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A week had passed by. Melissa had dropped by every day, bringing a small present each time. Monday, it was an apple. Tuesday, the gift was a drawing of a snowman to explain Melissa's anticipation of the upcoming snow season. Wednesday, it was a small candle which Melissa had crafted herself. Thursday--a short poem. And Friday, a brand-new Bible. "I bought it in town, with a few weeks' allowance," Melissa had explained.

All of this had been in exchange for violin lessons. Melissa had gotten better and better. The sounds were clearer and more professional. And Joe was seeing more and more of his lost daughter in Melissa. But this didn't cause him as much grief as he expected. No, Joe was reminiscing about Melinda, and savoring the liveliness of Melissa. Every night, Joe would do a routine so that if he didn't wake up the next morning, Melissa would know he appreciated her.

Melissa began to love Joe as a grandfather, not just a neighbor. Her parents and Tom also grew closer to Mr. Davison, but Melissa and Joe shared a special bond. To Melissa, it was music. To Joe, it was more than friendship.

* * *

It was another crisp, cool autumn afternoon, just like the first day Melissa and Mr. Davison met. Melissa put on her thin pink sweater and trotted over to Mr. Davison's small house. But now it seemed like a huge mansion full of love, care, an friendliness. Melissa raised her hand and knocked three times, but there was no answer. She opened the door and saw Joe sitting in his stiff chair, his eyes closed. Melissa tapped Joe on the shoulder politely. When he didn't wake up, Melissa shook him. Still not awake, Melissa ran back to the house to find her father. She quickly explained the situation, and they ran back together. Being somewhat knowledgable about first aid, he checked Joe's pulse and heartbeat. A moment later, he shook his head sadly and looked over at Melissa.


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