Charles Porter put down his hat and got comfortable. It would be a long
four hours today. He sat in his car, binoculars in one hand, and a tape recorder in the
other. He clicked the record button.
“This is C.P. I’m waitin’ outside the Hills Salon, watching the subject. She seems to
be in for a haircut and a perm. I think she will be heading to either her husband’s
house, or to get her son,” he said calmly as he talked into the tape recorder. He was
now working overtime to help out an old friend who was looking for his son, who he
was trying to get custody of. He hated to get involved with the marital crap, but when
it involved a kid, he felt the need to. He tried to think it was the good guy in him that
made him take those kinds of cases, but he knew the real reason why. He knew that if
he could reunite a child with his parent, then he wouldn’t seem as bad as a father
himself. But no matter how many cases he accomplished, he would still be a dead
beat dad after they were done. The high only lasted for a few hours, and then he
would start to think about Meredith. He hated to think about her now while on the
job, but she kept flooding his brain. Meredith, his beautiful ten-year-old he hasn’t
seen for longer than an hour at a time in her life. She was his, but not his. Another
man had entered her life when he left it. As he walked down the steps, knowing he
would be losing his place in her life forever, it bothered him. He was fighting the urge
to run back in, scoop her up, and kiss every single one of her tiny baby fingers. He
wanted to kiss her milky cheeks, and feel her heartbeat on his chest. But instead, he
kept walking. Charles knew it was wrong, but at the time it just was right. He
couldn’t provide for her while he was driving around town, hiding and stalking
people for hours at a time. Charles couldn’t be there to change her diapers, or wake
up with her. He had to turn over tapes, and sleep in his car. He had pictures, but not
much. It was just a reminder of what he could have had. And as she grew up, losing
her dimples, and blonde curls, he saw her less. But every year he never forgot to send
her a birthday card with a wrinkled ten in it. Charles stared sadly out of the car
window and breathed heavily. He had no idea why he was searching for someone
else’s child when he couldn’t even find out have to salvage his own relationship.
Charles put his Volvo in reverse and drove away from the salon. He would
get back to his subject sometime today, but for now, it could wait. And besides, she
wouldn’t be going anywhere in a hurry; she was a large, slow-moving woman. He
drove down I-90 imagining what he would say. I’m your dad. Hey there sweetheart,
remember me? I’m sorry… I should have called. Nothing seemed to fit. Beads of
sweat were pouring off his face as he gripped the steering wheel. Charles glanced
around, and loosened his tie.
”I should turn around,” he said out loud.
“Damn it! Don’t be a chicken! This is your daughter, not the army you’re facing!” He
screamed at himself. But as Charles thought about it, it felt like he was entering a new
dimension, ready to fight a war.
He made a sharp turn into a gas station, hoping to buy sometime. He sat in the car
and pulled out a twenty from his wallet, handing it to the black man at his
window. The man walked back into the store, and soon came out.
“What type of gas would you like sir?” The gentleman asked. Charles looked at
the man’s wrinkled face.
“Uh put in regular please.” The man nodded and started to pump. From inside the
car, Charles was relaxing. When the time came, everything would work out-he
hoped. A light tap made him turn his head.
“It’s done,” the black gentleman said. Charles looked at him confused and got out
of the car.
“But that was what, five gallons?” he asked.
“Sir your car was already very full when I started,” the man told him. Charles
nodded and ran a hand through his hair.
“Well can you wash my windows please?” he asked. The man nodded. Charles sat
back into his car.
“You seem troubled,” the man said. Charles looked at him sheepishly.
“Yeah, sorta,” he admitted.
“You are stalling something. I can tell.” The man smiled at him as he washed.
Charles stayed silent.
“You shouldn’t be afraid. Whatever it is, it will turn out alright.”
“How do you know about my problems? I’m pretty sure this is nothing you’ve
ever had to deal with.”
The man whistled and went around the side of the car. Charles watched him
“Everybody has problems. I know I do. But I’m not trying to get into
your business, I’m just saying you seem worried,” the man said. He came
around and stood near Charles.
“All set sir.” Charles reached into his pocket and offered him a five.
“I can’t accept it,” the man refused. Charles slowly put the
money back into his pocket. The old man saluted him.
“Go to her, she’ll understand,” he said. Charles smiled puzzled, as he pulled out
of the gas station.
ok yall, im curious if you feel a strong emotion when reading this. does the ending make you think he will go see his daughter, or is it not enough information.....