Pickup Line 13

Her daughter was waiting in the kitchen. Her eyes red. Obviously crying.

“Where’s Daddy?”

Great, she thought. Time to play the bad guy. Again. It was everything she could do to hold her own tears back. She’d taught herself as a teenager how to hold it in when she had to drive. Not being able to see the road, whether it was because of rain or snow or a busted headlight scared her more than anything. So it was either learn how to be scared, sad, angry, or heartbroken without crying for 20 minutes (10 hours once. Thanks to that asshole ex in Denver), or live with the fear. Her version of fearlessness was all about strategy, mitigation, and innovation. But this shit? A husband in jail and her daughter asking “Where’s Daddy?”

I mean, who wrote this country song?

She fought the waterworks back and said, “Honey. We’ve got to be careful with money right now. The Lawyer thinks we can get his bail down to something we can afford without going through a Bail Bondsman. I talked to your father and we agreed this would be for the best.

“You’re LEAVING him there?”

Your mom and friends can help prepare you for the heartbreak that comes when a boy picks someone else. But nobody prepares you when the child you gave birth to, fell head over heels in love with when you first realized you had morning sickness, turns out to be a daddy’s girl.

Especially when daddy is no longer the man you were also head over heels with, but is now a functional alcoholic who beats up local semi-celebrities.

“I don’t understand.” Yelling now. Wow, she was pissed.

“He’s safe, honey.” It hit her. He was safe. It would be fine. The asshole in the hummer would probably drop the charges after he felt like his point was made. The county jail had a from-the-future surveillance system. They kept the inmates in line. He was safe. But everything else? Not so safe anymore.

And so the second it came out as one giant bawl, the way her own mom used to cry. “He’s safe, honey.”

That wasn’t convincing.

“Then why are you crying? You left him in jail! You left him!”

Her daughter stormed out. Her own sobs became heaves. God, she felt lonely. So lonely.

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