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All in the Name of Something Beautiful

I was that loner kid who read comics when everyone else was playing, listened to the B-sides and watched old movies ... Now I write about it


I was not a happy camper.

The 14 year old.

When they closed down her school due to budget cuts prior to the start of her 8th grade year, I was highly upset. But her experiences at her new school were worse than I could have ever anticipated.


It started with truancy.

Her being late to class because she can't get from her locker to her next class. And sometimes the teachers would mark her absent and not change the record when she showed up.

A different neighborhood, she can't walk home from school. Instead, I drop her off in the morning and then she takes the school bus home; dropped off at her old elementary school and then walking home from there.

Being the new kid who didn't start off like the others in that building, being from a different part of the city and now I find out from my eldest daughter that the new school is in the middle of a gang territory .... That would have been nice to know before I allowed "the baby" to attend.

She is soft spoken and easygoing and takes a while to form her thoughts. But now you're telling me that this kid that I'm describing propositioned someone about coming to the bathroom so that she can do sexual things to her ... The same kid that holds doors open for strangers, picks up other people's garbage, chastises her mom for placing items on the wrong rack at the store and helps custodians clean up lunch trays ... This is the kid you're suspending for five days and accusing of sexual harassment? Something does not compute.


My wife left me for a high roller. Like Miss Jerri on Martin.

Married to a man with predictable cash flow, instead of a dreamer like me.

And though she came off as so happy, bragging and what not all over town to family and friends ... Quiet as its kept, the chick was still hung up on The Kid. That's me, for those of you in the cheap seats.

When I came over to see about my daughters, I could feel her eyes on me. Even when her husband was around. And when he wasn't looking, she tended to brush past me, touch my arm, touch my face ...

She never said that she didn't love me.

She never said that she fell out of love with me. What she did say was that she signed up for more than I had given her so far. And that she couldn't live hand to mouth, paycheck to paycheck anymore. And my feelings were extremely hurt. I was crushed, shattered and many other adjectives. But mostly after I knew that there was another "athlete" that "beat my time"; another contender for the role of her lover for life. Yeah, that really hurt. Knowing that she was climbing into bed and making love with someone that wasn't me.


She never said that I wasn't a good father.

She'd had a great relationship with her own father, so seeing me with our four daughters ... I could see clearly in her eyes that she had a full heart and I couldn't lose with her. And maybe that was what made the attraction to me continue. That animal attraction that I could almost smell on her like a drugstore perfume. That attraction that was so obvious to me because I knew her better than she knew herself. But it was oblivious to her husband. Either because he spent so much time away from home, he was educable mentally retarded, or he just frankly didn't give two scoops of raisins. And as time went on, I tended to believe that it was that last option.

So as I attempted to spend more time with my suspended baby girl, I included my ex wife in on the fun.

Oil change at the dealership where we could sit and talk and watch the home improvement channel as I waited for my car to be serviced.

Thrift store. A place that she never wanted to go to with me when we were together, but now it was if she was seeing the experience through her daughter's eyes and felt differently.

Grocery store. She pretended as if she was so concerned about what I was feeding the girls when they spent time at my apartment. But when she offered to flip the bill, I shut my mouth right away.

Church. Her new husband didn't believe in the existence of God. But she'd ignored that in favor of the other benefits.

And when I wasn't looking, she was knocking on my door without the child. Saying that she was just in the neighborhood, or just checking up on me, or saw something at the store that she thought I would like and decided to bring it over (a jar of pig feet, a package of peanut butter sandwich cookies, just random stuff like that; stuff that wasn't even in the realm of my grocery list.)

She wanted to be near me.

She wanted us to be like we were, even though she was with someone else.

If you would have asked me prior to our disbandment, I wouldn't have subscribed to such idiocy. But a single bachelor man can see things differently. So I played along ... Yeah, I wasn't doing bad as I re-entered the dating world. Still, there was no better love than the love of someone familiar. Well, that's what I was thinking on this particular day.

I invited her in.

I told her to take her shoes off.

I said, "Music or tv?".

She said, "Tv."

And then I cooked as she flipped through the channels.

Fresh crab meat sauteed in olive oil and white wine with red and yellow and green peppers and mushrooms and served over wild rice

I felt her looking over her shoulder a couple of times; the aroma from the kitchen affecting her sense of reality.

She slept on my skills when we were together, unwilling to let me do my thing, not trusting The Kid to let loose and try out what I saw on JUSTIN WILSON, PAUL PRUDHOMME or EMERIL. But now that I had my own place and I was trying to impress the ladies ... All bets were off. I'd practiced and practiced and sharpened my skills. And if I must say so myself, I was a bad boy.

Besides the food I prepared from scratch, I took out a peach pie from the freezer and stuck it in the oven. That would cap off the meal perfectly. Confirmation coming from her unfastening her pants at one point because she was full from eating seconds and thirds.

Though it didn't necessarily mean anything sexual, I couldn't help feeling some kind of way. Due to the fact that she hadn't done that in my presence in quite some time. So I busied myself with washing the dishes, because even though I knew deep down that she wanted me ... And I knew deep down that I wanted her , the possible ramifications of falling back into her web ... Where I could fall in love with her all over again and she would no doubt treat me like a chick on the side ...

Did I want to go there?

Foolish heart of mine. I dried the dishes and sauntered over to the sofa ... What can I say? I missed her.

© 2022 LaZeric Freeman

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