Follow that DREAM
By: Alan Berger
His first kid at forty.
Yell ya why.
With all the things he did as a Tadpole and got away with, risking his life on water towers and railroad tracks and railroad tunnels, joyriding and crashing trucks in the industrial center at twelve, the drugs, the sex, the report cards, the suspensions, the expulsions, that were bestowed upon him brought him the mindset that if he ever had a kid he figured, by accident he predicted, he would not let it out of the house until it was never.
He was old and she was young, and he never saw it coming but it saw him and came it did.
She was with child and it was his.
Mommy named her , “Dream”.
Her mother, his wife, died when the it was twelve years old.
Car wreck. They were all in the car.
Dad and daughter got away without a scratch like the drunk driver of the other car .
That driver wasn’t without a scratch for long;
Dad on account of beating him post wreck had to go to jail for a bit and the little girls aunt had to keep her for a while when she needed him most but like the judge said, “I don’t blame you but you got to go, my hands are tied”. “Every bodies’ hands are”, So said the survivor under and over his breath as he was led away.
Time goes by fast when you look back.
When he looked back, he looked way back and then even further.
But yes, sometimes the past sometimes evaporates.
He had to raise her alone and with the help of her aunt and her cat, and to the best of his ability that is exactly what he attempted to do.
He already knew how unfair, hard and tough and mean life is, but it’s different when you experience it yourself with of your all five senses running in overdrive and overtime.
He felt like he had more than just five.
But what was he complaining about? Some kids are born without hands or feet.
He thought how lucky. Then they can’t run with a bad crowd or give him the finger after a nice father daughter chat.
Then he slapped himself hard mentally and physically for such a thought.
He had read in a poem somewhere that said, “ The best decisions you make are the ones where you have no choice”, and he certainly tried to take advantage of that forced upon wisdom.
It was one her friends 13th birthday party and it was a real big deal to her.
When dad heard 13, he could only think of boys wanting to get laid.
This was not a good feeling for him.
He described it as getting kicked in the stomach and strangled while having a massive stroke all at the same time time.
After he calmed down as much as he could he called the mother of the birthday girl and he asked, offered, “To provide security”, but was turned down.
He was told there would be plenty of,” Strapping young men to protect the women folk”.
He felt she was mocking him, and he was right.
Then she added this without the sarcasm
“Their only 12 and 13”, he was told. “What could happen”?
He wanted to say have you not heard of drinking, drugs, and sex and violence.
But he didn’t.
Instead when he dropped her off, he stayed up the block a bit and kept his eyes on the house, the street, the air above and below that birthday party.
It’s tough out there he justified to himself and the piece of universe he was protecting.
He was parked up the block from the party . keeping an eye on things when the cop tapped his window with one hand as they kept the other hand by her gun.
Someone must have reported a strange old pervert watching the kids arrive and such.
He told her about the birthday party, and she brought him to the house and asked the mommy who opened the door if she knew this guy.
She said yes, he was one of the fathers of one of the guests and then he was brought to the backyard where Dream was to complete the formal and embarrassing identification of the other embarrassed body.
Outside the policewoman walked him to his car and when they got there the policewoman and him had themselves a little talk about letting them go and love them and let let them grow.
She said she was speaking from her own tortures raising her son on her own.
When he reached twelve, she ceased to sleep when he was not in sight or sound.
She said she only became a cop not only to serve but protect him.
“It goes with the territory”, she gently explained.
“I could use a roadmap”, he requested.
She gave him her number.
All he could think of other than how good looking she was, and what could be better than a cop-stepmom?
He took out his phone and made a very important call.
Her phone rang.
She laughed when she saw his name come up since she remembered it from, “The Interrogation”.
“Please go out with me”, her phone asked.
“I already have”, she replied.
He liked her laugh and thought about how you never know when you’re going to back into something.
And so, what was written would be written again.