The senator took a moment to settle in and I believe to allow my initial shock as to this clandestine meeting to settle down.
Then as he stared off to a young couple boarding one of the big white swan boats that paddle around the lagoon, he began, "Lieutenant, it is Lieutenant?"
"Yes, it is Senator."
"Well, Lieutenant, Molly is my daughter, in an accidental sort of way. You see, Mary Elizabeth, her mother and the now Mrs. O'Hara, had a little romance many years ago, a momentary tryst, but long enough, well ... you understand. No one really knew, except Mary and me, of course. But then the word got out somehow and I started receiving some anonymous letters."
"That's how they came across to me. Didn't ask for money or for any specific favors, just kept letting me know that someone out there knew."
"Senator, how many letters?"
He reached into coat and pulled out a bundle of letters, possibly ten in all, squeezed together with a couple of hefty office rubber bands. He flicked his thumb through them a time or two before finally deciding to hand them over.
"Molly received a couple of notes as well. That's how and why we made contact again about three months ago." He was getting pretty choked up by this time and I must confess that the Senator did not come across as the scoundrel I previously assumed him to be. He really did feel like a grieving father with no one to share his grief except now a calloused, old cop who lived with his cat.
We talked awhile the heart-to-heart talk that men only do every so now and then, best friend talk, confidential talk. Then he made a decision that this little appointment was over. I had more questions to ask, but for some reason I thought they be best left to another time. He gave me a slap on the knee, stood to his feet, beckoned his aide to walk back to the office with him. He gave me one last look, a silent plea to do what I had to do with some measure of mercy.
And I sat for awhile watching swan boats paddle around and the pigeons going about their work of begging for seeds from lonely people with nothng else to do.