“Ponti? What’s wrong?”
Haden hadn’t been mistaken after all. There, at the kitchen table, still in his workout clothes, was his guardian weeping softly. It had only been a few weeks since being assigned to the bovine-anderson so Haden still hadn’t gotten used to all of Pontiff’s quirks and idiosyncrasies. Sure, he could understand Pontiff’s obsession with the gym or the accept inexplicable flint-hearted, melancholy when they went out to see Haden’s social worker. But tears? From the bull?
“Oh! Haden…” Pontiff’s cheeks and ears reddened slightly on realizing he wasn’t alone. He started to get up. “I didn’t think you’d be back from school yet.”
Another thing that Haden couldn’t get past was how large Pontiff really was, always seeming loom over his surroundings. And even though he almost always wore an approachable smile, the large gym-pumped muscles, deep voice and normally piercing eyes hadn’t gotten that particular memo yet. For his credit, Pontiff read the wince on Haden’s face and sat back down clumsily.
“What’s wrong?” he repeated.
“You’re crying. I don’t think I’ve seen you cry before.”
“I was just spending time with…” The bull’s tongue seemed to have caught itself in his throat, as he coughed and restarted himself. “I got back from the gym and thought to read my Bible some.” Haden noticed the open book on the table, his worry quickly turning to incredulity.
“Dude, what in there could make a grown bull cry?”
Pontiff chucked, “Well, these are good tears.” He looked around for a napkin to dry his eyes. “I’m just grateful. Really really grateful.” He looked up at his charge. “I know you’re skeptical, Haden. But if you ever understand just how much Jesus did for us and how deep his love is I can guarantee you’d break into tears, or song or whatever you do when you’re overwhelmed.”
“Not likely, dude. I mean, really, what’s he done for me?”
“And that little buddy,” the bull said, putting an arm around the bird’s shoulders, “is one of the reasons you are here with me.”
“Pontiff, you just came from the gym, dude. You stink. Doesn’t that place have showers?”