At The Hardware Store

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!

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