"Was he a bad man?"
"It all depends on how ya look at it boy." The old man tapped his pipe out on the rock hearth. Then poked at the fire before repacking more tobacco in the bowl.
"They said he was mean."
"Could be when provoked."
"He was a scooter tramp to."
"This was true."
"Pop went to jail more than once."
"That I can't deny." The old man stuck a stick into the orange coals of the fire place and used it to relight his pipe. The tobacco had a sweet smell of black cherry that permeated the air. He tugged on the pipe a few times letting the smoke out in quick bursts. The chair he was sitting rocked back onto it's back legs as he leaned against the log cabins wall. The flames made shadows dance in the room as if it where alive and the firelight flickered when a log popped and crackled.
"Why did Pop leave us like he did? I know he missed Mom but didn't he love me anymore?" The boy stared into the flames searching for answers to questions he could not understand.
"He loves ya boy, he loves you more than he likes himself just as he did your mother. But your father isn't perfect and he's made his mistakes. In his mind, leaving was the best thing for you."
"Mom thought he was perfect...din't she? I mean, when they met each other because that's what she told me before she died." He looked over at the old man in the dim light, at the weathered face and glowing eyes looking deep for assurance.
"Yes boy, she thought your Pop was the most perfect man she'd ever known. Some women look for the perfect man and never find him cause they're lookin in the wrong place for the wrong things of fairy tales and such. Your Pop thought the same of her and he's a one woman man so's he knows he'll never have that agin. He'll be back boy, you can rest assured on that, in time, he'll be back around."
"But nobody is perfect Grandpa!"
"Depends on how ya lookin at it. Nobody is perfect boy, ya just gotta find the one who is perfect for you. Have ta be able to look past all the faults and glitches cause that hides the inner if'n you are just lookin there. Why, some of the most miserable imperfect people are the ones with the best of everthin which only hides how imperfect they are. Ever one has faults, it's just some hide it better than others."
The boy looked back at the fire and threw in a little piece of bark he had been fondling with his crippled hand to watch it be consumed.
"So you think he'll be back? Really?"
"Oh, he'll be back boy don't you fret none to hard bout that. They ain't no way in the world he won't be back. None at all. Why, you're the most perfect thing ever happened to him in his life. Even more perfect than your mother ever were to him...and that's tough to top." The old man chuckled a little and without even lookin from the fire motioned for the boy to come sit closer to him.