The two strong, sparkling white horses drew up to a halt after charging up the steep hill on the splendid road to the sea. Ayo stood trembling with excitement. He found it impossible to believe the beauty before him! From the steep rocky hill he could see past the yellow flowers, ancient trees, the quiet blue sea before him! As far as he could see it stretched-on and on. He saw a sparkling white city of stone below him with ships bigger then he ever dreamed of docked in the harbor. The lawyer, Thaddeus, was pointing to a small villa by the sea-this was home!
As they wound their way down the descending, winding road with his caravan following behind, he wondered how he would break the news to the children, and how he would tell them he was now their father. A man they had never seen-a black man. What would he say?
They were passing through the narrow streets in a city filled with thousands of things he had never seen before. He suddenly saw two black ladies selling drums on a street corner market. He had the driver stop and he ran to the two women and quickly was back with two big drums. He was grinning and smiling as they entered the splendid villa. Suddenly two screaming boys burst from the house running toward the chariot. They stopped just before the boys arrived and Ayo stepped from the chariot clothed as a Roman in fine apparel.
“Daddy, Daddy, Where are you?” they hollered and looked and leaped about.
“Hey, come here,” called Ayo. He lifted the big drums out and began to beat a rhythm, playing both at the same time. The boys ran up and began to dance about. The servants from the house gathered about and soon the whole place was like a festival.
“I’m Alexander”-“I’m Rufus”-“Where’s our dad?” they asked. Ayo stopped, sat in the grass and called them to him, setting one on each knee.
”Sons, your daddy loves you very much. He had to go away and he wants me to look after you like a father. “That’s fine,” Alexander said soberly, “But he’s been away so long. When shall we see him again?”
Ayo was now at the end of the road. He tried to hold back the tears but they slowly ran down his cheeks. “Your father believed in a man named Jesus. He believed that there is a wonderful place that he has made. Your father has gone there to wait for you. I was with him when he left. He was smiling and unafraid.”
“Is he dead?” Rufus asked slowly.
“Yes”-said Ayo “but he loved you very much.” The two boys began to cry, tears bigger than he had ever seen. “We have waited for so long to see him, every day we looked for dust on the road. At every sound we would run to see if it was Daddy, and now he won’t come at all!” Ayo held them and tears poured from six eyes, for the first time Ayo could hold it no more. For now over a month had passed, but at last his feelings were free. He cried as freely as they. Soon he realized they were no longer crying but looking at him.
“Did you love him so much?” asked Rufus.
“Yes, oh yes, I did-as much as you I’m sure. I’ve been with him for many months I can’t remember. He took me to him as a son. I learned from him about all I know, how to read, write and speak languages, and I came to depend upon him for everything. Now he is gone and left me with all these things I know nothing about. I’m a common man, now like a king, I have no wife but two sons, I came in search of the truth to find God and now I’m rich. I have everything but my heart is still empty and your father had more joy in his face at death than I have in life. I know how you looked for him. I do too. How many times a day I start to say ‘Beida’-think of him and then have to stop and say, no. he’s gone, and I’m on my own, but I don’t like it this way!”
At that moment both boys grabbed the big black man around his neck and began to cry and laugh. “You are just like us, we feel the same,” and they both kissed him on each tear washed cheek. Ayo, wiping tears, smiled and said, “Come inside, I’ll tell you all about our trip across the desert!”
“Oh, what is your name father?” said Alexander with a smile. Ayo thought-Ayo, Simon of Cyrene, or maybe, Beida-or should it be Simon Ayo Beida Bu of Cyrene? He said hesitantly, “Simon!”
“Simon, come with us, we will show you around.” And they ran racing through the garden with Simon leaping to keep up with them.