When I walked through the front door, S.M. sat on the couch, sipping a beer, and smiling like he knew something. I slowed as I stepped inside. Georgia was laying on a paper bag. The television was off. Music played from Pandora. I kept my eyes on him as I slowly closed the door behind me.
“What’s going on?” I said very slowly.
S.M. took another swig of beer. He said, “I fixed the toilet.”
“And that’s why you are acting so happy?” I dropped my purse on the table and plopped down on the couch.
“I went to the hardware store.”
“O.k.a.y.” I drew out the word slowly, sure that I was missing something here.
“Jon helped me find the parts I needed. Said I was buying inferior parts.” S.M. took another swig of beer, but he wore this happy grin as if he had a secret he couldn’t wait to tell me.
“Just Jon? That Jon?” I forgot about my hard day in the office, the traffic, and my cranky mood over not getting in my walk in the woods today.
“Yep.” S.M. said. “We talked about a lot of things–toilets, gear, cars, and him.”
Okay, now he had my attention! I leaned forward in my seat. “And?”
He took another swallow of beer. “Wouldn’t you like to know?”
I slapped him on the arm. “You are such a tease!”
S.M feigned hurt. His grin said another story. “Jon is a father. His son and ex-girlfriend live in another town. He moved to get away from his family.”
“He’s a deadbeat dad?” That was disappointing.
“Not exactly. He pays child support, but he doesn’t want anything to do with his son or his ex-girlfriend.”
“How in the world did you get all this information?” I gaped after I said this.
“We talked. I just asked him where he came from. I think he’s lonely.” S.M. put down his beer bottle and stood up. “Hungry?”
“Yes.” But I stayed on the couch, mulling over Just Jon. Just Jon was a deadbeat father running away from his family. He paid child support, but didn’t participate in the parenting. My heart wept for a man that was missing so much from life.
How can people just let their children grow up fatherless? How can a girl give herself away to a man without a promise of commitment?
Jesus, Come Quickly!