The package arrived about a week later. Tony picked it up, eyed the return address warily, and pulled his ever-present knife. He slit the paper-covered box and flinched at its contents.

He clenched his mother's little piano-shaped pendant in a trembling fist and clutched it to his chest as he read the note from Marianne.

He told me he wanted you to have it, and he was sorry he didn't give it to you straight away as she had wanted. I don't know if you found any peace up here, but he wanted you to know something. He loved you, Anthony. He loved you.

I want you to know something. Even though he never found the courage to tell you he was sorry, he knew how badly he hurt you. He'll never suffer the way you did, but I want you to know that he really was sorry. Even if you can't forgive him, forgive yourself. You turned out to be a wonderful person not because of him, but despite him. Be proud of who you are, son.


PS—How's the hand?

He saw tears blur the note in his hand, not at the declaration of love—he wasn't sure if he would ever reconcile that in his confused head—but at the final question, the open invitation to continue his relationship with his last connection to his family.

He felt himself sliding down the wall toward the floor, the little pendant biting into his palm. He looked around the apartment, his eyes landing on the photo of his team—the people who had been more of a family to him than his own flesh and blood.

Than his own father, who was now gone.

Gone, he thought.

And then he cried.