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Harmony sat with the three adults at the table and had hot dogs and lemonade. She didn’t talk very much but she smiled as she ate her birthday cake and listened to the grown ups talk. Harmony had been happy when Pat agreed to keep the party small. Pat would have been thrilled to have a house full of eight year olds celebrating Harmony’s birthday, but that would never have happened. There was no one from school that liked Harmony enough to attend her party. Harmony was never mean to anyone, but the other kids knew that she had no mother or father. They saw her clothes that came from second hand stores and the shoes that were always scuffed at the toes and judged her unworthy. Harmony had learned at a very early age that people could be mean and children were the meanest people of all.
“Well, what do you say we all go sit on the porch and eat our ice cream?” Pat asked as she gave a knowing wink to the Harrisons.
“That sounds like a wonderful idea.” Gene said as he pulled out the chair for his wife took her hand and followed Harmony to the front door.
“You guys go on out. I just need to put these dishes in the sink and then I’ll be right there.” Pat announced.
“Don’t take too long, Grandma Pat cause I don’t want you missing any of my party.” Harmony said as she opened the door for their guests.
As soon as everyone was settled on the front porch Pat snuck out the back door. She quietly walked to the shed in the backyard and retrieved the bike she had hidden there. She proudly walked the red bike around the corner to the front of the house. “Looks like there was one more present for the birthday girl!”
The Harrisons cheered and Harmony stood on the porch staring at the bike in disbelief. “Is that for me?” She whispered excitedly.
“It sure it, baby. I saw you looking at it in the catalogue and I wanted to surprise you.”
“It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.” Harmony said with tears in her eyes as she ran from the porch and hugged Pat harder than she had ever hugged her.
The Harrison’s had walked to the edge of the porch and stood watching the tender moment between Pat and Harmony. It brought back memories of the foster children they had taken in through the years. Children who just needed someone to love and believe in them. Mary wiped away a tear and Gene put his arm around her.
Pat held onto Harmony as tightly as Harmony held her. “Do you want to take it for a little ride down the street?”
Harmony pulled herself out of the hug and rubbed her hands on the black leather seat of the bike. “Oh no, it’s just too pretty. I don’t want to get it dirty.”
“Oh honey, you don’t have to worry about that. If it gets dirty, we can clean it off.” Pat said trying to encourage the shy girl to go for a ride.
“Maybe I’ll ride it tomorrow. Right now I just want to look at it. Besides, it’s going to be dark soon.” Harmony said with sadness in her voice.
“Harmony, would you like for me to come by on Saturday and teach you how to ride your bike.” Gene called from the porch.
“Mr. Harrison, would you do that for me?” Harmony started to cheer up a little.
“You bet. We’ll see you first thing Saturday morning.”
Harmony looked up at Pat who had tears in her eyes, hugged her one more time then ran onto the porch to hug the Harrisons.