt and through his legs
“Keep your eye on the ball, Gerard. Don’t be such a baby,” his father said. Darshan walked over to retrieve the ball, “Let’s show some hussle,” shouted Grant. Darshan lobbed the ball back. It bounced and rolled toward the batter.
“Hey, Matt, old buddy.” Grant walked toward Matt, one hand holding the bat the other outstretched. Matt shook his hand. “Heard you were in the hospital, everything okay?”
“Just some tests.” Matt was use to big city anonymity and had forgotten that living in Pitt Landing was like living in a fishbowl. “Any luck with the search?”
Grant looked at the sky. “Yes and no. We found The Rev’s boat capsized off Salish Island, but no sign of your father.” Grant looked beyond Matt at something behind his head. “If he made it to shore he could still show up, flag down some boater.”
“Thanks for all you’ve done, Grant.” The man’s inability to look Matt in the eyes sent up red flags.
“No problem, old buddy.” Grant walked over and picked up the ball. “Gerard, come and meet my old school friend.”
Gerard? Matt thought the kid’s name was Darshan, then remembered Gerard was his “white” name. Head down, Darshan walked slowly toward the men.
“This is Matt Bennett, son. He played baseball with me at high school. Second base, right Matt?”
Matt nodded. Grant pitched, but only because his father ponied up for a team bus. After a few innings, and hopefully not too many runs behind, the coach would pull him and put Parm in. Parm threw hard and inside. He had the other team so scared of getting beaned they stood almost out of the batter’s box.
“I met him yesterday,” Darshan said.
Grant’s face darkened like a cloud passing in front of the sun.
“I’m staying at Parm’s for a few days,” Matt said.
“Go deep, Gerard, and I’ll hit you a few flies.”
“I’m tired, Dad.”
“Quit being a baby.” Grant gave the boy a shove. Darshan walked back into the yard. Grant smacked a looper well over the boy’s head. “Run it down.” While he waited for his son to retrieve the ball he took practice swings at nothing. “Rami and I got married. It’s been kind of off again on again.” He smiled at Matt. “Hey, you know women.”
“She’s been going through this independence thing. You know, her career first, husband second. I don’t get it. Her and Gerard could live with me up at the family house, tons of closet space, stainless steel appliances, five wide-screen televisions. Garth’s even got a full time housekeeper and a cleaning lady comes twice a week. Instead she lives in a one-bedroom dump in Abbotsford.”
Darshan threw the ball. It dribbled to his father’s feet. “Come on, Gerard, follow-through.” Grant went and picked up the ball. “Kid throws like a girl.”
“He can sure play the piano,” Matt said.
“Sissy stuff.” Grant tossed the ball in the air and slashed at it with the bat. A wicked line drive took one bounce and hit Darshan in the left shin. Raminder pulled into the driveway behind Grant's truck just in time to see the boy drop the glove, grab his leg and fall to the ground. She was out of the car in one motion and running across the lawn toward him.
“Shit.” Grant tossed the bat against the house.