The first taste of the Mountain Dew hit the spot. The young woman looked around the Laundromat, at the dryers spinning the remnants of water free and into oblivion. She looked through the windows to the shadows that wrestled the light from the last grasp of a sunny day.
He was late again – but what’s new? He was always late except, in hindsight, for the one time it mattered. And even then she was late and that’s how this whole mess got started.
It wasn’t the weekly swapping of her daughter that wore like the unceasing gusts of wind that carve away at a once stoic mountain. It was the extras, the little comments that would come from him as she tried to leave with her child in tow. She’d been over it a million times but he still couldn’t remember. Perhaps if she wrote it down. Better yet she could break into his home like he once did to her. But instead of taking their daughter while he slept she’d simply leave a note on his bathroom window, a grocery list of reasons this arrangement couldn’t, rather wouldn’t, work.
Outside she found some solace in her car. The young woman took her brown hair down, paused, and again pulled it into a ponytail. She could hear his voice turn that sleazy sound it did when he wanted her to come to bed and how he would tell her to let the hair fall all around him. It was like that the night she became pregnant.
She was going to get it this time that’s for sure the man thought as he ran a red light in his car. Mind turning and twisting, he couldn’t believe she didn’t bring the diaper bag with her the last time they swapped Hailey. And without her phone number he was left to call her parents daily to see if she checked in. When her mother told him to go to the store and buy his own diaper bag he flipped.
He swung the car into the passing lane and raced up to a driver going the speed limit. The man didn’t think twice about slowing just enough to raise his middle finger at someone on their way home from work. Of course he didn’t know where the driver had been, just that they were in his way. It didn’t take much, especially on laundry day.
“Just five more minutes and I’m calling the cops,” the young woman muttered to herself. She thought about calling her mom but flipped through radio stations instead. The beat of music took her mind away until the lyrics set in.
“She had fish fries and cookouts for my child’s birthday I ain’t invited; Despite it, I show her the utmost respect when I fall through; All you, do is defend that lady when I call you, yeah.”
The young woman switched the car off with a jerk and stepped back into the parking lot. Inside the Laundromat a woman was folding a turquoise jumper. She wasn’t much older but the look she wore on her face was a million miles away.
The screech of tires was a dead giveaway and the young woman looked over her shoulder to her daughter’s father driving into the parking lot. She stepped back by her car and until he parked. “You have a child in there with you. Ever think of driving like it?” Hands on hips, the young woman walked to the car. “Unlock the door already.”
“Relax. Nothing’s hurt. I wouldn’t hurt Hailey and you know that,” said the man, his face lit by the fading sun. The man took a tricycle out of his trunk. Hailey jumped on it immediately and started riding away. “Not so fast little girl.” Turning toward the young woman the man’s smile turned into a grin. “You owe me thirty bucks for not giving me the diaper bag. Or maybe if it’s not too much trouble you could buy me dinner.”
She knew that smirk could be gone with a slap but restrained. Not in front of the child. “Keep the bag. I have my own.”
“Oh really. No shit. And now because of you I have a box of diapers laying around the house.” The man turned back to the trunk and grabbed an assortment of bags.
“Dammit Jeremy you’re going to need them sooner or later. It’s not like you buy diapers for me. I spend enough of my money on our daughter.”
|August 10, 2013
|updates status, date
|August 10, 2013