Mother's Day weekend was this coming weekend and the guys were talking about their mothers and what they would do for them on Mother's Day when they were young. Ezra listened to his team mates and friends talk about their moms and felt a pang in his heart. A lone tear escaped before he could stop it.
Vin noticed the tear before Ezra grabbed his coffee mug and headed to the breakroom. "Guys."
Buck looked to Vin. "What? I was just getting to the best part."
Vin didn't say a word just nodded toward the breakroom. The others looked to the breakroom but didn't quite figure out what Vin was getting at.
"What about the breakroom?" JD asked, confused.
Josiah squeezed his eyes shut. “Damn," Josiah whispered. "One of us still has his mother."
"Yeah,” Vin said then grabbed for his coffee cup and went to the breakroom followed by Josiah. The others joined them shortly thereafter.
Vin seen Ezra put something away in his wallet quickly when he entered and turned away from him and started to wipe down the counter as if he spilt something.
"Ez? You okay in here?" Vin asked.
"I'm fine, Mr. Tanner. I spilt my coffee, that is all."
Vin heard the hitch in Ezra's voice and knew he wasn't. "I seen ya put something in yer wallet when I came in here."
Ezra stopped wiping and placed both hands on the counter. “Did you see what it was?"
"No," Vin answered as he leaned against the counter next to Ezra, "but I can figure out what it was."
Ezra looked over at Vin and noticed the others were standing in or near the breakroom entrance, and sighed. He took out his wallet and sat down at the only table in the breakroom. The others followed him. The table sat against the wall so that four, possibly five could sit at it at one time. The others pulled up chairs so they were all there to give their support. Ezra removed an old photograph of a woman and a ten-year-old boy.
Ezra held the photograph out in front of him so everyone could see it. “Her name was Sophia. She was the greatest mother that never was."
Vin took the photograph and looked at the two people in it. "Is that you, Ez?" Vin asked as he pointed to the boy.
"Yes. Mother left me with her the year I turned ten. I caller her Aunt Sophie."
Vin passed the photograph to Josiah. "She's very pretty. May I assume she wasn't your aunt,” Josiah said as he passed the photograph to Chris.
"You may assume correctly. She was one of my father’s best friend’s sister. She was never blessed with children. She wanted them and she would have made a great mother."
"Whose birthday is it?" Chris asked as he passed the photograph to JD.
Ezra chuckled. “Mine. She insisted I have one. It was the quietest birthday I had ever had."
"Quietest?" JD said, then passed the photograph to Nathan.
"Sophia was a deaf mute. Her husband was blind. He could speak but since Sophia couldn't, he didn't. Needless to say the home was a quiet one, but full of love. So much so, it over flowed with it."
"How so?" Nathan asked and passed the photograph to Buck.
"She and her husband wanted to keep me,” Ezra sighed. The familiar pang in his heart returned. "Sophia even wrote a letter to Maude asking her to let them finish raising me. Maude's answer? She showed up a week later to take me away. I stayed in touch with them for a while."
"Where are they now?" Buck asked as he handed the photograph back to Ezra.
Ezra took the photograph and gazed down at the woman. "They have since passed on. Her husband was the first to go ten years ago. Sophia joined him just last year. Maude wrote me and told me, but I was undercover at the time and didn't receive the letter until I returned home and by then it was too late to attend her funeral."
"What's yer favorite memory of her?" Vin asked.
Ezra smiled. “Learning to sign,” Ezra answered.
"You know sign language?" JD asked.
Ezra laid the photograph down on the table. “Yes I do,” Ezra answered and signed each word as he said them.
"Cool," JD said. "You gotta teach me."
"It would be my pleasure,” Ezra said and signed.
"Who took the photograph since her husband was blind?" Vin asked.
"Sophia had a friend who was an interpreter for the deaf. She was the one who took the photograph. She had two children of her own." Ezra then took out a photograph of him and two other kids. "These are her two with me at my birthday party. I have lost touch with them. They could hand talk like it was nothing."
"Hand talk?" Buck asked.
"Yes. That's what it's called when one deaf person is talking to another,” Josiah answered.
Ezra nodded. “Roughly, yes."
"Is there any other memories you'd like to share?" Nathan asked.
Ezra looked into each of their faces and smiled. “Yes, I think perhaps there are a few.
The six men laughed and cried right along with Ezra. Ezra even signed while he spoke. JD tried to copy the hand signs but had a hard time keeping up with Ezra.
Vin stayed behind when the others left to go and shut down their computer and get ready to head to Chris's. "So, this Aunt Sophia was like a second mother to ya."
"Yes, she was, Vin. She showed me what love is. I didn't have to want for anything. The year I spent with her was the happiest year of my childhood. She may not have been able to hear me with her ears, but she heard loud and clear with her heart and knew what I needed or wanted more than Maude ever did. I miss her every Mother's Day. She was the greatest mother that never was."
The two men walked out of the breakroom to shut down their computers and follow their friends out of the building to their vehicles.
Ezra sat in his jag for a few minutes and watched the others leave. He thought, maybe the others would like to see more photographs of his Aunt Sophia. And while he was at it, he'd pick up the book that she gave him on sign language and let JD read it. He was pretty sure Aunt Sophie wouldn't mind.
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